February 7, 2012

Matadors Host Pacific and Stanford in Key Two-Match Homestand

MATCH #10 (MPSF Match #6):

No. 15 Pacific Tigers (3-7, 1-4 MPSF) at No. 11 Northridge Matadors (3-6, 1-4 MPSF)

Friday, Feb. 10, 2012 - 7:00 p.m. PST
The Matadome (1,600) - Northridge, Calif.
Live Stats: Gametracker (GoMatadors.com)
Streaming Video: none
Audio: GoMatadors.com (Mark Schuermann, Alex Jones)
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors


MATCH #11 (MPSF Match #7):

No. 4 Stanford Cardinal (7-2, 4-1 MPSF) at No. 11 Northridge Matadors (3-6, 1-4 MPSF)

Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012 - 7:30 p.m. PST
The Matadome (1,600) - Northridge, Calif.
Live Stats: Gametracker (GoMatadors.com)
Streaming Video: none
Audio: GoMatadors.com (Mark Schuermann, Alex Jones)
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors

Weekly Match Notes (PDF)


FOR STARTERS

Cal State Northridge (3-6, 1-4 MPSF) returns home to host the No. 15 Pacific Tigers (3-7, 1-4 MPSF) and fourth-ranked Stanford Cardinal (7-2, 4-1 MPSF) in MPSF matches this week. The 11th-ranked Matadors, perfect in two home matches this season, host Pacific on Friday at 7 p.m. followed by a Saturday tilt with Stanford at 7:30 p.m. Saturday's match with Stanford will follow the Northridge women's basketball game against Long Beach State which begins at 4 p.m.

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 and Alex Jones providing analysis. 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

The 10th-ranked Cal State Northridge men's volleyball team dropped its fifth straight road match on Friday as the 11th-ranked Long Beach State 49ers swept the Matadors 25-16, 25-19, 25-20 at the Walter Pyramid. Northridge struggled offensively hitting .182 (28-16-66) as a team with freshman Julius Hoefer and senior Matt Stork each posting a team-high seven kills. Stork, who came off the bench for the first time this season, hit a solid .375 in 16 swings to go with a team-high four digs and one block. Junior Drew Staker also came off the bench to add six kills in eight attacks (.500). Filip Tomicic came off the bench to post 22 assists and one ace as the Matadors hit .240 in set two and a team-high .280 in set three. But Northridge had a tough time dealing with the Long Beach serving game as the 49ers racked up 10 aces in just three sets.

THIS WEEK'S STORYLINES

The 11th-ranked Matadors open up what could be a crucial early-season homestand with Pacific and Stanford visiting this weekend. At 1-4 in conference, Northridge needs to hold its own at home to keep themselves in the thick of the MPSF playoff race ... Pacific, which also comes into Friday's match at 1-4, snapped a string of seven straight losses in Northridge with a 25-16, 31-29, 25-20 victory over the Matadors last season. Despite dropping both matches to the Tigers last year, Northridge has won seven of the last nine matches between the two teams ... Taylor Hughes leads Pacific averaging 3.32 kpg while Florian Gornik adds 3.26 kpg for the Tigers who are hitting .269 as a team. Pacific has dropped five straight including two to No. 14 Hawai'i last weekend ... Stanford, which travels to Long Beach State on Friday, picked up a pair of road wins at top-ranked BYU last weekend to improve to 4-1 in conference. Brad Lawson and Brian Cook spearhead the Cardinal offense averaging 3.67 and 3.44 kpg respectively. Stanford is hitting .360 as a team, second-best in the MPSF.

NORTHRIDGE SLIPS TO 11TH IN AVCA TOP-15

After falling at No. 11 Long Beach State in its only match of the week, Cal State Northridge dropped one spot to 11th in this week's AVCA Coaches Top-15 Poll released Feb. 6. The Matadors earned 71 points in this week's poll, down 32 points from last week's 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 all six polls this season. UCLA (11-1) became the third top-ranked team this season as the Bruins earned 10 first-place votes and 233 points to take over the top spot. UC Irvine (7-2) remained second this week with 226 points (six first-place votes) followed by last week's number one, BYU (6-3). This week's top-five is rounded out by Stanford (7-2) and Penn State (6-1). USC (5-4) is sixth this week followed by Lewis (7-3), Ohio State (8-4), Long Beach State (5-4) and Pepperdine (6-4). This week's top-15 is filled out by the Matadors (3-6), Hawai'i (6-5), Loyola-Chicago (6-5), UC Santa Barbara (6-6) and Pacific (3-7).

MATADORS LOOK TO KEEP HOME RECORD INTACT

With their five-set win over Cal Baptist on Jan. 27, the Matadors stayed perfect in two home matches this season. Northridge has gone the distance in both home matches this season defeating Long Beach State on Jan. 20 and Cal Baptist on Jan. 27. In those two home wins, the Matadors are hitting a blistering .360 with 119 kills and 33 errors in 239 attacks. Conversely, Northridge is hitting just .180 in five road losses with 179 kills and 98 errors in 449 swings. In two neutral court matches, the Matadors are right smack in the middle, hitting .261.

NORTHRIDGE LAST IN THREE KEY MPSF CATEGORIES

Northridge has slipped to the bottom of the MPSF in three key statistical categories. The Matadors are last among the conference's 12 teams in kills per game (10.97 - Stanford leads at 14.12), assists per game (10.29 - BYU leads at 13.58) and digs per game (6.71 - USC leads at 9.13). The Matadors, who also rank 11th in opponent hitting (.299), rank among the top-eight in both blocks (2.18 bpg) and service aces (0.91 sapg).

MATADORS LOOK TO REGAIN DOMINANCE IN THE MIDDLE

The Matador middles, typically among the best in the MPSF, have struggled as a group thus far in 2012. With exception of junior Jared Moore, the middles have had trouble getting untracked after nine matches. Junior Drew Staker, a career .376 hitter, is hitting .271 though nine matches. Sophomore Marty Lorenz, who has played in just four matches due to injury, is hitting .100 this season after hitting .350 as a redshirt freshman in 2011. Greg Faulkner, a 2011 MPSF All-Freshman Team selection last season, continued where he left off last season hitting .382 but has missed the last four matches due to injury. After committing just one hitting error in his last five matches (.614 hitting over that span), Moore had his poorest outing of the season at Long Beach State where he hit .000 in six swings. Despite his rocky outing at Long Beach, the junior from Corona, Calif., still ranks fourth in the conference in hitting at .508. Part of the reason for the struggles in the middle according to head coach Jeff Campbell is the team has had to adjust to a pair of new setters this season in Filip Tomicic and Travis Magorien.

NORTHRIDGE NOTES

Senior Matt Stork made his first-ever appearance off the bench at Long Beach State. Stork, who has played the majority of his career at setter, had started all 99 of his previous matches before coming off the bench against the 49ers. Stork started 31 matches as a freshman in 2009, 33 in 2010, 28 in 2011 and the first seven of 2012 before entering in the second set on Friday. He was arguably the Matadors best player in the match, putting down seven kills while hitting .375 as the team hit just .182 ...    In a comparison of setters, Northridge is hitting .292 as a team in Filip Tomicic's five starts and .189 in Travis Magorien's four starts. The Matadors have been slow starters with both setters having dropped the opening set six times in nine matches. In those six matches, five of them losses, Northridge has been outscored 150-104, an average of 25-17 per match. 

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 the 225th of his 15-year Matador career. Campbell reached the 150 and 200 career wins over the last four seasons and after defeating Cal Baptist now has 223 career victories. The second-longest tenured head coach at Cal State Northridge (men's basketball head coach Bobby Braswell is in his 16th season) 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.

UP NEXT

Following this week's two-match homestand against Pacific and Stanford, the Matadors will play road matches at UC Santa Barbara (Feb. 15), UC Irvine (Feb. 22) and UC San Diego (Feb. 24) before opening up a season-long, nine-match homestand against UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 29.

- GO MATADORS -