February 28, 2012

Nine-Match Homestand Opens Wednesday Against No. 11 UC Santa Barbara

MATCH #15 (MPSF Match #11):

No. 11 UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (5-9, 3-7 MPSF) at No. 14 Northridge Matadors (5-9, 3-7 MPSF)

Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012 - 7:00 p.m. PST
The Matadome (1,600) - Northridge, Calif.
Live Stats: Gametracker (GoMatadors.com)
Streaming Video: none
Audio: none
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors


MATCH #16 (MPSF Match #12):

No. 1 UCLA Bruins (15-2, 9-1 MPSF) at No. 14 Northridge Matadors (5-9, 3-7 MPSF)

Friday, Mar. 2, 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

Weekly Match Notes (PDF)


FOR STARTERS

Cal State Northridge (5-9, 3-7 MPSF) opens up a season-long, nine-match homestand on Wednesday as the 14th-ranked Matadors host No. 11 UC Santa Barbara (5-9, 3-7 MPSF) at 7 p.m. The homestand continues Friday as Northridge hosts the top-ranked UCLA Bruins (15-2, 9-1 MPSF) also at 7 p.m. The Matadors split a pair of road contests last week falling at No. 4 UC Irvine in three before sweeping UC San Diego for its initial road win of the 2012 season.

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 15th-ranked Cal State Northridge men's volleyball team picked up its first road win of the 2012 season on Friday as the Matadors swept UC San Diego 25-18, 25-14, 28-26 in an MPSF match Friday at RIMAC Arena. Northridge snapped a three-match losing streak while also keeping its dominance over the Tritons intact. The Matadors still have not dropped a match to UC San Diego since 1988, a span of 40 consecutive Northridge wins. Junior John Baker, starting at opposite in place of an injured Julius Hoefer, led the Matadors with a match-high 11 kills while hitting .500 in 20 attacks. Baker also added four block assists while Brandon Lebrock chipped in eight kills (.467) six digs and a pair of blocks while Matt Stork also notched seven kills (.333), two aces and six digs.

MATADORS REGAIN ONE SPOT TO 14TH IN AVCA POLL

After splitting matches at No. 4 UC Irvine and UC San Diego last week, Cal State Northridge regained one spot to 14th in this week's AVCA Coaches Top-15 Poll released Feb. 27. Despite a straight set sweep at UCSD, the Matadors earned a season-low 39 points in this week's poll, down four 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, has now been ranked in all nine polls this season.  UCLA (15-2), Northridge's Friday opponent, reclaimed the top spot in this week's poll garnering 14 first place votes and 268 points. Stanford (12-3) slipped to second followed by UC Irvine (12-3), USC (9-4) and BYU (10-3). Penn State (12-1) is sixth this week followed by Lewis (12-3), Long Beach State (8-7), Ohio State (11-4) and Pepperdine (7-5). This week's top-15 is filled out by UC Santa Barbara (5-9), Pacific (5-11), Hawai'i (6-9), the Matadors (5-9) and Loyola-Chicago (8-8).

THIS WEEK'S STORYLINES

Following their first road triumph of the season at UC San Diego, the Matadors look for continued home success as well as gain ground in the MPSF beginning on Wednesday vs. UC Santa Barbara. Northridge has won three of its four home matches this season while the Gauchos are 2-4 on the road. UCSB has defeated Northridge twice this season (Jan. 6, Feb. 15) with both coming on its home court. The Matadors and Gauchos are tied at 3-7 in the MPSF standings making Wednesday's match crucial for both teams. Northridge trails 47-36 in the all-time series with UCSB but the Matadors are 17-15 against the Gauchos in The Matadome ... The Matadors have also struggled against UCLA this season, dropping a 3-1 decision in the season opener at the UCSB Asics Invitational and falling in straight sets at the Wooden Center on Jan. 25.

MATADORS AGAINST NUMBER ONE

The Matadors will get their first opportunity this season to knock off a top-ranked team in UCLA on Friday. Northridge has lost its last three matches against top-ranked squads losing to USC twice in 2011. Prior to that, the Matadors had won two of their last three over number ones defeating Stanford in 2010 and Pepperdine in 2009.  UCLA will be the first number one team to visit The Matadome this season. Northridge is 4-22 in matches against teams ranked number one in the AVCA Top-15 poll dating back to the 2000 season. Prior to defeating Stanford in 2010, the Matadors had hosted four top-ranked teams since 2005, falling twice to UC Irvine (2006, 2007), once to UCLA (2005) and once to USC (2011).

BAKER, RODRICK ENTER THE STARTING LINEUP

The Matador starting lineup, which has been in a state of flux virtually the entire season, received another makeover last week when senior Danny Rodrick and junior John Baker started at UC Irvine and UC San Diego. Rodrick became the third setter to run the Matador offense this season and averaged 10.67 assists in leading Northridge to a 1-1 week. Rodrick took over at setter when Matt Stork was switched to outside hitter midway through the 2011 season and averaged 10.49 assists per game over the final 11 matches of the season. Baker started in place of an injured Julius Hoefer at opposite and responded with season-highs of 11 kills and .500 hitting at UC San Diego. In his three starts this season, Baker is averaging 2.67 kpg while hitting .291.

NORTHRIDGE SNAPS ROAD SKID

Friday's 3-0 win at UC San Diego snapped a 13-match road losing streak for the Matadors dating back to the 2011 season. La Jolla was also the site of Northridge's last road win when the Matadors topped the Tritons on Feb. 19, 2011. UC San Diego was the first non-ranked team Northridge has met in eight road matches this season where the Matadors are now 1-7. Northridge, which has four regular season road matches remaining (BYU, Stanford, Pacific) is now 3-9 against ranked teams this season.

NORTHRIDGE NOTES

This week's matches mark the beginning of the second half of MPSF play. The Matadors are currently tied for eighth-place with both Hawai'i and UC Santa Barbara for the much-coveted eighth and final spot in the MPSF Tournament in late April. BYU and Hawai'i are the only two teams Northridge has not played yet as the Matadors will host the Warriors at the end of the current homestand (Mar. 23-24) before traveling to Provo, Utah the following week (Mar. 29-30) ... The Matadors entered the top-10 in the nation in team blocking averaging 2.50 blocks per game ... Drew Staker and Brandon Lebrock both had two solid hitting matches last week as Staker had 14 kills in 23 swings with just to errors to hit .521 while Lebrock had 15 kills in 25 attacks also with just two errors to hit .520. Jared Moore, who led the MPSF in hitting entering the week, wasn't quite as fortunate as he saw his hitting percentage drop from .526 to .464. Moore hit .267 in 15 attempts at UC Irvine and was then stymied with five kills and three errors in 12 swings at UC San Diego.

CAMPBELL PICKS UP CAREER WIN #225

Having become Cal State Northridge men's volleyball's all-time winningest coach in 2010, Jeff Campbell picked up the latest milestone win of his 15-year Matador career. Friday's 3-0 win at UC San Diego gave the Northridge boss his 225th career victory against 198 losses, a winning percentage of .532. Campbell reached the 150 and 200 career wins over the last four seasons and now sets his sights on his 250th career win. Currently, the third-longest tenured head coach at Cal State Northridge (men's golf coach Jim Bracken is in his 26th season & men's basketball head coach Bobby Braswell is in his 16th season) Campbell 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 MPSF matches against UC Santa Barbara and UCLA this week, the Matadors will take a three-match non-conference break. Ball State, Loyola-Chicago and Harvard will come to the west coast for matches from Mar. 7-10.

- GO MATADORS -

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