Hawaii came into their weekend series against CSUN losers of six straight and nine of their last 10 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation matches, including the first four this year.
All that changed when they swept the No. 2 team in the country, the previously-undefeated Matadors (6-2, 3-2 MPSF), in back-to-back games.
Fifty-nine service errors by the Matadors helped the Warriors pull out a 3-2 win (21-30, 30-28, 22-30, 30-23, 15-12) on Friday and a 3-1 victory (30-26, 21-30, 32-30 and 30-26) the day after.
Senior All-American Eric Vance did all he could to prevent the Matadors from losing and had 59 kills in the two matches. On Friday, Vance was a killing machine in the second set, hitting 12 of the 20 kills the team had in the game.
Leading the way for the Warriors were sophomores Brennon Dyer and Joshua Walker.
The two combined for 65 kills and 35 digs. Dyer was an unexpected starter after freshman Gus Tauniga, the starter earlier this season, was sent to the bench.
The Matadors got off to a fast start on Friday, but errors early on allowed the Warriors to stay in the game. Up 12-11, CSUN finished the set on an 18-11 run to end the first set.
But then came the service errors. Twenty-two of the 33 they committed for the game came in the losing sets. Eleven of those came in set two.
Helping out Vance offensively in the first match were junior Mike Gaudino and sophomore Jacek Ratakczak. The two combined for 20 kills and 20 digs.’
Perhaps feeling the effect of their first five-set match of the year and having to come back the next night contributed to the Matadors’ 3-1 loss on Saturday night. The loss was the eight consecutive for CSUN at Hawaii and marked the third time in row they been swept in Honolulu.
The Warriors (3-6, 2-4 MPSF) picked up were they left off and defeated the Matadors 30-26 during Saturday’s first set. The set featured 11 ties. The teams were even at 25-25, but the Warriors took command then and outscored CSUN 5-1 to win it.
The Matadors came back to win game two behind Vance’s eight kills. CSUN lead by as many as nine and won the game 30-21.
Up 28-26 in the third set, the Matadors were unable to close the set. The Warriors tied the game at 28 on a Walker kill. Then the teams traded the next four points before Hawaii pulled out the set (32-30) on back-to-back kills from Walker and freshman Steven Hunt.
Out of gas in the fourth set, Northridge fell behind by four early. The Matadors got within 22-21, but that’s as close as they got and lost 30-26.
The Matadors were out-blocked by the Warriors both nights, 17-10 on Friday and 36-19 on Saturday.
A special play was pulled off by Hawaii on Friday night. Attempting to save a ball that ricocheted off a teammate, a Warrior went beyond to the Matadors’ side of the court and hit the ball back to his teammates. The play resulted in a kill for Hawaii’s Steven Hunt. ‘hellip; In the second set of Friday’s game, Vance moved into tenth place in the all-time kills’ list.’ He had a season-high 32 kills for the night. ‘hellip; After getting swept last weekend CSUN is 3-23 all time at the Stan Sheriff Center.