No. 2 Matadors Defeat NAIA No. 8 Hope International


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Northridge, Calif. - Junior Eric Vance knocked down a match-high 15 kills and senior Isaac Kneubuhl added 12 as second-ranked Cal State Northridge won its 14th-consecutive match with a 30-20, 30-22, 30-20 non-conference win over Hope International on Friday at The Matadome.

The win continues Northridge's school record win streak to 14 as the Matadors improve to 20-4 on the season. The loss drops the Royals to 5-16.

Vance tallied his 15 kills on 25 swings for a .400 hitting clip while Kneubuhl had 12 kills without an error in 15 attacks for an impressive .800 percentage. Mike Gaudino added nine kills (.667) and Ryan Adams chipped in seven (.333) in the Matador win. Vance also served six of Northridge's nine aces in the match. Libero Ali'i Keohohou posted a match-high six digs and Travis Bluemling (27 assists) and Jeff Baxter (15) split time at setter.

For Hope, Alex Figueiredo was the lone Royal hitter to reach double figures with 11 but hit just .174. Poyer Poia added nine kills (.375) and Rich Camerlengo had five kills (.231) and five blocks (one solo).

The Matadors out-hit the Royals .528 (48-10-72) to .229 (32-16-70) and had nine aces to two for Hope. The Royals did post a slight 5.0 to 4.0 advantage in team blocks but Northridge out-dug the Royals 19-11.

Hope held a trio of two point leads early in game one, the last at 5-3 before the Matadors took advantage of a pair of Royal miscues to knot the score at 5-5. Then with Vance at the service line, Northridge rolled off four consecutive points to take a 9-5 lead. A Figueiredo kill drew Hope within two at 9-7 but the Matadors soon boosted their lead back to five at 12-7 following a Kevin McKniff ace. Northridge was never threatened again, ultimately leading by 12 at 27-15.

The Matadors trailed briefly in game two after Hope led by one at 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2. After a Royal service error got the Matadors even at 3-3, Northridge went on a 7-1 run to open up a 10-4 lead. The Matador lead soon grew to nine (20-11) following Vance's second ace of the frame and Northridge went on to take game two 30-22.

Firmly in control of the match, the Matadors hit a match-high .682 in the final frame and coasted to the 30-20 decision. Northridge never trailed in game three as the Matadors won their 26th-consecutive non-conference match in The Matadome.

Cal State Northridge returns to MPSF action next Tuesday, Apr. 1 as the Matadors travel to UC Irvine for a key conference match at the Bren Center. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Article courtesy of Cal State Northridge athletics.

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