No time to Wave goodbye

Victor Corona

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After splitting a pair of matches last weekend in the Bay area, the No. 3 Matadors men’s volleyball team return home Wednesday night to face No. 2 Pepperdine. A win against the Waves will keep CSUN’s conference title hopes alive.

‘We got to hope for some teams to beat other teams (Pepperdine and UC Irvine) and for us to win out,’ junior Mike Gaudino said.

The game will not only feature two of the best teams in the country, but also four of the best players in the country. Senior All-Americans Eric Vance (CSUN) and Paul Carroll (Pepperdine) have won four of the 11 National-Player-of-Week honors that have been handed so far this season. Also, Matador freshman Matt Stork and Wave sophomore Kasey Crider are No. 1 and 2 respectively in assists per set nationwide.

‘Carroll is a big key to the game,’ Vance said. ‘He is obviously their best player and an All-American so he is key to stop, but also, you can’t overlook everyone else because the rest of the team is filled with really good players.’

The Matadors are two games behind the Waves in the loss column with five matches left in the regular season.

Should they not host the playoffs, this week will mark the last two home games of 2009 for CSUN. They would also be the last two games at the Matadome for Vance.

‘We are always gunning for the wins, but it’s a big night, especially for Eric,’ sophomore Tanner Nua said. ‘He is going to be pumped and we are going to be pumped for him so we want him to go out with a big bang this year.’

Date: Wednesday
Time: 7 p.m.
Place: The Matadome, Northridge
Series: Pepperdine leads CSUN 46-18
Last meeting: Feb. 25, CSUN 3 @ Pepperdine 2
Interesting fact: The top seven teams in the Bison/AVCA division I-II Men’s Coaches poll are from the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. Pepperdine’s No. 2 and CSUN is No. 3.

Matador to watch:

Eric Vance, outside hitter, senior’

Following Friday’s game against USC, there probably won’t be anymore home games for Vance and his brilliant All-American career. A couple of weeks ago Vance went over the 400-kill mark for the second consecutive year. In 2009, he has compiled 449 and needs 11 more to eclipse his season career-high of 459, which he set as a junior. He also has a team-high 47 service aces this season.

Wave to watch:

Paul Carroll, opposite hitter, senior

The 6-foot-9 All-American leads the nation in kills per set this season at 6.03. Carroll is also the Waves’ dig leader, averaging 2.30 per set. Last week against two nationally-ranked top-10 teams, he combined to pound out 40 kills and 13 digs. The Australia native has been named National Player of the Week twice this season. His teammate, Kasey Crider, received the same honor this week.

That’s what he said

Tanner Nua, CSUN opposite hitter
On the Matadors’ game plan against Pepperdine:

‘It’s going to be a big challenge. Carroll’s an All-American hitter and an excellent player so we need to play our game and put up a solid two-man or three-man block. If we can do that, we shouldn’t have a problem winning.’