No. 7 Matadors Knock Off No. 6 Stanford in Straight Sets
Northridge, Calif. - Freshman Tanner Nua had seven aces to go with seven kills and junior Eric Vance added a match-high 15 kills as seventh-ranked Cal State Northridge swept sixth-ranked Stanford 30-25, 31-29, 30-24 on Thursday at The Matadome.
With the win, the Matadors improve to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the MPSF. The loss drops the Cardinal to 5-3 overall and 2-3 in conference play. Northridge's 3-1 conference start is the best by a Matador team since 1996.
Nua, a freshman opposite from Palmdale, made his presence felt from the service line as he served up a career-high seven aces, one off the Northridge single-match record of eight set by Eckhard Walter against UCLA in 2001. Nua also chipped in seven kills, five digs and three blocks. Vance, who established a new career-high with 26 kills in his last outing at UC Santa Barbara, came back with 16 kills (.314) and four digs. Also for the Matadors, Mike Gaudino added eight kills (.263) and Cody Loe posted seven kills (.188). Matador libero Ali'i Keohohou posted a match-high 10 digs while senior setter Travis Bluemling tallied 36 assists as Northridge hit .323 as a team.
For Stanford, Evan Romero notched a team-high 14 kills (.216) and was the only Cardinal hitter to reach double figures. Jesse Meredith chipped in nine kills and Matt Ceran, who torched the Matadors for 19 kills in the season-opener on Jan. 4, was held to a pair of kills while hitting -.368.
Northridge trailed only briefly in game one as the Matadors held several early three-point leads. Stanford battled back to take a 16-15 lead after Vance hit long and also led 17-16 after a Meredith kill. After Stanford's Brandon Williams served into the net knotting the score at 17-17, Nua stepped to the service line and the Matadors rolled off six straight points to take a 23-17 lead. The Cardinal briefly cut the lead to two (25-23) before a Vance kill ended the game 30-25.
Stanford held the lead for much of game two after jumping out to an early 10-5 lead. Northridge took its first lead at 13-12 after a Ceran hitting error and held the lead until three straight kills from Romero gave Stanford the lead back at 19-18. The Cardinal would not surrender the lead until a Gaudino kill gave Northridge game point at 30-29. The Matadors then cashed in as Gaudino and Kevin McKniff teamed up to block Romero giving Northridge game two 31-29.
Game three was all Northridge as the Matadors bolted to a 13-8 lead forcing a Stanford timeout. The timeout did little to stem the tide as Northridge took four of the next six points to open up a 17-10 lead. The Cardinal battled back to within five at 23-18 but a pair of Nua aces during a 4-0 Matador run sealed the win for Northridge.
Cal State Northridge wraps up its brief two-match homestand on Friday as the Matadors host Pacific in an MPSF match at 7 p.m. Northridge will host an Alumni Night and pay tribute to its NCAA Finalist 1993 team between games two and three.
Article courtesy of CS Northridge athletics.