Eberts finished just short of a double-double as he had a team-high nine digs while adding an ace and two blocks. Veiga had an efficient night, hitting .556 with 10 kills and no errors in 18 swings.
CSUN out-blocked UCSD 8 to 4.5 and also held a .322 to .263 advantage in attack percentage.
The loss dashed any hopes of an MPSF Tournament appearance for the Tritons. With two league matches remaining in the regular season, UCSD is 5-15 in the MPSF (9-18 overall) and cannot catch UCLA, which picked up the eighth and final tourney berth by virtue of the Tritons' loss.
Cal State Northridge improved to 5-15 in the league and 7-20 overall. The win snapped a five-match slide for the Matadors, who were already eliminated from postseason play prior to tonight's match.
The Tritons made 16 errors and had just one ace from the service line.
The Matadors were paced by a match-high 17 kills from setter-turned-outside hitter Matt Stork. He also had two aces, seven digs and two blocks. Libero Kaleo Baxter led all players with 11 digs.
Both teams played a solid opening set as CSUN hit .342 and UCSD swung at .333. The set featured 12 tie scores but just one lead change. The Tritons held an early lead as four players had kills to help UCSD to a 4-3 edge. However, the Matadors scored the next three points to go up, 6-4, and they would not trail again. The Tritons stayed close and tied it several times, the last coming at 17-17 following a Veiga kill. An Eberts kill got UCSD within one point for the final time at 22-21.
The second set again saw both teams hit well as CSUN posted a .370 attack percentage, its highest of the night, and UCSD hit .333, matching its first set performance. Down 8-6, the Tritons scored three straight points on kills by Brady and Veiga and a triple block by Brady, Eberts and Veiga to go up, 9-6. After a Ross kill made the score 13-12 in favor of UCSD, the Matadors proceeded to reel off six unanswered points to take an 18-13 lead. The Tritons would get no closer than four points for the rest of the set.
The attack percentages fell for each team in the third set with UCSD at .103 and CSUN at .240. The Tritons jumped out to a 4-2 lead, backed partly by two Eberts kills. The lead didn't last long as Northridge scored three straight and went up 5-4, two points coming off a kill and an ace by Stork. UC San Diego tied the frame at 7-7 after a CSUN service error, but that would be the last time the frame was deadlocked.
It was the third loss against Northridge for UCSD this season. The Matadors won the other MPSF match, 3-1, in La Jolla and downed the Tritons, 3-1, at UC Santa Barbara's annual tournament back in January.
UC San Diego plays its final road match of the season at No. 5 Long Beach State on Saturday, Apr. 9 at 7 p.m.
- ucsdtritons.com -