No. 5 Cal State Northridge Claims First-Ever UCSB/Elephant Bar Championship


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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Behind tournament MVP Eric Vance's match-high 20 kills, fourth-seeded Cal State Northridge won its first-ever UCSB/Elephant Bar Collegiate Invitational championship after defeating Stanford, 21-30, 30-20, 30-27, 30-20 Saturday night at Robertson Gym.

The Matadors (3-0) defeated No. 2 UCLA and No. 14 UC Santa Barbara on Friday before topping No. 8 Stanford in tonight's title match.

The tournament championship is the first for the Matadors since Northridge first appeared in the Elephant Bar Invitational in 1996. The Matadors reached the championship match twice (2004, 2005) but lost in the title match each time to UCLA.

Vance earned tournament Most Valuable Player and all-tournament honors after pounding 60 kills in the Matadors' three wins, including 20 against the Cardinal. The 2008 First Team All-America also added eight digs and three blocks (two solo) while hitting .250 in 48 swings. Junior Mike Gaudino was also named to the all-tournament team after posting another solid all-around match with 13 kills, 15 digs, three aces and four blocks. Tanner Nua (12 kills) and Jacek Ratajczak (11) also posted double figures in kills while Ratajczak match Vance's two solo blocks. Matt Stork was impressive again as the freshman setter led the Matadors to a .324 hitting clip by posting 55 assists to go with a pair of kills and three digs. Libero Ali'i Keohohou also recorded 14 digs in the win.

Evan Romero led Stanford with 18 kills (.317) while Spencer McLachlin also reached double figures with 12 kills (.226). Cardinal libero Erik Shoji posted a match-high 16 kills for Stanford (2-1).

"We are excited to get a win over a great Stanford team even after starting out flat in the first game," said head coach Jeff Campbell. "We are looking forward to going to Westwood and play a very deep and talented team in UCLA on Wednesday."

Cal State Northridge opens MPSF play on Wednesday, Jan. 14 as the Matadors travel to UCLA for a 7 p.m. match.

Article courtesy of Cal State Northridge athletics.

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