Matadors survive five-set thriller over BYU, advance to MPSF final

    After the Matadors defeated BYU in the fifth set the team celebrated, as they advanced to the MPSF championship game on saturday. Photo Credit: Brianna Hart Contributing Photographer

    PALO ALTO, Calif.– After dropping a heartbreaking third set in which they where up by as many as six, the Matadors rallied to defeat BYU 3-2 (26-30, 30-25, 28-30, 30-16, 15-12) Thursday night at Maples Pavilion to advance to the MPSF Tournament final on Saturday night.

    Senior Theo Edwards led four players in double figures with 16 kills and 13 digs, while the middle tandem of Kevin McKniff, Jacek Ratajczak and Redshirt freshman John Baker added 15 a piece.

    The Matadors dropped the first set but rebounded in the second set jumping out to an 18-10 lead but the Cougars did not go away cutting the Matador advantage to 22-20. Back-to-back kills from Ratajczak stretched the Matador lead back to four at 24-20 putting an end to any hope of a rally by BYU, as CSUN went on to win the set 30-25.

    In the third set Northridge got out in front by six at 17-11 but the Cougars responded by outscoring CSUN 19-11 to take a 2-1 set lead.

    Unfazed by dropping a tough third set CSUN came out firing in the fourth set exploding to a 23-9 advantage and never looked back, winning the set with ease forcing a deciding fifth set.

    The fifth set was back and forth early until the Cougars jumped out to a 7-4 lead. After a timeout by Matador head coach Jeff Campbell, CSUN rallied with a 4-1 run to tie the score at nine. An attack error by BYU on the next point gave the Matadors a 10-9 advantage. The match stayed neck and neck for the next  five points with the score tied at 12, a kill by Ratajczak a point later and back-to-back attack errors by the Cougars gave CSUN the win and put the them in the MPSF championship game on Saturday.

    CSUN head coach Jeff Campbell postgame MPSF semifinal interview