Cal State Northridge Downs USC In MPSF Play-In Match, 3-0
April 19, 2007
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Senior Dan Rhodes overcame a shaky first game to fire a match-high 19 kills as seventh-seeded Cal State Northridge defeated eighth-seeded USC 36-34, 30-23, 30-28 in the MPSF Tournament Play-In match Wednesday night at The Matadome.
With the win, the Matadors improve to 18-14 and advance to Saturday's MPSF Quarterfinal match at second-seeded BYU. The loss ends the Trojans' season at 12-16.
Rhodes, who had just four kills and hit .067 in game one, knocked down 15 kills over the final two games to lead the Matadors.
Sophomore Eric Vance added 14 kills (.219) and James Lischer chipped in 11 kills while hitting a team-high .429. Vance finished off his second double-double of the season with 10 digs and and also added three aces. Setter Sean Pedersen, who came on in relief of starter Travis Bluemling, recorded a match-high 43 assists as Northridge wound up hitting .264 as a team. Libero Isaac Kneubuhl also notched a team-high 11 digs in the win.
For USC, Juan Figueroa knocked down a team-high 15 kills but committed 11 hitting errors and was limited to an .089 hitting clip.
C.J. Schellenberg added 11 kills (.214) and Matt Anderson also reached double figures in kills with10 while hitting .409. Trojan setter Jimmy Killian registered 39 assists, seven digs and six blocks while libero Luke Morris tallied a match-high 15 digs.
Northridge out-hit USC by a slim .264 (56-23-125) to .226 (50-22-124) margin and had five aces to one for the Trojans. USC did post a 14.5 to 10.0 advantage in team blocks.
In what proved to be the pivitol game, the Matadors overcame an 11- point deficit to claim game one 36-34. After taking a slim 11-9 lead, the Trojans blew the game open by taking 12 of the next 15 points. A kill by Andrew Vernon gave USC another 11-point cushion at 24-13 before Northridge engineered a 6-0 run to close within 24-19. The Trojans built the lead back to seven at 27-20 after a Vance hitting error, but with Vance at the service line the Matadors put together a 7-0 run to knot the score at 27-27. USC scored the next two points before Northridge saved a pair of game points against tying the score at 29-29. The Trojans fought off five game points before Pedersen and Lischer teamed up to block Hunter Current on game point.
The Matadors bounced back after hitting .130 in game one to hit .429 in the second frame. After USC held an early 3-2 lead, Northridge got a kill from Rhodes and a Killian setting error to take a 4-3 lead.
From then on the Matadors would not trail again eventually stretching the lead to eight at 17-9 following a Lischer kill. The Trojans could not get the deficit under seven the rest of the way as the Matadors took a 2-0 lead following the 30-23 win.
In the decisive game three, both teams held a lead until Northridge tied things at 22-22 after a Vance kill. A Kyle Waite kill forced a Trojan timeout and a Schellenberg kill knotted the game for the final time at 23-23. The Matadors scored three of the next four points, capped by a Matt Mosko hitting error, to give them the cushion they would need as they closed out the game 30-28 and the match 3-0.