In preparation for the semifinal match against second-seed Pepperdine, the Matadors have used their left-handed opposite hitter, Tanner Nua, to provide them with some inside scouting. Kind of.
‘We been practicing what it’s like to go up against Paul Carroll,’ outside hitter Mike Gaudino said. ‘Tanner has been playing as Paul Carroll in practice, giving us the left-handed look just like Carroll.
‘We’re just trying to get a feel for what Pepperdine’s going to do and see what we can do to stop it.’
Carroll, a six-foot-nine senior from Australia, led the nation in kills this season. He will be key in the Matadors’ defensive plan.
Series history versus the Waves
The Waves lead the overall series 47-18 with the Matadors winning two of the last three meetings. Since the 1990 season, the teams have met in the postseason seven times. The Waves have won five of the seven matches.
Pepperdine eliminated the Matadors from the MPSF Tournament for three consecutive years from 2006-2008, although all three of those matches were played at Firestone Fieldhouse, Pepperdine’s home court. CSUN is 2-1 all-time versus Pepperdine in the playoffs on neutral courts.
What to look for
The key to a Matador win today will be sophomore Tanner Nua, who has struggled in the last few games and has been replaced occasionally by junior Theo Edwards.
During the Matadors’ great run early in the season ‘- when CSUN won 16 of their first 18 matches ‘-Nua compiled double-digit kills in 13 of the games. In the past six matches though, Nua has only been able to hit the double-digit kill mark just once (against UC Santa Barbara on April 17). In a 3-2 upset win over the Waves on Feb. 25, Nua had a career-high 23 kills.’ ‘ ‘ ‘
‘I have to go out there against Pepperdine mentally prepared,’ Nua said. ‘More than anything, I need to go out there and know that I can do it. If I go out there doing that, I should be fine.’