It was a hard-fought night, but the Trojans couldn’t match the fury of the Matadors men’s volleyball team’ (21-5, 14-5 MPSF) on Friday night.
Northridge, playing in its final home game of the regular season, knocked down USC in four sets, winning 3-1 (30-27, 30-28, 29-31 and 30-21).
Although the match was an all-around struggle, it was more of a two-on-two battle: with CSUN’s Eric Vance and Matt Stork on one side and USC’s Riley McKibbin and Murphy Troy on the other.
The top killer was Vance with 26 kills. Troy nipped at his heel with 25. The numbers were a reflection of their position in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, where Troy is just a spot behind Vance. The Matador occupies fourth place for kills.
And there wouldn’t have been an opportunity for kills were it not for the assists. That was where the real battle was. On those trenches McKibbin led the game with 61. Stork had 53.
But it being Northridge’s final time in the Matadome in 2008, CSUN kept USC (16-7,’ 12-6)’ from getting the upper hand, and it did it by striking first.
The first attack of the game came from none other than Vance, giving the Matadors their second point and the game’s first kill.
The first set was a tee-tottering match, with points bouncing back and forth. It wasn’t until Northridge reached 10 points that the home team finally grabbed the lead since starting the game 1-0.
From there on out, it were errors which hurt the Trojans. For the game, USC had a total of 28, 21 of them were service errors.
Statistics seemed to indicate USC should have beat the Matadors. The Trojans outkilled CSUN 68-60.
In the second set there were seven straight kill points between USC and Northridge combined. The first kill of the set was brought down by Vance followed by Trojan Austin Zahn and Troy.
Getting to the final points of the set, USC began to slip, just as it did in the first set. Once the Trojans hit 28, they froze up and put the game back into the Matadors’ hands.
With the score sitting at a 25-24 CSUN lead, USC began to let things slip and allowed Northridge to take a one and two-point lead, trading points back and forth. Then, Matador Mike Gaudino finished the set 30-28 with one of his 13 kills.
The third set was in the hands of the Matadors. They were almost able to get a clean sweep for the night, but the Trojans would not go down without winning at least one set. Northridge led nearly the entire set, but ‘- with the score tied at 18 ‘- something in the Trojans kicked up and they made their first solid run.
At that point, USC began a killing spree, getting nine kills and ‘- more importantly ‘-limiting its service errors to just three. The Spartans were able to take the set from the Matadors with a score of 31-29.
The fourth set would be the final set. But the scoring came in another fashion late in the game.
Six of the fourth set’s first 10 points came by way of errors. There were four attack and two service errors, but most of them worked in favor of the Matadors, who led 7-3 following the span.
It appeared that fatigue began to set in for the Trojans, though, as they let the final set slip away again. USC ‘s largest lead of the set was 3-1. From there on, the Matadors ran away with it.
Northridge will have a week off to enjoy the victory and prepare for a match at UC San Diego next Friday. The Matadors swept the Tritons 3-0 the first time around this season.