NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - After a year and a half of piecing together a program from scratch, the Cal Lutheran men's volleyball program stepped on the court as an official team for the first time tonight. On an evening when head coach Kevin Judd returned to his alma mater, his Kingsmen were tasked with facing off against Division I No. 12 Cal State Northridge, falling 3-0 (25-17, 25-23, 25-13) in their Inaugural NCAA match.
Offensive Highlights: The first kill of the year came from Kristian Gallardo on an assist from Keaton Arutian who also served up the first ball of the night and season for CLU. Hunter Horn and Nicholas Oertli led the way with 6.5 points apiece with six and four kills, respectively. Oertli paced the offense with a .300 hitting percentage tonight. Gallardo added three and Mikey Esper tallied two. Arutian and Nick Shoemate both handed out six assists in the match. Four different Kingsmen earned a service ace.
Defensive Highlights: The Kingsmen teamed up for 23 digs and 4.0 total blocks. Arutian and Robert Rutecki paced the defense with four digs apiece and Rutecki added a pair of blocks to match teammate Oertli, who had the only solo stop of the night, for the team lead.
The Opponent: Northridge (7-0) is off to the hottest start in program history and remained undefeated with the win tonight. Arvis Greene led all players with 12 kills, Emerson Waumans recorded 15 assists and Nick Alegrado notched five digs.
Notables: The opening day starting lineup was Arutian, Gallardo, Oertli, Horn, Esper and Nolan Forghani with Jordan Castro serving as the libero. Also making his debut tonight was Michael Campbell.
Next Up: Cal Lutheran (0-1) will don the Violet and Gold at home for the first time on Friday, Jan. 22 on the first day of the Inaugural Posada Royale Invitational. CLU serves up against No. 9 New York University at 6:00 p.m. in the Gilbert Arena.