Matadors sweep No. 7 Anteaters

Debby von Winckelmann

The fourth-ranked Matadors returned home Wednesday night and swept seventh-ranked UC Irvine 30-27, 30-24, 30-26 at the Matadome.

Head coach Jeff Campbell said he was happy about beating the defending national champions, a team that CSUN hasn’t beaten in several years.

“They’re a good team and we feel good about beating them,” Campbell said.

Junior Eric Vance led the offensive effort, knocking down 23 kills, on 45 swings (.311), the most kills in three games in the MPSF. Vance also served up one ace and had three digs in the match.

“Eric Vance is doing very well,” Campbell said. “He’s on fire right now.”

Senior Issac Kneubuhl had 12 kills on 20 attempts (.450), along with four digs. Redshirt freshman Cody Loe added 9 kills and Kevin McKniff knocked down eight. McKniff also had two service aces. Setter Travis Bluemling had 49 set assists in the match, along with five digs, while Ali’I Keohohou had eight digs.

For the Anteaters, junior opposite Jon Steller knocked down 16 kills on 29 swings (.517) and freshman Cory Yoder had 12 kills on 31 swings (.226). Junior setter Ryan Ammerman had 23 set assists and junior libero Brent Asuka had 10 digs.

The Matadors were outhit by the Anteaters, .300 to .311, and outblocked 11.5 to 6.5. CSUN had five service aces to none by UC Irvine, and the Matadors had 54 kills to 39 by the Anteaters.

Campbell said that although the game was close statistically, CSUN was able to excel in areas not shown in statistics.

“This is our best record since 1993 and we’re very pleased with where we’re at,” Campbell said.

Cal State Northridge improves to 11-4 overall and 7-3 in the MPSF while UCI dropped to 8-9 on the year and 5-7 in league play.

The Matadors played sixth-ranked UCLA Friday night at the Matadome. Game results were not available at press time.