No. 4 CS Northridge Outlasts No. 2 Long Beach State In Five Games

2/29/2008

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Long Beach, Calif. - In a throw-back match to the old days, second-ranked Long Beach State and fourth-ranked Cal State Northridge did battle in the old Gold Mine Gym. Northridge came back from an early deficit in game five to defeat the 49ers 30-28, 25-30, 30-24, 26-30, 15-13. Northridge improved to 13-4 overall and 9-3 in the MPSF while the 49ers lost their first home match of the season and fell to 12-2 and 8-2 in league play.

Dean Bittner had a career-high 29 kills for the 49ers and Paul Lotman added 24. They were the only 49ers in double digits. Long Beach State hit .288 in the match and recorded 15.5 team blocks. Dan Alexander had a team-high 11 blocks in the match to go along with his six kills. Lotman and Dustin Watten led the 49ers defense with 10 digs apiece. It was the third consecutive match Watten has hit double digits in digs.

Eric Vance led the Matadors with 22 kills, Isaac Kneubuhl had 20 and Cody Loe 18 to lead the CSUN offense. CSUN hit an impressive .365 in the match and out-dug the 49ers 42-to-39. Ali'i Keohohou led the Matador defense with 14 digs and Mike Gaudino added 11. CSUN did have 28 service errors in the match and recorded 12.0 team blocks. Loe, Gaudino and Kevin McKniff all had five blocks.

In game five the 49ers jumped to a quick 4-0 lead, only to see the Matadors come back and tie the game at 4-4. After Long Beach took a 6-4 lead, CSUN went on a 5-1 run to grab a 9-7 advantage. Long Beach came back to tie the game at 9-9 and the game remained tied at 13-13. Loe ended a long rally with a cross-court kill, giving CSUN a 14-13 lead. Match point came on a hitting error by Bittner.

The Matadors jumped on top first winning game on 30-28. CSUN hit .536 (17-2-20) in the game as Loe and Kneubuhl both led the way with seven kills. Long Beach led 22-20, but CSUN fought back to tie the game at 27-27. From there Kneubuhl connected on two consecutive kills to give the Matadors a 29-27 lead. After a Lotman kill cut the deficit to one, Kneubuhl ended the game with a kill. Lotman and Bittner both tallied seven kills for the 49ers, who hit a respectable .375 in the game.

The 49ers fought back in game two, prevailing 30-25. Bittner pounded down eight kills in the game as the 49ers hit .344 (17-6-32). Trailing 14-12 early on, the 49ers used a 10-4 run to take command at 22-18. Long Beach eventually pushed the lead to 26-21 before closing out the 30-25 victory.

Game three saw the Matadors break away from a 22-22 tie with four consecutive points, grabbing a 26-22 lead. Long Beach had battled back from a 20-14 deficit to score six consecutive points, tying the game at 20-20, but CSUN rebounded as they hit .448 (17-4-29) in the game.Vance had eight kills in game three to key the CSUN attack. The 49ers hit just .107 (11-8-28).

In game four the 49ers took an 11-8 lead early on and then expanded the advantage to 18-12. CSUN used a 5-1 run to pull towithin 19-17, but the Matadors couldn't overtake the 49ers. Alexander's kill sealed a 30-26 win. The 49ers hit .303 (13-3-33) in the game, while Long Beach limited the Matadors to their lowest hitting percentage of the night, .194 (15-8-36).

The 49ers will be in action on Saturday, March 1 when they host UC Santa Barbara at 7 pm in the Gold Mine.

Article courtesy of Long Beach State athletics.

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