On April 9 at Crawford Hall, the No. 13 UC Irvine Men’s Volleyball team hosted No. 9 Cal State Northridge, a match that promised to be close and didn’t disappoint. Despite CSUN’s 3-1 win over UCI, the match itself was close.
The first game was taken by UCI, 30-27, as sophomore outside hitters Jayson Jablonsky and Matt Webber began to tally up their career highs in kills. Jablonsky recorded 25 while Webber added to his career high of 24, spurring from the assistance of sophomore setter Brian Thornton who had 63 set assists. The loss now puts UCI at 8-19 overall and MPSF 6-14 record, which officially places the Anteaters out of contention for the MPSF playoffs.
CSUN (16-12, 9-11) led the second game 19-17 until UCI went on a 3-1 run, tying the game at 20-20.
The teams continued to battle, but a service error by UCI followed immediately by a CSUN kill by Brian Waite and a service ace led to a 24-21 lead that UCI simply could not overcome.
The Anteaters lost the game 30-26. The third game was even closer, as Jablonsky and Thornton combined to lift UCI back to a 22-22 tie.
Jablonsky provided the kill and Thornton immediately followed with an ace; however, CSUN’s Waite immediately responded with a kill and UCI committed errors. UCI was down 26-22 and was unable to find a way to score as the third set ended 30-27. The fourth game was taken easily by CSUN with a score of 30-21 to finish the night.
While UCI dominated nearly every statistic, from kills (70-57) to points (83.5-71.5), the tale of the night was hitting percentages and errors.
UCI’s shooting percentage hovered around .250 before dropping to a game low of .161 in the fourth and final game. UCI had 22 errors, giving up a huge number of unearned points to CSUN.
The Matadors were led by Nils Nielson who had 22 kills and was supported by setter Jeff Conover who posted his first double digit game with 49 assists.
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