- #4 UC Irvine def. Cal State Northridge 3-0 (25-18, 25-23, 25-20)
- UC Irvine moves to 19-7, 5-3 Big West; Cal State Northridge falls to 13-10, 3-5 Big West
- Northridge, California
- Box Score
After a roller coaster five-set match on Friday, UC Irvine took a much easier route to victory on Saturday, finishing the season sweep of Cal State Northridge with a 25-18, 25-23, 25-20 road win. With the victory, UCI kept pace with Hawaii for the second spot in the Big West standings at 5-3, behind Long Beach State’s 8-0 mark.
The Anteaters dominated the net, outblocking the Matadors 15-2 and holding the home side to a .127 hitting effort. For its part, UCI hit .338 and boasted a 36-32 lead in kills. Both teams served up three aces.
UC Irvine was consistent throughout the night, starting the match at a .368 clip and remaining about .300 the rest of the way. Northridge hit -.037 in the opening stanza, rebounding with a .308 effort only to fall to a .115 efficiency in the final set.
Junior opposite Karl Apfelbach paced UCI with 12 kills on a team-best .524 hitting effort to go with five digs, four blocks and an ace. Sophomore middle Scott Stadick followed with nine putaways and a match-high eight blocks, including four solo stuffs, while moving into the school’s Top 10 for solo blocks at 45. Freshman outside Joel Schneidmiller added seven kills and five stuffs. Redshirt sophomore outside Austin Wilmot also aided the team’s blocking exhibition with six stuffs.
Junior outside Dimitar Kalchev, senior opposite Arvis Greene and junior middle Eric Chance notched eight kills apiece for the Matadors. Chance hit at a team-high .700 clip (8-1-10), while Green put up a team-best two blocks. Freshman outside Maciej Ptaszynski chalked up four kills and served up two of the team’s three aces.
Three Anteater miscues and a kill and a block by Greene gave Cal State Northridge a 6-2 lead to start the night. UCI countered with a 7-1 run, including three stuffs by Wilmot and two kills and block by Schneidmiller, to go up 9-7. After ties at 9 and 10, Apfelbach chipped in two kills and a block to make it 15-12 UC Irvine, a lead the team would not relinquish. CSUN was down five at 20-15 after three more Apfelbach points, and got kills from Kalchev and Chance to narrow the gap to three at 21-18, but could not break through. The Anteaters ended the set on a 4-0 run, including three straight solo blocks by Stadick.
Two Schneidmiller blocks and kills by four different players, including two by Koubi, helped UCI to a 9-4 edge in Set 2. Back-to-back Stadick putaways lifted the Anteaters to a 13-7 lead. Northridge took advantage of a pair of UC Irvine miscues to cut the margin to three at 13-10. Stadick notched two more kills and a block to put the Anteaters up 17-11, but the stanza was far from over. Trailing 19-13, the Matadors scored six in a row, three on UCI errors and two on Ptaszynski putdowns, to tie things up 19. A Tucker Pikula ace gave UC Irvine a 21-19 advantage and the teams split the next eight points leading to a 25-23 win. A Stadick putaway set up the final point, which came via Schneidmiller.
Set 3 featured seven ties, the last at 13-all. Four different Anteaters posted kills and Stadick and Wilmot put up solo stuffs as the team surged ahead 8-4. The Matadors scored eight of the next 10 to turn the tables and take a 12-10 lead of their own. Four UCI miscues and back-to-back kills by Chance gave Northridge the advantage. UC Irvine took control from there with a 9-2 run. Four more errors couples with aces by Apfelbach and Aaron Koubi put UCI on top 19-14. The teams traded points down the stretch, splitting the final 12 points en route to the final 25-20 score. A pair of CSUN service errors gave the Anteaters their first match point try at 24-19. Stadick downed his ninth kills to end the night.