Cal State Northridge was picked to finish sixth in the 2012 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Men's Volleyball Preseason Coaches Poll released Dec. 7. The Matadors, coming off a 7-22 season in 2011, return all but two starters as they seek a return to the upper echelon of the conference.
Northridge earned 68 points from the MPSF coaches to finish in a tie with Long Beach State for sixth-place in the poll. BYU earned six first-place votes and 115 points overall to edge UC Irvine as the conference favorite heading into the 2012 season. The Anteaters earned four first-place votes and 112 points for second followed by Stanford (92 points) and UCLA (90 points) which each earned one first-place vote.
"The way I look at polls is that they are interesting but you never know what the year is going to be like," said Matador head coach Jeff Campbell. "We don't put much weight in polls but we believe we'll be better than we were last year. We've got a little more experience this year so I do believe we'll be better as a team."
USC (72 points) was tabbed fifth followed by Long Beach State (68) and the Matadors (68), Pepperdine (62), Hawai'i (44), UC Santa Barbara (32), Pacific (26) and UC San Diego (11).
If the 2012 preseason poll holds true, the Matadors would earn a spot in the MPSF Tournament this season after missing the 2011 postseason, the first time since 2001 that Northridge failed to advance to the postseason tournament.
"In terms of where we're at, this league is so competitive that any team can beat any other team on any given night," added Campbell. "It's the best conference in the United States for men's volleyball and I'm sure it will be a dogfight against every single team we play this year."
Matt Stork, who enters the 2012 season as an outside hitter for the first time in his career, is one of just two seniors on the Matador roster. Other returning starters include junior middle Drew Staker, sophomore outside hitter Brandon Lebrock and sophomore middle Greg Faulkner, who was an MPSF All-Freshman Team selection in 2011.
The Matadors will play one final preseason exhibition against British Columbia on Dec. 31 at 2 p.m., before opening the 2012 season Jan. 6 against UCLA at the UCSB Asics Invitational in Santa Barbara.
2012 MPSF MEN'S VOLLEYBALL
PRESEASON COACHES POLL
1. BYU (6) 115 points
2. UC Irvine (4) 112
3. Stanford (1) 92
4. UCLA (1) 90
5. USC 72
6. Long Beach St. 68
6. Northridge 68
8. Pepperdine 62
9. Hawai'i 44
10. UCSB 32
11. Pacific 26
12. UC San Diego 11
() - First-place votes
- GO MATADORS -