The Streak Continues - No. 3 Matadors Defeat No. 8 USC


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Northridge, Calif. - Isaac Kneubuhl and Cody Loe each pounded a match-high 16 kills and Mike Gaudino added a double-double of 12 kills and 11 digs as third-ranked Cal State Northridge won its school-record 10th match in a row with a 28-30, 30-22, 30-22, 30-22 win over No. 8 USC on Friday at The Matadome.

The 10th-consecutive win eclipses the record set by the 1979 Matador squad that won nine straight on two occasions. Northridge improves to 16-4 overall and 12-3 in the MPSF while the Trojans slip to 9-11 overall and 6-8 in conference play.

The Matadors, who now have the best record in school history after 20 matches, also continued their recent dominance of USC as Northridge has now won the last 12 matches between the two teams.

Loe, who hit .464 and Kneubuhl (.321) led the way for the Matadors while Gaudino and Eric Vance (11 kills) also reached double figures in kills. Gaudino, Kneubuhl and Vance all added double figures in digs as Northridge posted three double-doubles in the match. Kneubuhl and Vance also added three aces apiece as the Matadors posted a season-high 12 aces as a team. Senior setter Travis Bluemling had 57 assists in leading Northridge to a .363 (63-18-124) hitting effort.

For USC, Murphy Troy led three hitters in double figures with 14 kills (.294). Juan Figueroa (.080) and Hunter Current (.333) each chipped in 10 kills while Current added a match-high eight blocks. Setter Jimmy Killian registered 36 assists and six digs as the Trojans hit .252 (55-24-123) as a team.

The two teams traded the lead for much of game one before back-to-back kills from Kneubuhl and Gaudino put the Matadors up 25-23 forcing a USC timeout. But a Murphy kill followed by a Murphy-Current block and a Current kill gave the Trojans the lead back at 26-25 forcing the Matadors to call timeout. Back came Northridge on a Kevin McKniff kill and a McKniff-Vance block to reclaim the lead 27-26. A C.J. Schellenberg kill and a Murphy ace put USC back ahead to stay and another Schellenberg kill gave the Trojans game one 30-28.

The Trojans led for the first eight points of game two but a Vance kill gave Northridge a 5-4 and the Matadors would lead from that point on. Holding a slim 7-5 lead, the Matadors won five of the next six points to open up a 12-6 cushion. The lead eventually grew to seven (14-7) after a Kneubuhl kill and the Matador lead was never less than four the rest of the way.

USC led briefly at 5-4 in game three but a Schellenberg service error and a McKniff-Gaudino block on Current gave Northridge the lead back for good at 6-5. The Trojans closed to within one twice, the last at 11-10, before a 6-2 Matador run opened up a 17-12 lead capped by a Figueroa hitting error. Northridge boosted the lead to seven at 20-13 on a Kneubuhl ace and then led by as many as nine at 26-17 on a Vance ace.

Game four was close at 10-9 before the Matadors rolled off a 5-0 run to open up a 15-9 lead. Another Kneubuhl kill gave Northridge its biggest lead at 18-12 and fittingly at 29-22, Kneubuhl ended the match on his 16th kill of the night.

Cal State Northridge continues its season-long, six-match homestand on Wednesday, Mar. 12 as the Matadors host Pepperdine at 7 p.m. in The Matadome.

Article courtesy of CS Northridge athletics.

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