The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Matadors beat Bruins

The fourth-ranked CSUN men’s volleyball team defeated sixth-ranked UCLA 30-28, 29-31, 35-33, 30-28 Friday night at the Matadome.

Head coach Jeff Campbell said the win against UCLA was a good one and both teams looked steady throughout the match.

“Both games two and three were close, they could have gone either way,” Campbell said. “I think we had match point and they had match point in both of those games. We feel fortunate to have pulled out game three and game four was a nice game for us, too.”

Senior Isaac Kneubuhl and junior Eric Vance had a team-high 18 kills each, while freshman Cody Loe added 15 kills. Kneubuhl and Vance also had one service ace each, in addition to six and nine digs, respectively. Loe served up two aces and had two digs. Senior setter Travis Bluemling had 56 set assists and sophomore Ali’i Keohohou had 15 digs.

Vance and Keohohou both said beating UCLA felt great.

“Its always good to beat a high-quality team like that,” Vance said.

“Ya know, we didn’t beat them last year in league, so it feels good.,” Keohohou said.

For the Bruins, Garrett Muagututia knocked down a match-high 31 kills on 50 swings for a .480 hitting percentage. Sean O’Malley had 10 kills, Matt Wade had 53 assists and James Diefenbach had 17 digs.

The Matadors out hit the Bruins .336 to .316, but UCLA had 11 blocks to CSUN’s 9.

In the first game, both teams traded points and kept the score close, with 11 ties before the Matadors took a 14-12 lead on an ace by Loe. The biggest lead of the game went to CSUN at 19-16 on an attack error by Diefenbach. The Bruins came right back and tied the score at 19-19, but two consecutive kills by Vance put the Matadors back on top 21-19. The score remained close, with five more ties before CSUN took a 28-27 lead on a kill by Vance. The next three points were scored on errors, with UCLA committing two of the three, to give the Matadors the 30-28 win.

CSUN jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second game before the Bruins started their attack, catching up to tie the game at 7-7. The Matadors led 13-10 after a kill by Vance, but again UCLA got back into the game, tying the score seven more times before CSUN had another three point lead at 27-24. Fueled by five kills by Muagututia and two CSUN errors, the Bruins won the game 31-29.

Game three was another close one, with both teams tied seven times until two consecutive kills by Kneubuhl gave the Matadors a 10-8 lead. The Bruins came right back to tie the score at 10-10 and kept the score tight until UCLA errors gave CSUN a 16-13 lead. Again, the Bruins fought back, tying the score three times before a kill by McKniff gave the Matadors a 23-21 lead. The Bruins scored the next four points, taking the lead 25-23 and prompting a CSUN timeout. UCLA kept the lead until a kill by Kneubuhl tied the game at 29-29. The score was tied four more times before McKniff put an end to it, serving up two consecutive aces to give CSUN the 35-33 win.

The Matadors took control of the fourth and last game early, leading 4-1 after a service ace by Vance. Kills by Gaudino and Kneubuhl helped CSUN to a 13-9 lead and kills by Loe, capped by a Kneubuhl kill, gave CSUN its first five point lead at 21-16. UCLA’s Muagututia knocked down five kills from that point, however, and got the Bruins within two at 29-27. O’Malley’s kill closed the gap to 29-28, but Gaudino smacked a game-winning kill for CSUN, ending it with a 30-28 score.

“I thought we played great,” Keohohou said.” After game two we just came back and wanted to get out of here.”

The win is the Matadors’ sixth straight and improves their record to 12-4 overall and 8-3 in MPSF play. The loss drops the Bruins to 10-7 overall and 7-5 in conference.

Campbell said the team’s record is the best start its had since 1993.

“We’re very excited. The team’s we’re playing are good and we’re feeling very good about ourselves right now,” Campbell said.

Both Vance and Keohohou said their team is capable of winning a national championship.

“For the most part I think we’re doing really well right now, we just need to keep it up,” Vance said. “Keep it going.”

Campbell also believes his team can win a championship, but said he doesn’t like to think past the next opponent.

“We just need to get on a roll at the right time and we have the talent to do it,” Campbell said. “It’s just a matter of getting hot at the right time and playing well at the end of the year and we’re certainly capable of anything.”

Right now, the team is a bit road-weary, though, having played more games on the road than any other team in the conference and Campbell said they were looking forward to taking the next three days off.

“We need rest,” Campbell said.” We’re very tired right now. We’ve had three weeks on the road and its been rough. It’s been a rough couple of weeks.”

CSUN hit’s the road again this week for a match at Long Beach State on Friday and at UC San Diego on Saturday. Both matches start at 7 p.m.

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