Fighting back from a first set loss, 10th-ranked CSUN upset 5th-ranked Pepperdine in a five set victory 16-25, 25-22, 25-20, 27-29, 15-13 Friday night.
Coming into the game 4-1 at home, the Matadors achieved their second upset victory of the week.
“I am real proud of our guys we played well and we played hard,” said head coach Jeff Campbell. “This game always comes down to serving and passing and we served and passed much better this week then the prior week.”
“Our middles pulled every block. So I had one up most of the time,” Baker said. “Our passers did a phenomenal job and our setters just put it where it need to be. It was pretty fun and it was a great night.”
In the first set, Northridge never mounted much of a threat to the Waves, and Pepperdine pulled away with a 25-16 win. Getting as close as one, with the score 15-14, CSUN never got closer than four the rest of the set.
Blasting out to a 14-7 lead in the second set, Northridge looked to be in control. A 5-0 run by the Waves lead to a 16-16 tie, and the teams soon found themselves deadlocked again at 20-20. Pepperdine never gave the Matadors much of a cushion, staying within just one point after that. CSUN eventually closed out the set 25-22 on kills by junior outside hitter Brandon Lebrock and senior middle blocker Drew Staker.
Trailing by as many as four in the third set, CSUN was able to overcome the deficit to tie the score at 17-17. Another Lebrock kill gave Northridge the momentum to take control of the set, winning 25-20.
In the third set, CSUN outhit Pepperdine an eye-popping .333 to .091, one of the biggest differentials of the season so far.
Northridge struggled to close out the fourth set as they had four separate chances during crunch time to wrap up the game, but Pepperdine managed to pull through and take the win 27-29.
“We had chances to win and I have to take my hat off to Pepperdine they did whatever they needed to do to win that game,” Campbell said. “They played great at the end and it was a battle that really could have gone either way.”
After Pepperdine forced a fifth set, the Waves earned the first two points before Northridge turned up the heat with a four point run, and never looked back. The Waves would eventually tie the score at 13-13, but the Matadors were able to close out match point, winning 15-13.
“The win earlier this week and now this win is huge for us,” Lebrock said, who had 16 kills, seven digs and a .206 hitting percentage.
With two wins in the last three days, — both over higher-ranked teams — Campbell definitely sees his team progressing.
“Overall we definitely improved and we are moving in the right direction,” Campbell said.