No. 4 Matadors Nail Down Eighth Straight in Win at UC San Diego


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La Jolla, Calif. - Sophomore Kevin McKniff knocked down a team-high 18 kills while hitting .708 and senior Isaac Kneubuhl added 14 as fourth-ranked Cal State Northridge won its eighth straight match, 30-24, 30-22, 20-30, 30-25 over host UC San Diego at RIMAC Arena on Saturday.

With the win, the Matadors improve to 14-4 overall and 9-3 in the MPSF. The win also gives Northridge its longest winning streak (8) since 2001 when the Matadors also win eight in a row. The loss drops the Tritons to 5-13 overall and 2-11 in conference play.

McKniff's 18 kills is a career-high and came on 24 swings with just one hitting error. The sophomore also added a pair of blocks and one ace. Kneubuhl, who hit .250, added added four digs and three blocks while Cody Loe (.381) and Eric Vance (.269) each chipped in 11 kills. Loe and Vance also combined for 12 blocks (two solo as Northridge out-blocked UCSD 13-12.

Jason Spangler led the Tritons with a match-high 21 kills on .260 hitting. UCSD setter Phil Bannan narrowly missed a double-double with nine kills and 36 assists. Calvin Ross added seven kills and Gerald Houseman chipped in five kills and a team-high six blocks.

After the Matadors controlled the first two games, the Tritons scored the first seven points of the third game and never let up, hitting at a .480 clip. UCSD was within 12-10 in the fourth game, but Northridge took control late and finished off the win.

In the first game, UCSD hung around and was within 23-20 before the Matadors scored four straight points to take a 27-20 lead. Northridge would cruise to the win at 30-24.

The Matadors jumped out early in game two, leading 10-5 and later at 20-12. Northridge outhit UCSD .423-.034 in the frame and took the second game 30-22.

With Spangler serving in game three, the Tritons scored the first seven points of the game and led 11-3 after a Spangler and Ross block. The Tritons would not let the Matadors get closer than six points the rest of the way and closed out the game by scoring the final four points, the last on a Ross ace at 30-20.

The Tritons scored three of the first four points in the fourth game before the Matadors gained momentum. With Nortridge leading 12-10, the Matadors scored three straight points to lead by five. The Tritons would not pull closer until 29-25, but by then Northridge had the match, the last point on a UCSD service error at 30-25.

Cal State Northridge returns home to open a season-long six-match homestand next Wednesday, Mar. 5 as the Matadors host UC Santa Barbara at 7 p.m.

Article courtesy of CS Northridge athletics.

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