No. 4 Matadors Hold Off No. 12 Loyola-Chicago's Upset Bid


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Chicago, Ill. - Junior Eric Vance pounded 24 kills and senior Isaac Kneubuhl added 19 as fourth-ranked Cal State Northridge held off the upset bid of No. 12 Loyola-Chicago 30-22, 30-22, 26-30, 30-32, 15-12 Friday at Alumni Gym.

With the non-conference win, the Matadors claim their third straight win overall and improve to 9-4. The loss drops the Ramblers to 6-5.

Vance, who hit .500 on the night, came within two kills of his career high. The junior also added seven digs and three blocks. Kneubuhl added 19 kills (.300) and served three aces and had five digs. Kevin McKniff and Cody Loe rounded out the quartet of Northridge hitters in double figures with 15 and 11 kills respectively. For McKniff it was one off his career-high set earlier this season at USC. Senior setter Travis Bluemling notched a season-high 65 assists as Northridge hit an impressive .407 in the match.

For Loyola, Kris Berzins matched his career-high with 18 kills and George Kamberos added a career-high 15 kills (.480). Joe Guntli also reached double figures with 10 kills and seven digs and Mike Hutz dished out 56 assists, six digs and three aces in the loss.

Game one was all Cal State Northridge as the Matadors out-hit the Ramblers .391 to .080. The hosts fell behind early as the Matadors jumped ahead to a 13-7 lead they would not relinquish. After taking advantage of a Nick Lamoureux service error, the Matadors claimed game one on an ace by McKniff.

The second game was much of the same as the Matadors took a 14-8 lead on a Vance kill. Northridge posted 20 kills to Loyola's 10 and cruised to a 30-22 victory which put the Matadors up two games to none going into intermission.

After dropping the first two games, the Ramblers were determined to come from behind as they jumped out in front of the Matadors, 9-4 on a kill by Lamouruex. The hosts held the lead for the remainder of game three and claimed a 30-26 victory.

Reenergized after the victory in game three, the Ramblers fought hard in the fourth game, rallying from behind to stay in the game. Loyola trailed the Matadors almost all of game four until a Berzins kill put the Ramblers up 30-29 for their first lead of the game. With the score knotted at 30, Kamberos dropped a Bluemling serve in for his 11th kill of the night giving the Ramblers a 31-30 edge. A service ace by Guntli sealed game four, forcing a fifth and deciding game.

Game five was a back-and-forth affair which featured nine ties and three lead changes. With the score tied at 11-11, Kneubuhl recorded back-to-back kills to give the Matadors a 13-11 lead they would not surrender. Cal State Northridge took the game and the match on Vance's 24th and final kill of the evening.

Cal State Northridge wraps up its six-match road trip on Saturday with a non-conference match at Lewis University. Match time at Neil Carey Arena is 7 p.m. CST.

Article courtesy of Cal State Northridge athletics.


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