End of the regular-season line for Mr. All-American

Victor Corona

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The Matadors’ 3-0 sweep of UCSB Friday night marked the final regular-season match in the illustrious career of All-American Eric Vance at CSUN. The senior’s 20-kill, three-assist, three-dig, three-ace performance against the Gauchos at Robertson Gym further enhanced the great legacy he has left at CSUN, both as an individual and team player.

‘He (Vance) has been a four-year starter,’ Head Coach Jeff Campbell said. ‘He is our team leader, our team captain. He is a big reason why we are doing so well and why we’ve done so well over the last few years.’

‘His work ethic is unparalleled on the team. He really leads by example and that’s going to be Eric’s legacy. He leads by example.’

How much has he meant to the volleyball program? In the past two seasons the Matadors have a combined record of 46-13 and, in the process, have twice been ranked No. 1 in the nation. It’s something unprecedented in men’s volleyball history.

‘He has been great asset to the team,’ sophomore opposite hitter Tanner Nua said.’ ‘We know that we can always count on him to make a big play when it counts. He is someone I’ve looked up to as a mentor, an idol for something I want to achieve and play like.

‘Having him on the team and having him as a friend is amazing all the way around and I’m going to miss him when he goes. But hopefully we can send him off with a national championship.’

Vance’s three aces against the Gauchos on Friday took his career count up to 180. With at least one more game to be played this season (the playoffs start Saturday), Vance needs only three more aces to tie former Matador Walter Eckhard’s service-ace record of 183.

During his four years as a starter, Vance has asserted himself as one of the all-time greats in the history of the men’s volleyball program, ranking on top of most statistical categories. He ranks third all-time in kill attempts with 3,500, fifth in kills with 1,616 and sixth in digs with 666.

‘I try not to pay attention to the stats,’ Vance said. ‘Sometimes I kind of wonder about it, but is all in good fun. I’d rather win than worry about the stats, but when we are winning it’s okay to joke around and think about it.

‘I just can’t let it affect the game. It’s not all about me or about my stats. To me is about winning as a team, so I’d rather have bad stats and win a game than good stats and lose a game.’

Vance’s regular-season career might have come to an end, but ‘- starting Saturday ‘- Vance has the opportunity to put a final stamp on his Matador resume: with a Division I national title.

With all the individual stats and team success that have been garnered over the past few seasons, Vance hopes his legacy at CSUN is that of someone who wasn’t ‘the biggest guy or had the most natural talent,’ but that of a player who ‘worked hard and persevered to play with the big dogs.’