CSUN Volleyball: Matadors lose third straight match

Jay Guillory

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MATADOR BLUES: CSUN has lost three straight matches after winning two straight against Harvard and BYU. Photo Credit: Herber Lovato / Assistant Photo Editor

Junior setter Matt Stork hammered down a career-high 24 kills in a losing effort against the Pacific Tigers (10-15, 4-13 MPSF).

The Cal State Northridge volleyball team (6-18, 4-13 MPSF) lost their third match in a row. The Matadors could not hold on to a first game win (25-17) and dropped the final three (25-23, 25-18, 26-24) at Pacific on Saturday.

Stork’s kills came on 49 swings to hit .367 and also added 11 digs and two aces for his third double-double of the season and eighth of his career. Stork’s contribution stood alone against the Tigers as no other Matadors had more than six kills. CSUN hit a dismal (.188) while Drew Staker (.333) and Tanner Nua (.048) both finished with six kills apiece. Freshman Brandon Lebrock had a team-high five blocks.

The Matadors came out hitting hot against the Tigers that carried out from the night before as CSUN out hit the Tigers in the opening game .292 to .034 to win 25-17. From that point on, CSUN’s hitting percentage dropped considerably hitting .027 and .167 in the third and fourth games.

In the third, the Tigers would run away from the Matadors as they led early, 2-1, and never looked back, claiming the game 25-18. In the final game, CSUN looked to force another set with an early 3-0 lead over the Tigers and that quickly jumped out to an 8-2 margin for the Matadors.

Then Pacific got the momentum rolling by closing the gap with team kills, bringing the Tigers within reach of the Matadors 16-13 lead. Pacific would trail by three the rest of the way until CSUN had the game point at 24-21 on the hands of Stork’s final kill of the night, until the Tigers scored five straight points capped off by a Matador hitting error to lose the game 26-24.

CSUN faced No. 2 Stanford Cardinal (15-5, 12-4 MPSF) in attempts to win in another upset fashion as the Matadors have already beaten teams ranked second or better this season. CSUN had the Cardinal panicked early, but couldn’t pull off the upset losing (23-25, 25-22, 25-19, 28-26,15-11) in an MPSF match on Friday.

The Matadors had a season-high four players reach double figures in kills as Stork led the way with .235. Nua added 15 kills in 42 swings (.190) to go with a season-high eight digs. Lebrock posted a career-high 14 kills while hitting .444 and Staker finished with 10 kills while also hitting .444.

The Matadors committed 19 serving errors without an ace against Stanford. The two teams split the first two games; the Matadors hit .364 to claim the third game 25-19. The fourth was the tightest of the match as the score was tied 18 times after CSUN overcame an early Stanford lead.

The Matadors were on the verge of winning the game with 24-23 match point lead before Faulkner committed a service error. But CSUN would get a second opportunity to seal the deal on the hands of Staker with a block,  giving the Matadors their second match point 25-24, but the Cardinal answered back to win and forced a fifth game.

CSUN took an early two-point lead in the final game as kills from Lebrock and Nua gave the Matadors a 2-0 lead, but Stanford was able to pull even and eventually took the lead 6-5. The Cardinal would remain tight with the Matadors 11-10, but that would be the closest they get, losing the final set 15-11 for another CSUN defeat.