Northridge wins nine in a row

Ivan Yeo

The third-ranked CSUN Matador men’s volleyball team continues to roll along.

?Led by a balanced offensive attack that saw four Matadors reach double figures in kills, Northridge was unstoppable for all but one game of its Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match against visiting UC Santa Barbara Wednesday night, beating the Gauchos in four games by scores of 30-25, 25-30, 30-17 and 30-23.

?The win is CSUN’s ninth in a row, matching the winning streak established by the 1979 team and improves their record to 15-4, 11-3 in MPSF play. UC Santa Barbara dropped to 7-11 and 5-9 in conference play.

?Senior outside hitter Isaac Kneubuhl was the main man for the Matadors, as he swung for 22 kills and a .450 hitting percentage. Junior outside hitter Eric Vance was second with 19 kills to go along with 10 digs, sophomore middle blocker Cody Loe had 14 kills and sophomore outside hitter Mike Gaudino had 11 kills. Senior setter Travis Bluemling had 60 set assists and sophomore Ali Keohohou had 14 digs.?

“We have good leadership,” Campbell said. “The leaders on the team stepped it up.”

?For Santa Barbara, senior middle blocker Theo Brunner swung for 14 kills and freshman opposite Jeff Menzel had 13 kills. Freshman setter Vince Devany had 29 assists, junior setter Max Klineman had 16 assists and senior libero Ben Brockman had 13 digs.

After a briff 3-3 tie to start game one, Northridge went on a 12-4 run to open up a 15-7 advantage. The Matadors stayed in control, though they couldn’t quite shake off the Gauchos, who got to within 27-25 until Northridge won three straight sets to end the first match.

?The two teams switched roles in game two, as Santa Barbara led for most of the game while Northridge played catch-up. The Gauchos held a 24-21 lead until the Matadors won three straight sets to tie the game, but a kill from Brunner stopped Northridge’s momentum and Santa Barbara won five of the last six sets to win game two.

?”We played a little flat,” head coach Jeff Campbell said. “Thankfully we were able to pull it out and play better at the end.”

?CSUN hit only .130 as a unit in game two, but the Matadors turned it up in the final two games and dominated as a result. The Matadors hit .600 in the third game and .588 in the finale. Northridge scored five of the first six points to open up game three, which was only the beginning, as CSUN jumped out to leads of 12-6 and 18-8 and were in control from there out. Game four saw Northridge jump out to a 10-6 lead, then after Santa Barbara closed to 14-12, the Matadors won three straight sets and the Gauchos never threatened again.

?Northridge continued its home stand against the USC Trojans on Friday.