Matadors Open MPSF Play on the Road at No. 10 Pepperdine, Sixth-Ranked USC

MATCH #4 (MPSF Match #1):

No. 11 Northridge Matadors (1-2, 0-0 MPSF) at No. 10 Pepperdine Waves (1-1, 0-0 MPSF)

Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012 - 7:00 p.m. PST
Firestone Fieldhouse - Malibu, Calif.
Live Stats: pepperdinesports.com
Streaming Video: none
Audio: GoMatadors.com (Mark Schuermann - PBP)
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors


MATCH #5 (MPSF Match #2):

No. 11 Northridge Matadors (1-2, 0-0 MPSF) at No. 6 USC Trojans (1-0, 0-0 MPSF)

Friday, Jan. 13, 2012 - 7:00 p.m. PST
Galen Center - Los Angeles, Calif.
Live Stats: usctrojans.com
Streaming Video: none
Audio: GoMatadors.com (Mark Schuermann - PBP)
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors

Weekly Match Notes (PDF)


FOR STARTERS

Cal State Northridge (1-2, 0-0 MPSF) opens the 2012 MPSF schedule this week as the 11th-ranked Matadors travel to 10th-ranked Pepperdine (1-1, 0-0 MPSF) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The conference-opening week continues Friday as Northridge heads to the Galen Center to take on sixth-ranked USC (1-0, 0-0 MPSF). The Matadors are coming off a 1-2 weekend at the UCSB Asics Invitational that saw the Matadors drop their first two matches (UCLA, UC Santa Barbara) before defeating Loyola-Chicago.

NORTHRIDGE ON THE NET

Follow Cal State 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.

TO RECAP

Following back-to-back tournament championships in 2009 and 2010, the Matadors finished 1-2 at the UCSB Asics Invitational for the second straight season. Northridge opened with a 25-19, 25-23, 24-26, 25-17 loss to third-ranked UCLA despite a match-high 15 kills from freshman Julius Höefer. The freshman opposite from Steingaden, Germany, hit .206 in 34 swings and also added two aces, six digs and six blocks (three solo). Senior Matt Stork added eight kills in 31 attacks but also committed eight hitting errors. Against UCSB in the evening match, the Matadors got a team-high 17 kills from Stork and 13 kills from Höefer but hit only slightly better against the Gauchos than they did against the Bruins. True freshman Travis Magorien made his collegiate debut and dished out 37 assists to go with five digs, three blocks and a pair of kills. Höefer also had a team-high six digs and four blocks (two solo). Northridge savaged the finale on Saturday as sophomores Cory Wagner and Brandon Lebrock combined for 19 kills in their first starts of the 2012 season as Northridge swept No. 10 Loyola-Chicago 25-16, 25-22, 25-19 for the Matadors first win of the season.

THIS WEEK'S STORYLINES

With the 2012 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation season getting underway this week, the Matadors travel to the same locales they opened the 2011 season. Northridge dropped its 2011 MPSF opener at top-ranked USC last January before knocking off the third-ranked Waves in five ... Pepperdine's Firestone Fieldhouse has not been the easiest place for the Matadors to win over the years as Northridge carries a 7-27 (.206) record on the Waves' home court into Wednesday's match. But since the 2009 season, when the Matadors snapped a 16-match losing streak to the Waves in Malibu, Northridge has won two of the last three at Pepperdine including a five-set win last season behind John Baker's team-high 15 kills ... The Matadors' seven-year dominance over USC ended last season when the Trojans took both regular season matches from Northridge. The Matadors had not lost to USC since the 2004 season, a span of 17 consecutive match wins.

WAGNER, LEBROCK STEP UP IN MATADOR WIN

A pair of sophomores, Cory Wagner and Brandon Lebrock, each earned his first start of the season at the outside hitter spot against Loyola and propelled the Matadors to their first win of the season. Wagner knocked down a career-high 10 kills while hitting .350 in 20 swings while Lebrock added nine kills while hitting a robust .429 in 14 attacks. Lebrock, who started 25 matches as a true freshman in 2011, brings a season of playing experience to another young roster while Wagner appeared in 18 matches as a freshman. The pair combined for 220 kills last season.

QUARTET OF PLAYERS MAKE MATADOR DEBUTS

A quartet of Matadors made their Northridge debut in the season-opening UCSB Asics Invitational. Against UCLA on Friday, redshirt freshman Kyle Stevenson, true freshman Julius Höefer and sophomore Filip Tomicic debuted with mixed results. Höefer had a team-high 15 kills, hitting .206, with six digs and six blocks while Tomicic dished out 36 assists but the Matadors hit just .188 as a team. Stevenson posted a total of six kills in two starts, hitting .111 against UCLA and .000 against UCSB. Höefer came back with 13 kills against UC Santa Barbara before sitting out the Loyola-Chicago match while Tomicic did not play against the Gauchos but came back to hand out 26 assists while leading the Matadors to a season-high .362 team hitting clip against Loyola. Another true freshman, Travis Magorien made his Northridge debut against UCSB and dished out 37 assists to go with a pair of kills, five digs and three blocks.

MATADORS IN MPSF OPENERS

Northridge carries a 16-19 (.457) record in MPSF openers into Wednesday's match at Pepperdine. Northridge has now opened MPSF play on the road five times in the last six seasons including a straight-set loss at top-ranked USC last season. The Matadors had won four straight conference openers (Stanford in 2007, USC in 2008, UCLA in 2009, UC San Diego in 2010) before falling to the Trojans last season. Northridge saw its overall record in season openers dip to 22-13 (.629) with Friday's 3-1 loss to UCLA. The loss was also the Matadors' second straight in season openers after falling to UC Santa Barbara in 2011's opener. The only other time in the last 11 years that Northridge lost a season-opener was 2008 when the Matadors lost a four-set decision to Stanford at UCSB's annual tournament.

MATADORS MOVE UP TO 11TH IN AVCA TOP-15 POLL

After finishing 1-2 against three teams ranked in the preseason AVCA Top-15, Cal State Northridge moved up one spot to 11th in this week's AVCA Coaches Top-15 Poll released Jan. 9th. The Matadors, who ranked as high as 11th during the 2011 season, earned 68 points in this week's poll, down 10 points from last week's preseason poll. Northridge, which had been ranked in the AVCA Top-15 for 155 consecutive weeks prior to Feb. 7, 2011, have now been ranked in both polls this season. UC Irvine, which took home the tournament championship at UC Santa Barbara last weekend, earned 12 of 16 first-place votes and 235 points and is the top-ranked team in the nation this week. The Anteaters overtook preseason No. 1 BYU which dropped to second with three first-place votes and 218 points. UCLA (209) received the other first-place vote and is third this week followed by Stanford (179) and Long Beach State (168). USC (151) is sixth this week followed by Penn State (140), Ohio State (129), Lewis (108) and Pepperdine (104). This week's top-15 is rounded out by the Matadors (68), UC Santa Barbara (60), Hawai'i (56), Loyola-Chicago (44) and Pacific (30).

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 after defeating Loyola-Chicago now has 221 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.

NORTHRIDGE NOTES

By sweeping No. 10 Loyola-Chicago on Saturday, the Matadors avoided the program's first-ever 0-3 start. Northridge has opened a season 1-2 12 times in its 35-year history, most recently in 2010 when the Matadors lost to UC Santa Barbara and UC Irvine sandwiched around a win over UC San Diego ... Sophomore libero Charlie Condron recorded a career-high 12 digs in the season opener against UCLA on Friday, the most by a Matador libero since Kaleo Baxter had 19 in a five-set loss at second-ranked Stanford last March 25th. Condron completed the weekend's three matches with a team-high 21 digs (1.91 digs per game) after posting a total of 15 digs in 16 games as a freshman in 2011 ... After three matches, Northridge is hitting .234 as a team while its three opponents have combined to hit .291. The Matadors are averaging 11.00 kills per game as a team compared to 13.36 for the opposition.

UP NEXT

Following this week's road matches at Pepperdine and USC, the Matadors host fifth-ranked Long Beach State in their home opener Saturday, Jan. 20. The match opens a stretch where Northridge plays four of its next six matches at home.

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