No. 8 Cal State Northridge Come Back to Defeat No. 8 USC in MPSF Opener


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Los Angeles, Calif. - Middles Kevin McKniff and Cody Loe combined for 29 kills and eighth-ranked Cal State Northridge claimed three straight games after dropping the first and defeated No. 11 USC 26-30, 30-28, 30-21, 30-19 Wednesday in the MPSF opener for both teams at the Galen Center.

With the win, the Matadors claim their third straight win and improve to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the MPSF. The loss drops the Trojans to 1-3 overall and 0-1 in conference play. Northridge has now beaten the Trojans 11 straight times (dating back to 2004), including twice already this season.

McKniff led Northridge with 16 kills hitting an impressive .609 in the process. The sophomore also added six blocks (all assisted) and three aces. Loe had 13 kills (.440), posted a team-high seven blocks (one solo) and had a pair of aces. Isaac Kneubuhl (.280) and Ryan Adams (.500) also reached double figures with 11 kills apiece. Senior setter Travis Bluemling had a season-high 52 assists and Mike Gaudino added a team-high seven digs.

For USC, C.J. Schellenberg knocked down a match-high 17 kills (.310) and Murphy Troy added 16 (.333). Juan Figueroa also reached double figures with 11 kills (.056).

Northridge hit .369 to USC's .179, had more blocks (14.5 to 10.5) and served six aces. The Trojans had 38 digs, including 14 by Luke Morris.

USC jumped on CSUN quickly in the first game, going up 6-2 and then building the lead to 16-8 before the Matadors crept back to within 20-17, but they could get no closer. Neither team forged more than a 3-point lead in the second game, which was tied at 26-26 before a McKniff kill and a Matador ace gave CSUN the edge it needed. In the third game, CSUN got off to a 9-6 lead and was never threatened the rest of the way while hitting .607. The Matadors opened an 8-5 lead in the final game and slowly pulled away, going on a 7-0 run to up the margin to 22-12.

Cal State Northridge continues its six-match road trip to open the season as the Matadors head to second-ranked Pepperdine Saturday at 3 p.m.

Article courtesy of Cal State Northridge.

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