No. 2 Cal State Northridge Sweeps No. 13 Hawai'i


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Northridge, Calif. - After being pushed to the limit by Hawai'i one night earlier, second-ranked Cal State Northridge rolled past the 13th-ranked Warriors on Wednesday 30-21, 30-25, 30-28 in an MPSF match at The Matadome.

With the win, the Matadors (19-4, 15-3) continue to build on their school-record win streak which is currently at 13. Hawai'i drops to 10-13 overall and 7-11 in the MPSF. By sweeping the two-match series, Northridge claims just its second home sweep over Hawai'i in the 29-year series.

Junior Eric Vance, who pounded a career-high 40 kills in the marathon five-set win on Tuesday, led the Matador offense with 15 kills while hitting .333. Vance also added three aces to his team-leading total of 39. McKniff added 12 kills while committing just a pair of hitting errors in 18 swings for a solid .556 hitting clip. McKniff also had the Matadors' lone block in the match. Mike Gaudino (.615) and Isaac Kneubuhl (.250) each tallied nine kills while Gaudino added a match-high 16 kills narrowly missing a double-double.

Hawai'i was led by Brennon Dyer's 12 kills (.250) while Joshua Walker came off the bench to record 11 kills (.300). Setter Sean Carney contributed 25 assists and six digs and Jacob Schkud added seven kills, two aces and three blocks.

As a team, the Matadors hit a solid .404 (49-11-94) to .227 (36-16-88) for the Warriors. Northridge served up six aces to three and had 31 team digs to 26 for Hawai'i. The Warriors posted a sizable 8.5 to 1.0 advantage in team blocks, led by Keali'i Frank's match-high six.

Each team led early in game one before the Matadors broke open a 14-13 game with a 5-1 run highlighted by a pair of Vance kills. On top 19-14, the Northridge lead swelled to 24-16 capped by a McKniff put-away. The lead was as many as nine (27-18) and wound up nine (30-21) on a Kneubuhl ace.

After the Warriors scored the first point of game two, a McKniff kill drew the Matadors even and Northridge led from that point on. Hawai'i pulled within one 13 times during the game but could never draw even. With Northridge up 14-13 and Vance serving, the Matadors rolled off five consecutive points to take a comfortable 19-13 lead. The Warriors closed to within four on two occasions, the last at 29-25, before a Dyer hitting error gave the Matadors the game 30-25.

Game three featured 14 ties and a pair of lead changes. Northridge led by as many as three (13-10) but Hawai'i kept it close and eventually reclaimed the lead at 25-24 after McKniff was stuffed by Frank and Schkud. A Schkud kill following a Matador timeout gave the Warriors a two-point cushion (26-24) but Northridge answered with kills from Kneubuhl and McKniff and a Carney service error to take back the lead 27-26. The Warriors managed to knot the score twice more, the last at 28-28, before the Matadors got a Kneubuhl kill and a McKniff ace on match point to close things out.

Cal State Northridge wraps up its six-match homestand this Friday, Mar. 28 as the Matadors host Hope International in a non-conference match at 7 p.m.

Article courtesy of Cal State Northridge athletics.

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