Win streak could reach 12 straight

Debby von Winckelmann

The Cal State Northridge men’s volleyball team will return to action tomorrow, looking to make it 12 straight wins, when it takes on the University of Hawai’i Warriors at the Matadome at 7 p.m.

The Matadors, took a break after beating the Pepperdine Waves 30-26, 28-30, 30-25, 26-30, 15-11 on March 12 at the Matadome. The win was CSUN’s eleventh in a row and gave the Matadors some sweet revenge, as one of the season’s few losses was to the Waves on Jan. 12.

CSUN was enjoying its highest ranking ever, at second, while the Waves were ranked fifth. The win also extended the Matadors’ home winning streak, remaining undefeated at 7-0.

Junior Eric Vance posted his third consecutive double-double against the Waves, knocking down a career-high 27 kills, along with 13 digs. Vance also served two aces in the win. Senior Issac Kneubuhl hit 17 kills and two aces, while freshman Cody Loe had 13 kills. Sophomore Mike Gaudino served a career-high six aces and senior setter Travis Bluemling had 57 assists.

For Pepperdine, Paul Carroll hit a match-high 29 kills, followed by J.D. Schleppenbach with 14 kills and Cory Riecks with 10 kills. Carroll also had eight digs, as did Sean Grubbs. Jonathan Winder had 60 assists.

The Matadors have the edge statistically, going into their matches with Hawai’i. CSUN is third nationally in team hitting percentage at .321. Individually, six Matadors show up in the March 10 NCAA Division I-II National Statistics Leaders list, with Vance appearing in three categories: eighth in aces with 29, 11th in points with 5.07 per game, and 12th in kills with 284 (4.24 average per game). Loe is 11th nationally in hitting percentage at .430 and Kevin McKniff is 17th at .401. Ali’i Keohohou is 10th in digs with 159 (2.61 average per game), Bluemling is third in assists with 940 (13.06 average per game) and Kneubuhl is 18th in aces with 20.

The Warriors appear in the nationals statistics in blocking and digs. Ric Cervantes is third nationally in digs, with 204 (3.19 average), while Steven Grgas is third in blocking, averaging 1.59 per game. Matt Rawson is 20th in blocking with an average of 1.18 per game.

The Warriors will play CSUN after playing USC on Friday and Saturday. The Matadors will need to remain sharp, however, as the Warriors were able to upset CSUN in their meeting in Honolulu last season, in two straight matches.