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CSUN Takes Stanford to a 4th Game in Loss

Times Staff Writer

Although the Matadors played one of their best matches of the season, the Cal State Northridge volleyball team fell short to Stanford University at the CSUN gym Saturday night, losing, 15-11, 15-10, 14-16, 15-5.

The Matadors played inspired defense throughout the match and ended with 67 defensive saves to Stanford’s 45. Mark Stein led the Matadors with 15, while John Buffington had 14, and Mike Bird and Scott Juhl each accounted for 13 saves.

The defeat drops CSUN to 4-12 in California Intercollegiate Volleyball Assn. action and 16-18 overall; Stanford is 9-6 in CIVA and 11-6 overall.

In their first meeting at Stanford Jan. 27, the Matadors lost to the Cardinal in three straight games, but Saturday CSUN was competitive throughout the match.

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“This is the best I’ve seen us play all year,” CSUN Assistant Coach Rob McCarthy said. “They overpowered us in the little things. But we’ve gained a lot of poise over the past two months.”

Stanford jumped out to a 9-3 lead in the first game, but CSUN rallied, mixing up itsoffense effectively. Tom Ribarich served five points for the Matadors, including one ace, and CSUN evened up the score at 11 before Stanford scored four straight points to end the game,15-11.

“They were just a little more experienced and consistent,” CSUN Coach John Price said. “We played tough in the first and second games. But we’d string together a few mistakes and give them the opportunity to score.”

CSUN, however, did some scoring of its own in the third game.

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The lead changed hands several times before the Matadors took a 12-11 lead on English’s shot that fell untouched in the middle of the Stanford defense. Stanford’s Jon Root made a hitting error for CSUN’s 13th point. But Stanford was less than ready to roll over and play dead.

The Cardinal gained two points on CSUN errors and then blocked Stein to take a 14-13 lead. English, who led the Matadors with 20 kills, got hot at the net and killed several game-ending opportunities for the Cardinal. Two Stanford errors gave CSUN the game, 16-14.

English proved himself a force.

“All we can hope to do is contain him,” Stanford Coach Fred Sturm said. “It’s hard to stop him completely.”

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