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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Northridge trounces Trojans for record 10th straight win

The Cal State Northridge men’s volleyball team set a new school record for consecutive wins on Friday night by beating USC 28-30, 30-22, 30-22, 30-22 at the Matadome.

CSUN, ranked third nationally, pounded 63 kills and hit .363 as a team in its tenth straight win, compared to USC’s 55 kills and a .252 hitting clip by the eighth-ranked Trojan’s.

“We served well,” said head coach Jeff Campbell. “We played well in all the games, but SC played a little bit better in game one. I was pretty happy with the way we played.”

The Matadors’ serving was dead on, with CSUN serving up 12 aces to just three by the Trojans.

Campbell said that after losing the first game, the Matadors improved their serving and passing.

“We settled down and I think that was the difference,” Campbell said.

Three Matadors posted double doubles on the night with senior Issac Kneubuhl knocking down a match high 16 kills and 10 digs, while hitting .321. Mike Gaudino had 12 kills and 11 digs while hitting at an incredible .611 and Eric Vance smacked 11 kills and dug up 10 balls. Gaudino also served up two aces and Vance had three aces.

Red shirt freshman Cody Loe also had a match-high 16 kills and hit .464 in the match. Travis Bluemling had 57 assists and Ali’i Keohohou had eight digs.

“We had a lot of players play well,” Campbell said, looking at the stats. “God, (Mike) Gaudino hit .611 — that’s phenomenal. He’d probably be my mvp of the game.”

Gaudino smiled when told of Campbell’s remarks.

“Sweet. It was really a team effort, though,” Gaudino said. “We all played well — served and passed well. And, we’re really started to mesh. Everything’s starting to click.”

Things have been clicking for the Matadors, who had two players receive honors in the past two weeks.

Vance was named the Sports Imports/AVCA Division I-II National Player of the Week on Feb. 25 and Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Player of the Week. Vance is the first Matador to receive the National Player of the Week award since 2006.

Loe was named MPSF/Molten Co-Player of the Week on March 3 after pounding 31 kills and hitting at .636 in two matches: an upset win against second-ranked Long Beach State and a victory at UC San Diego. Loe had 18 kills in 23 swings without an error, as well as serving three aces and 12 blocks.

“That was a total honor,” said Loe. “I wasn’t expecting it at all. I’m just out here doing what I love and I guess I’ve come a long way and it feels really good.”

Loe said the team has improved its consistency and is more confident.

“We’re going for our serves more and we’re hustling more on the court,” Loe said. “There’s more desire. As we’ve gained these wins, we’ve become much more confident in ourselves.”

For USC, Murphy Troy had 14 kills, followed by Juan Figueroa and Hunter Current with 10 kills each. Luke Morris had a team-high nine digs and Jimmy Killian had 36 assists. The Trojans outblocked the Matadors 11.5 to 7.

In the first game, the two teams kept the game close until the Matadors went ahead 25-23 on a kill by Gaudino. After a timeout, USC came back and won the next three points, putting them ahead 26-25 and forcing a CSUN timeout. Kevin McKniff pounded a kill to tie the score at 26-26, then assisted on a block to put the Matadors back on top 27-26. The Trojans, despite a collision among players trying to save a ball, recovered and tied the score at 28-28, then went on to win the game 30-28.

USC started the second game in the lead, but the Matadors surged to a 12-6 lead after a Gaudino ace. Bluemling’s quick reflexes allowed him to recover his own blocked ball and spike it back over the net for a 13-7 lead. The Matadors never fell behind, winning the game 30-22.

In game three the score remained close until the Matadors pulled away for a 17-12 lead. Vance’s service ace gave CSUN its biggest lead at 26-17 and the Trojans were unable to recover, with the Matadors’ McKniff delivering the game-winning kill for a 30-22 victory.

Game four was again close in the beginning, but the Matadors took a big lead at 18-12 after a Kneubuhl kill, then extended that lead to 21-14 after a Gaudino kill. A service ace by Loe put CSUN up 27-19 and a kill by Knuebuhl closed out the match with another 30-22 win.

While winning their tenth game in a row is a school record, it isn’t that big a deal to the Matadors.

“It’s awesome, but I really don’t feel like we accomplished anything yet,” Gaudino said. “We gotta keep working.”

Instead, Gaudino said the team can accomplish a bigger goal: a national championship.

“We talk about what it takes to get there,” Gaudino said. “Try to stay focused one game at a time. Every game matters.”

Campbell, while happy with the tenth straight win, was also looking ahead.

“It feels good, but it’s not something that we’re focused on at all,” Campbell. We’re focused on getting wins and all eyes are on Pepperdine this week.”

Next up for the Matadors is fourth-ranked Pepperdine on Wednesday night at the Matadome. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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