The Cal State Northridge men’s volleyball team saw the Hawaii Rainbow-Warriors take both contests at the Matadome Feb. 24-25. The Warriors held off a two-game comeback by the Matadors to win the first match by scores of 30-25, 30-20, 29-31, 18-30 and 15-11 and then swept CSUN in the last match by scores of 30-27, 41-39 and 30-27.
“We’re not pleased at all,” said head coach Jeff Campbell. “We were never in any of the games, we were in game two a little bit, but I didn’t like the effort at all.”
Hawaii won the fist two matches by jumping out to big leads. The third game, however, was a different story, though it started out the same as the previous two.
Hawaii had a 13-8 lead before CSUN scored six of the next seven points to take its first lead of the match at 15-14. Both teams alternated scores until Hawaii took the 27-26 lead. The match eventually went into sudden death, but Cary Hanson had two kills, giving CSUN the 31-29 win.
The fourth game was dominated by CSUN, as the Matadors jumped out to the early 11-3 lead and never let Hawaii in the contest and went on to the 30-18 win.
In game five, the Matadors jumped out to a 4-2 lead before Hawaii answered with seven in a row to take the lead, which propelled them to the 15-11 win.
Both teams took the court on Feb. 25 for the rubber match of the series, but Hawaii quickly dashed any hopes of a split, sweeping the Matadors by scores of 30-27, 41-39 and 30-27.
In game one, Hawaii held an 11-7 lead before CSUN stormed back. Brian Waite started the rally with a kill, then two Hawaii attack errors and a net violation tied the game at 11.
CSUN took its first lead at 13-12 on an attack error by Carere, and sustained it until Hawaii jumped back in front at 19-18. Eric Vance tied the game as he went over a Hawaii block for a kill, but Hakala put Hawaii back in front, then Jose Delgado smashed two kills to give Hawaii a 22-19 lead, which was the cushion the Warriors needed as they went on to the 30-27 game one win.
“We just broke down in a bunch of aspects, our passing, hitting, setting,” said junior Dan Rhodes.
In game two CSUN had a 20-17 lead when Waite and Dan Rhodes teamed to deny Delgado on a kill attempt. CSUN led 21-18 until Hawaii’s blockers denied Hanson and Waite on kill attempts to cut the deficit to 21-20, forcing a Matador timeout.
CSUN took advantage of a serving error and an attack error to get the lead back. With the Matador lead at 24-21, the Warriors scored three in a row to tie the game at 24, forcing another CSUN timeout.
Hawaii could not be stopped as they scored three more to take a 27-24 lead. Hawaii then led 28-25 until CSUN answered with its own 3-0 run to tie the game. Hawaii put itself in position to win when Matt Bender went cross-court for a kill, but Hanson sent the game into sudden death. A kill by Bender and an ace by Brian Beckwith gave Hawaii a 41-39 win.
The third game was again a battle. With the game tied at 12, Hawaii scored three in a row to take a 15-12 lead, forcing a CSUN timeout. The Matadors came out of that timeout by reeling off four in a row to take a 16-15 lead.
After a timeout, Rhodes smashed a kill off a Hawaii block and aced on the ensuing serve as the ball went off the net and found the sweet spot, giving CSUN an 18-15 lead. CSUN’s lead peaked at 22-18 before Hawaii scored three in a row, cutting the Matador lead to 22-21.
Nothing could stop Hawaii, as they scored two more to take the lead. The Matadors and Warriors traded the next five points until Hawaii again ran off three in a row to lead 28-25, which was all the Warriors needed as they closed the Matadors out 30-27.
“We just got to rebound, learn from our mistakes, focus more mentally and play better in practice,” said Bellante.
CSUN continues its five-game home stand against No. 6 Long Beach State on March 3 at 7 p.m. and UC San Diego the following day at 7:30 p.m.
Ivan Yeo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.