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Northridge Gives 90 Percent and Is Swept Under by Waves

February 27, 1986|JERRY CROWE | Times Staff Writer

That wasn't a tsunami that ripped through the Cal State Northridge men's volleyball team Wednesday night.

It was only the unbeaten and No. 1-ranked Waves of Pepperdine, who were still powerful enough to overwhelm the Matadors, 15-10, 15-11, 15-8, in a closer-than-expected California Intercollegiate Volleyball Assn. match at CSUN.

Both teams have first-year coaches--John Price at CSUN and former U.S. national team member Rod Wilde at Pepperdine--but that's where the similarities between them ends.

The defending NCAA champion Waves are 11-0 overall, 8-0 in the CIVA and have won their last 26 matches. They haven't lost a CIVA match since April 4, 1984, a streak of 30 matches, and haven't lost so much as a game in more than three weeks, a streak of six matches.

CSUN, meanwhile, is 1-6 in the conference and hasn't won even a game against anybody other than St. Mary's, the conference doormat. The Matadors have lost their last five matches in straight games.

But for awhile Wednesday the Matadors stayed even with Pepperdine. They led, 10-9, in the first game and 11-9 in the second before Pepperdine scored the last six points of both games.

Still, Pepperdine's Rob Scott was not impressed with the Matadors.

"Those guys were, like, shutting their eyes and reaching up an arm and getting lucky," he said. "Those guys live by that kind of playing, but then they die by it."

Scott said the Waves had a hard time getting excited about playing Northridge. Also, Pepperdine played without All-American setter Troy Tanner, who is expected to have minor surgery on his right foot this week.

"It wasn't as smooth as we'd have liked," Wilde said of the Waves' oft-times ragged play. "We did a lot of experimenting, trying to find somebody to fill Troy's spot. That type of person is awfully tough to replace."

Price was pleased, overall, with his team's play, but bemoaned the Matadors' lapses in the crucial parts of the first two games.

"Ninety percent of the match we played great," Price said. "We came out real aggressive, real loose--not afraid to make mistakes. I think that's why we played so well. We just broke down. We made a few mistakes and they blew us out of the water."

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