No. 4 Cal State Northridge Tops Cal Baptist in Non-Conference Action


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NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Senior Eric Vance and sophomore Tanner Nua each fired a team-high 11 kills while junior Mike Gaudino added 10 as fourth-ranked Cal State Northridge swept a non-conference match from visiting Cal Baptist 30-27, 30-27, 30-28 Friday at The Matadome.

With the win, the Matadors improve to 9-2 on the season while the loss drops the Lancers to 9-5.

Vance wound up hitting .185 and also added four digs and two blocks while Nua hit .333 in 21 swings to go with a pair of blocks. Gaudino (.240) also chipped in three digs and one block. The pair of Matador middles, Kevin McKniff and Jacek Ratjczak each had eight kills with McKniff hitting a match-high .545 and adding three blocks, three digs and two aces. Setter Matt Stork posted 44 assists and a career-high three aces and libero Ali'i Keohohou recorded a co-match high seven digs in the win.

Northridge out-hit Cal Baptist .287 (49-20-101) to .159 (33-20-82) and served up seven aces to two for the Lancers. Cal Baptist posted a 13.0 to 6.0 edge in team blocks and posted 28 team digs to 23 for the Matadors.

The Lancers took a brief 5-4 lead in the opening set after Vance's attack went long. But an ensuing four-point Matador run, highlighted by a pair of McKniff aces, gave Northridge the lead for good at 8-5. Cal Baptist answered with consecutive points to close to within 8-7 but Northridge took command with an 8-2 run to open up a 16-9 lead. The Lancers were able to pull within one at 22-21 on an Adiel Tiedjop kill and also trailed by one at 23-22 and 25-24 before back-to-back kills from Nua and Gaudino gave the Matadors the cushion they needed as Northridge claimed game one 30-27.

The teams traded the lead for the early portion of set two before Cal Baptist turned a 16-15 deficit into a 19-16 lead following a Levi Cabral put-away. The Lancers matched their biggest lead at 21-18 before a 4-1 run pulled Northridge even at 22-22 on an Adam Church hitting error. A McKniff error put Cal Baptist up 24-23 but the Matadors engineered a 4-0 run capped by a Stork ace to take a 27-24 lead. After the Lancers got within 29-27, a Tiedjop service error put Northridge up two sets.

Cal Baptist bolted out to a 9-4 lead in the third set and the Matadors were forced to play catch-up virtually the entire set. A Vance kill briefly pulled Northridge within one at 16-15 before the Lancers extended their lead back to three at 22-19 following an Adam Church kill. But a 4-0 Northridge run capped by a Nua ace put the Matadors in front for the first time since 4-3. Cal Baptist would not fold as the Lancers built a 25-23 lead with three consecutive points. Cal Baptist took a 28-26 lead after Marcus Vinicius and Cabral teamed up to block Gaudino and the Lancers looked to force a fourth set. But a Ratajczak kill followed by a Vinicius hitting error drew the Matadors even at 28-28 forcing a Lancer timeout. Stork's third ace out of the timeout followed by a Ratajczak kill gave Northridge to 30-28 win.

Cabral led Cal Baptist with a match-high 13 kills (.200) while Tiedjop added eight kills but hit just .037. Micah Tokuda matched CSUN's Keohohou with seven digs.

Cal State Northridge returns to MPSF action next week as the Matadors wrap up their five-match homestand against Pacific (Feb. 19) and Stanford (Feb. 20).

Article courtesy of Cal State Northridge athletics.

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