NORTHRIDGE – The CSUN Matadors kicked off the 2019 home season in impressive fashion, knocking off second-ranked UCLA in straight sets in a non-conference match Wednesday at The Matadome.
With the 25-22, 25-16, 25-23 sweep, the Matadors improve to 3-1 on the season while handing the Bruins (2-1) their first loss in three matches.
• Junior Ksawery Tomsia led all hitters in the match with 12 kills, hitting .429 on 21 swings. The junior opposite also added five blocks and four digs.
• Senior Dimitar Kalchev added eight kills on .500 hitting while also posting five digs and a pair of aces. Sophomore Maciej Ptaszynski chipped in seven kills (.214), one ace, three digs and three blocks.
• Redshirt freshman Taylor Ittner handed out 26 assists in leading the Matadors to a season-high .417 hitting clip.
• Although the Matadors had just four aces, they kept the visiting Bruins off balance for much of the match with tough serving.
• CSUN limited UCLA to a .200 hitting clip, including a .115 percentage in the opening set.
• Brandon Rattray led the Bruins with nine kills, hitting .176 on 17 swings.
Coach Jeff Campbell said:
“UCLA is a great team and we knew coming into the match that it was going to be tough. I think we had a good game plan coming in and we executed that game plan. We did a great job from the service line; they served tough as well but I think we handled their serve a little better. That might have been the biggest difference, we were able to keep UCLA out of system a little more. This was really a team win, we played very well together.”
The two teams traded the lead early in the opening set but neither team led by more than a two-points. A triple block by Ptaszynski, Tomsia and Daniel Wetter gave the Matadors a 13-11 lead before two straight Bruin points knotted the set at 13-all. UCLA then went up 16-15 before a pair of Bruin miscues gave CSUN a 17-16 advantage. An ensuing 4-1 run by the visitors forced a Matador timeout at 20-18. A Ptaszynski kill propelled the Matadors on a 4-1 run of their own which gave the hosts a 22-21 edge. After a Dylan Missry kill tied the score, CSUN used kills from Wetter and Kalchev along with a UCLA setting error to seal the set 25-22.
The Matadors claimed the first two points of the set before extending the lead to 6-2 following a Tomsia kill. CSUN still led 8-5 when Kalchev swerved back-to-back aces pushing the lead to 10-5. The Matadors maintained a five-point cushion (17-12) when a 4-0 run, capped by a Ryan DeWeese ace, boosted the lead to 21-12. UCLA would only get within seven points the rest of the way as CSUN took a 2-0 lead following the 25-16 win.
Looking for a win to stay in the match, the Bruins bolted out to a 4-1 lead and led 11-6 following a Ratray kill. Following a CSUN timeout, the Matadors were outscored 3-1 over the next four points as UCLA took its largest lead at 14-7. CSUN then engineered a 6-2 run to pull within 16-13 forcing a Bruin timeout. A Ptaszynski ace followed by a UCLA hitting error trimmed the lead to one but the visitors rebounded with a 4-2 run to maintain a 20-17 lead. A Kalchev kill sent the Matadors on a 5-1 which erased the Bruin lead, putting CSUN in front 22-21. After two straight UCLA points, the Matadors again battled from behind when a UCLA service error followed by an Ittner kill and a triple block on match point sent CSUN to the 3-0 sweep.
The home win over UCLA marks CSUN’s first over the Bruins in The Matadome since 2014 … The win is also CSUN’s first over a team ranked as high as number two since the Matadors upset second-ranked Long Beach State on Mar. 19, 2016.
The Matadors conclude their two-match homestand Friday, hosting UC Merced in a non-conference match Friday at 7:00 p.m.