How sweet it is. Not only did the Cal State Northridge volleyball team earn its first home victory against USC on Thursday, the Matadors swept the Trojans 15-6, 16-14, 15-9 in front of 1,016 excited fans.
USC entered the match with an 11-0 record at the Matador Gym and a 25-2 record against the Matadors.
"It feels awesome," CSUN sophomore setter Travis Ferguson said. "We played real consistently and that had a lot to do with my setting. Before the BYU game my setting was real inconsistent and so was the whole team."
CSUN Coach John Price took note and benched Ferguson for the start of the BYU match last week. It's done wonders for his performance and intensity.
"That was a wake-up call, not starting," Ferguson said. "It said, "Hey, get your act together.' "
The Matadors have a four-match winning streak since Ferguson's return. CSUN (9-5, 9-4) has won five of its last six and sits in second place behind undefeated UCLA in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Mountain Division.
USC (6-5, 3-5) has struggled all season and is in fourth place in the league's Pacific Division.
"When we're cold, we're cold," USC Coach Jim McLaughlin said. "I think Northridge didn't do bad but they have the ability to play better."
CSUN dominated the first game, taking a 10-3 lead. The Trojans never really fought back.
In the last two games however, USC threatened. Northridge held a 5-1 lead in the second game and the Trojans tied the score at 6-6. The teams exchanged leads, and at 14-13 USC appeared to have the game wrapped up. But the Matadors fought off three game points and Jason Hughes served back-to-back aces to give CSUN a 15-14 edge.
Peter Piexoto served game point and Ferguson smacked a shot to center court for the victory.
"We've been frustrated by USC the last few years," Price said. "So this feels good. I think we got a little more confidence now and our mental toughness is back."
That was evident in the final game. USC tied the score a couple of times and led, but the Matadors held on. At 9-9, CSUN broke away by scoring six consecutive points. Senior middle blocker Oliver Heitmann nailed a shot from the right side for the match.