April 1, 2006
Northridge, Calif. - Junior Dan Rhodes pounded a match-high 35 kills as No. 4 Cal State Northridge held off the upset bid of No. 7 UC Santa Barbara, 30-20, 30-24, 22-30, 27-30, 15-12 in an MPSF men's volleyball match on Friday at The Matadome.
The loss drops the Gauchos to 12-12 overall and 8-10 in conference play. With the win, the Matadors claim their fifth straight victory and improve to 16-8 overall and 11-7 in the MPSF.
In a match-up of two of the leading hitters in the MPSF, Rhodes' 35 kills outdueled the Gauchos' Evan Patak who tallied 31 in the loss. Rhodes, who had 23 kills and was hitting .815 after two games, wound up hitting a solid .466 (35-8-58) in the match. Eric Vance and Isaac Kneubuhl both added 11 kills for the Matadors, who also got 10 kills off the bench from James Lischer. Rhodes also added two aces, eight digs and three blocks in the Northridge win. Setter Travis Bluemling nearly matched his season-high in assists with 68 and libero Sebastian Pedraza recorded a match-high 12 digs.
Patak was also impressive on the stat sheet as he hit .429 to go with three aces, two assists, a team-high six digs and four blocks. The Gauchos also got 14 kills from Theo Brunner (.429) and 10 off the bench from Aaron Richman (.467). Brunner also posted a match-high eight blocks and Gaucho setter Max Klineman posted 59 assists.
The Matadors hit .382 (75-23-136) as a team to .346 (67-21-133) for the Gauchos, who had a 16.5-7.0 advantage in team blocks. Northridge had a 38-29 advantage in digs, but UCSB out-served Northridge seven aces to two.
Northridge took command of the match winning the first two games behind a .623 hitting percentage. Behind Rhodes, the Matadors hit a match-high .667 in game one and committed just four hitting errors in the two games combined. Conversely, Santa Barbara hit .172 in game one, but rebounded to hit .400 in game two but UCSB was still down 2-0.
With the Matadors up 8-7 in game three, the Gauchos scored the next six points to go on top 13-8. UCSB would not trail the rest of game three and held Northridge to a .031 hitting clip. The Matadors held one lead (9-8) in game four before the Gauchos took back the lead for good at 10-9 on a Michael Fisher kill. Northridge closed to within two several times down the stretch in game four, but UCSB held on 30-27 forcing the decisive fifth game.
In the fifth frame, the Gauchos opened up a 2-0 lead on a Patak kill and a Patak ace before a Patak service error and a Patak hitting error evened things at 2-2. Northridge came back with kills from Kneubuhl and Rhodes to open up a 4-2 lead. The lead would stand until 5-5 when the Matadors got another Kneubuhl kill and a Rhodes ace to go up 7-5. The Gauchos would close to within 9-8 on a Patak kill but Northridge ran off two more points to take an 11-8 lead. The Matador lead swelled to 14-9 after a Lischer kill and despite UCSB fighting off three match points, Rhodes ended the match with a kill at 14-12.
UCSB returns to action this Wednesday when they will host USC at Robertson Gym at 7:05 p.m.