Matadors leave Royals hopeless

Victor Corona

The No. 2 Matadors concluded their seven-match homestand on Saturday by sweeping Hope International 3-0. The sweep was the 12th in 22 games this season for the Matadors (19-3) and served as preparation for an upcoming road stretch.

‘It’s nice and you always want to sweep, but it’s something we even don’t talk about,’ Head Coach Jeff Campbell said.

Senior All-American Eric Vance led the Matador attack with 21 kills while sophomore Tanner Nua and junior Jacek Ratajczak added nine and eight respectively.

Unlike against their previous two opponents, the Matadors’ starters played for most of the game against the Royals. Not until the third set did Campbell decide to finally put his reserves in.

‘Hope is a good team and (Campbell) wanted us to get some momentum going into this week as we go into a tough game at Stanford,’ Vance said.

Down 17-15 in the first set, the Royals’ (13-8) hopes of an upset were quickly evaporated after the Matadors closed the frame on a 17-1 run to win the game 30-16 and take command from that point on.

The Matadors continued to pound away at the Royals in the second set, winning it 30-17 behind Nua’s five kills.

With CSUN’s reserves already in the game, the third set was more competitive. The Royals put up 23 points on the board, but the Matadors still won going away.

‘We played pretty well tonight with the main guys,’ Campbell said. ‘We even had some of the second-team guys come in and play very well. I’m very pleased with this week and now all eyes are on Stanford.’

The Matadors return to Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play this week as they travel to the Bay Area for matches against the Cardinal on Friday and Pacific on Saturday.

This weekend will be the start of a critical stretch for the Matadors as they will end the season playing six of eight matches on the road.

‘We need to start peeking,’ Nua said. ‘As soon as we do that, no team is going to beat us. That’s what it’s about come playoff time.’