January 5, 2012

12th-Ranked Matadors Open 2012 Season Against No. 3 UCLA Friday at UCSB/Asics Invitational

MATCHES #1-3 (UCSB/ASICS INVITATIONAL):

No. 12 Northridge Matadors (0-0) vs. No. 3 UCLA Bruins (0-0)

Friday, Jan. 6, 2012 - 10:00 a.m. PST
The Thunderdome - Santa Barbara, Calif.
Live Stats: none
Streaming Video: none
Audio: none
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors


No. 12 Northridge Matadors (0-0) vs. UCSB (0-0)/Ohio State (0-0)

Friday, Jan. 6, 2012 - 7:00 p.m. PST
The Thunderdome/Rob Gym - Santa Barbara, Calif.
Live Stats: none
Streaming Video: none
Audio: none
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors


No. 12 Northridge Matadors (0-0) vs. TBD

Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012 - TBA
Rob Gym - Santa Barbara, Calif.
Live Stats: ucsbgauchos.com
Streaming Video: none
Audio: none
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors


Weekly Match Notes (PDF)


FOR STARTERS

Cal State Northridge (0-0, 0-0 MPSF) opens up the 2012 season in a familiar place Friday as the 12th-ranked Matadors take on No. 3 UCLA at the UCSB/Asics Invitational. Matches will take place at both UCSB's Thunderdome and Rob Gym over the next two days. Northridge and UCLA will meet Friday at 10 a.m. on Court 3 of The Thunderdome and the Matadors will then meet either No. 14 UC Santa Barbara or No. 8 Ohio State in the evening session at 7 p.m. Northridge will have a single match on Saturday against an opponent to be determined by Friday's outcomes.

NORTHRIDGE ON THE NET

Follow Matador volleyball online at the official online home of Cal State Northridge athletics, www.GoMatadors.com. All Matador home matches and a majority of road matches will feature live stats via Gametracker. In addition, select home and road matches will be broadcast live with Mark Schuermann handling the play-by-play. Fans can also follow the Matadors at Twitter.com/gomatadors and YouTube.com/northridgeathletics. Fans can also view and print the Matadors 2012 Record Book online at GoMatadors.com. The guide features statistics and a complete men's volleyball history.

MATADORS TOP BRITISH COLUMBIA IN LONE EXHIBITION

Freshman Julius Hoefer pounded a match-high 18 kills and Cal State Northridge limited the University of British Columbia to an .014 hitting effort in an exhibition match Dec. 31. The Matadors swept the Thunderbirds 25-15, 25-15, 25-18 as Hoefer led Northridge with 18 kills while hitting .483 in 29 swings. The true freshman also added a pair of aces, four digs and five blocks. Senior Matt Stork added seven kills in 19 attacks (.263) and redshirt freshman Kyle Stevenson chipped in five kills and three blocks. In his first start as a Matador, Cal Baptist transfer Filip Tomicic registered 30 assists while leading Northridge to a .325 (40-13-83) hitting clip. The Matadors limited UBC to an .014 hitting percentage in 72 attacks. David Zeyha posted a team-high six kills for the Thunderbirds.

MATADORS RETURN TO AVCA TOP-15 POLL

Cal State Northridge opens the 2012 season in the exact same position the Matadors opened 2011, ranked 12th in the AVCA Coaches Top-15 Preseason Poll released Jan. 4. The Matadors, who fell out of the top-15 midway through the 2011 season, earned 78 points in this week's preseason poll. Northridge had been ranked in the AVCA Top-15 for 155 consecutive weeks prior to Feb. 7, 2011 when the Matadors began a stretch of 13-consecutive weeks without being ranked. BYU, which picked up 11 first-place votes, earned 247 total points and is the preseason top-ranked team in the country. UC Irvine (237 pts.) garnered three first-place votes for second-place followed by UCLA (199), Stanford (190) and USC (174). Long Beach State (158) is sixth in the preseason poll followed by Penn State (153), Ohio State (122), Pepperdine (104) and Loyola-Chicago (103). This week's top-15 is rounded out by Hawai'i (100), the Matadors (78), Lewis (61), UC Santa Barbara (53) and Pacific (28).

NORTHRIDGE IN THE UCSB/ASICS INVITATIONAL

Friday marks the Matadors' 10th straight appearance in UC Santa Barbara's annual tournament. Northridge comes into the 2012 Invitational having won two of the last three tournament championships. In years past the 46-year old tournament was called the UCSB/Elephant Bar Invitational but has been renamed the UCSB/Asics Invitational this year. Northridge has played in the tournament 14 times since 1996. The Matadors did not participate in either 2001 or 2002 and since 2003 the Invitational has been pared down from a 24-team field to its current eight-team format. Northridge won its first-ever tournament championship in 2009 after upsetting No. 2 UCLA (3-1) and defeating No. 14 UCSB (3-1) and No. 8 Stanford (3-1). The Matadors then won their second straight crown in 2010 topping UCSB (3-1), Cal Baptist (3-1) and BYU (3-1). Northridge has finished 2-1 in the tournament five times since 2003, most recently in 2008. Northridge also reached the championship match in 2004 and 2005, falling to UCLA each time. All-time, the Matadors are 37-25 (.597) in UC Santa Barbara's tournament.

RECAPPING LAST SEASON'S UCSB INVITATIONAL

Playing with virtually an entirely new starting lineup, the 12th-ranked Matadors struggled in their season-opener falling to 10th-ranked UC Santa Barbara, 25-16, 25-21, 25-17. Marty Lorenz led Northridge with eight kills while hitting .583. Brandon Lebrock added seven kills but hit just .059. Drew Staker and Tanner Nua each added five kills and a pair of blocks. Northridge was out-hit .526 (39-9-57) to .114 (27-19-70) as a team and had just six team digs and nine team blocks. Staker and Nua then combinedfor 28 kills as Northridge defeated UC San Diego 29-31, 25-23, 25-23, 25-18 in its second match. Staker knocked down a career-high 15 kills in 17 swings with just one error to hit .824. Nua came back with 13 kills in 27 swings to hit .333. The senior also had five digs, five blocks and one ace. Northridge also got nine kills apiece from Lebrock (.136) and Dillon Auxier (.185) while Lebrock added a match-high three aces and six digs. The Matadors then came away with a sixth-place finish after falling to No. 2 UC Irvine 25-17, 18-25, 25-20, 25-20 Saturday. Lebrock had the best match of his young career against the Anteaters with 12 kills in 23 swings (.391). 

STORK LOOKS FOR CONTINUED SUCCESS IN NEW ROLE

After making the move from setter to hitter midway through the 2011 season, senior Matt Stork continues to show that he is a standout all-around volleyball player. An All-MPSF setter in both 2009 and 2010, Stork is making a case to be considered one of the top outside hitters in the conference this season. Since moving to one of the Northridge starting outside hitter spots against Loyola on Mar. 9 of the 2011 season, Stork has averaged a team-high 4.51 kills per game while hitting .312. After Matador hitters reached double figures in kills 11 times in the first 18 matches last season, Stork reached the double figure mark eight times in 10 matches after the position change. No Northridge hitter had more than 15 kills in a match until Stork struck for 18 against Loyola. Since then he surpassed 20 kills on two occasions, including a career-high 24 at Pacific on Mar. 26.

POSTSEASON RUN ENDS AT NINE STRAIGHT

The Matadors run of consecutive postseason appearances ended at nine years after Northridge finished 5-17 and tied for 10th in the MPSF in 2011. After a five-year absence (1997-2001), Northridge made it back to the MPSF Tournament in 2002 and had qualified for the postseason each and every season from 2002-2010. 2002 was also the last season a Matador team failed to win more matches than they lost. The 13-16 record in 2002 capped a run of four-straight seasons that CSUN finished with a sub-.500 record. However, from 2003-2010, the Matadors won 162 matches, an average of just over 20 wins per season.

CAMPBELL APPROACHES 225 CAREER WINS

Having become Cal State Northridge men's volleyball's all-time winningest coach in 2010, Jeff Campbell is fast approaching his next milestone win which would be No. 225 of his 15-year Matador career. Campbell reached the 150 and 200 career wins over the last four seasons and heads into this season with 220 career victories. The 15th-year head coach has posted double figure win totals in 12 of his 14 previous seasons on the bench and notched a career-best 24 wins in 2009.

MATADORS GO EUROPEAN

The 2012 Northridge roster will have a distinct European flavor if a pair of newcomers provide the immediate impact many expect them to. Head coach Jeff Campbell added former German National team member Julius Höefer during the early signing period and later added Cal Baptist transfer Filip Tomicic. Höefer, a 6-9 freshman opposite, hails from Steingaden, Germany and prepped at the same school (Kempfenhausen) that produced former Hawai'i All-American Jonas Umlauft. He is expected to immediately step into the opposite spot vacated by four-year starter Tanner Nua. Tomicic, a 6-7 sophomore setter, comes to Northridge from Cal Baptist where he helped lead the Lancers to a 26-5 record and the NAIA National Championship in his one season (2011). The last European player to make an impact as a Matador was two-time AVCA All-American Jacek Ratajczak who prepped in New York after moving to the U.S. from Poland.

MATADOR MAKEOVER

The Matador volleyball roster has undergone a makeover from the end of the 2011 season. With five starters back from 2011, the team will not suffer through the same transition as the Matadors did last season but several newcomers are expected to impact the roster. Along with Höefer and Tomicic, returners Matt Stork, Drew Staker and Greg Faulkner figure to be fixtures in the starting lineup. Third-year sophomores Marty Lorenz and Charlie Condron along with true sophomores Brandon Lebrock and Cory Wagner all got significant playing time in 2011 with Lebrock starting 27 matches at outside hitter. Fourth-year juniors John Baker and Jared Moore also look to crack the starting lineup while senior Danny Rodrick started 10 matches at setter during his junior season. Redshirt freshman Kyle Stevenson (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.) and Hawai'i transfer Sina Aghassy (Winnetka, Calif.) also look to make an impact in their first season.

NORTHRIDGE NOTES

Senior Matt Stork enters his senior season with 3,766 career assists which ranks fifth in Northridge history. Stork is also just 15 aces and 170 digs away from the entering the top-10 in career service aces and digs ... Stork and Höefer both received votes on the inaugural Off The Block Preseason All-American Team. Stork tied for 27th with five points while Höefer tied for 33rd with two points ... Drew Staker enters the 2012 season with a .398 career hitting percentage which would be ninth-best in Matador history ... Greg Faulkner was the lone Northridge player to garner All-MPSF accolades in 2011.

UP NEXT

Following this weekend's UCSB/Asics Invitational, the Matadors open MPSF play with a pair of tough road matches beginning Wednesday (Jan. 11) at No. 9 Pepperdine. Northridge also travels to No. 5 USC on Friday (Jan. 13) before hosting No. 6 Long Beach State in their home opener on Jan. 20.

- GO MATADORS -

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