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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Men’s volleyball: CSUN splits two games on the road

HIT THAT: The Matadors split their road games this weekend and will head back to the Matadome Wednesday night against USC. photo credit: Patrick Dilanchian / assistant photo editor

Northridge got back on track against UC San Diego after a crushing loss to No. 8 UC Irvine on Friday.

The CSUN men’s volleyball team kept its win streak alive with its 38th consecutive win over the Tritions. The 38 wins are the longest current winning streak over an opponent for the team. CSUN has hung its hat up on playing consistent error free volleyball, and with the latest win they look to continue their success together.

“I feel great about us moving forward. I do believe tonight was a better night for us as we cut back on our errors and that affected the other team,” freshmen Greg Faulkner said.

Although the team has played well together defensively, setting a season-high 16.5 team blocks against UCSD, they continue to struggle on offense as they hit a low .171 percent (46-25-123) on Saturday after hitting .200 against UC Irvine on Friday. The Matadors have hit .253 or less in eight consecutive matches, bringing the team’s hitting percentage to .225.

Though, Northridge has battled offensively, it has changed the focus of the team which has been going down the stretch for its push to playoffs.

“We are confident we can get more wins in the conference. The energy in the lockeroom is a lot more positive,” Faulkner said. “We are a lot more focused than we were a few weeks ago. If we keep playing tough like we did against UCSD, we will be ready for playoffs.”

The Matadors have two months to find their rhythm on offense before the playoffs start, but if they can continue to play error free volleyball, any opponent that faces them will have trouble containing CSUN.

The team now is 3-7 on the road, beating the Tritons in four sets at the RIMAC Arena.

The Matadors played well together against UCSD, as the Matadors got contributions from their leaders in the win, led by senior Tanner Nua, who matched his season-high with 13 kills versus UCSD.

But it was the play of the Matadors two key freshman that contributed to the win. Faulkner continues to play solid adding 11 kills (.353) and six blocks (two solo), while fellow Brandon Lebrock had his best showing after being in a slump for nearly a month with 11 kills and a season-high eight digs and hitting (.304) in 23 attacks.

Junior setter Matt Stork posted season-highs in many different categories, but the biggest was when he set CSUN’s first double-double of the season with 42 assists and a team-high 10 digs giving him six double-doubles for his career.

The Matadors didn’t even show up against No. 8 UC Irvine Friday as Irvine hit .419 (46-10-86) as a team, while Northridge  hit .200 (28-13-75). Carson Clark led the Anteaters with a match-high 15 kills as they cruised against the Matadors sweeping them in three sets.

The Matadors return home for three games against fellow Southern California schools as they face USC, Pepperdine and UCLA.

Earlier this year USC dominated the Matadors in three straight sets but coming off the win against UCSD the Matadors feel confident they have the tools to beat the Trojans.
“The biggest hurdle for us would be to beat USC.,” Faulkner said. “We were very focused going into this game this week.”

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