Homestand Wraps With Two-Match Series vs. No. 12 Hawai'i

MATCH #22 (MPSF Match #15):

No. 12 Hawai'i Warriors (7-14, 4-12 MPSF) at No. 14 Northridge Matadors (8-13, 4-10 MPSF)

Friday, Mar. 23, 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 #23 (MPSF Match #16):

No. 12 Hawai'i Warriors (7-14, 4-12 MPSF) at No. 14 Northridge Matadors (8-13, 4-10 MPSF)

Saturday, Mar. 24, 2012 - 7:00 p.m. PST
The Matadome (1,600) - Northridge, Calif.
Live Stats: Gametracker (GoMatadors.com)
Streaming Video: ESPN3
Audio: none
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors

Weekly Match Notes (PDF)


FOR STARTERS

Cal State Northridge (8-13, 4-10 MPSF) concludes its season-long, nine-match homestand this weekend as the 14th-ranked Matadors host No. 12 Hawai'i (7-14, 4-12 MPSF) in a key two-match series Friday and Saturday. Both matches are scheduled for a 7 p.m. first serve. Saturday's match will be streamed live on ESPN3 with Justin Alderson and Denny Lennon at call. The current homestand began with the Matadors winning three of their first four matches but Northridge has since dropped three straight and hopes to get back in the win column beginning Friday.

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

Cal State Northridge took its second crack at a top-ranked team on its home floor and despite playing well, No. 1 UC Irvine swept the 13th-ranked Matadors, 27-25, 25-14, 25-23 last Wednesday. Sophomore Brandon Lebrock continued his solid hitting of late as he put down a team-high 12 kills while hitting .360 in 25 swings. Freshman Julius Hoefer came off the bench to add nine kills (.353) and had both of Northridge's aces. On Friday, 15th-ranked UC San Diego topped the Matadors 19-25, 30-28, 25-18, 25-21 ending a 40-match losing streak. Northridge won the first set handily 25-19 while hitting an impressive .500 as a team. But from that point on it was all Tritons as UCSD (6-16, 4-13 MPSF) eeked out a 30-28 win in set two and then won the final two sets going away 25-18, 25-21.

MATADORS SLIP TO 14TH IN AVCA TOP-15 POLL

In the midst of a three-match skid, Cal State Northridge dropped one spot to 14th in this week's AVCA Coaches Top-15 Poll released Mar. 19. The Matadors earned a season-low 30 points in this week's poll after falling to No. 1 UC Irvine and No. 15 UC San Diego last week. Northridge has now been ranked in all 12 polls this season and in 167 of the last 179 polls dating back to 2002. The Matadors last were unranked for a period of 12 weeks (Feb. 7-May 2) during the 2011 season. UC Irvine (18-3) remained in the top spot this week as the Anteaters earned all 16 first-place votes and 240 total points. USC (15-4) moved up to second this week followed by UCLA (19-4), BYU (17-4) and Stanford (14-5). Lewis (18-4) is sixth this week followed by Pepperdine (11-10), Penn State (14-3), Long Beach State (10-11) and Ohio State (13-7). This week's top-15 is filled out by Pacific (6-14), Hawaii (7-14), UC San Diego (6-16), the Matadors (8-13) and UC Santa Barbara (5-15).

THIS WEEK'S STORYLINES

The Matadors and Warriors meet this weekend in what is a crucial two-match set for both squads. Northridge, which opened the homestand with three wins in four matches, has since dropped three straight and heads into Friday's series opener on its longest losing streak of the season. Hawai'i has also struggled of late dropping five of its last six matches, all against teams ranked among the top-four in the polls. The Warriors are 3-5 in road matches this season while the Matadors are 6-5 on their home court this year and 3-4 on the current nine-match homestand. Senior OH Steven Hunt leads Hawai'i on offense averaging 4.19 kpg which ranks second in the MPSF. Northridge hopes to have senior OH Matt Stork back this weekend after missing the last two matches nursing an injury. Stork leads the Matadors averaging 2.87 while freshman OPP Julius Hoefer adds 2.81 kpg.

MPSF PLAYOFF PICTURE

Entering the homestretch of the 2012 regular season, the battle for the final three spots in the MPSF Tournament has become a seven-team race. Pepperdine (7-9) has a solid hold on sixth-place with a 1.5-game lead over Long Beach State (5-9). The Matadors  (4-10) currently sit in eighth-place in the MPSF and would need to hang on to at least that spot in order to qualify for the MPSF Tournament in late April. Northridge carries a one-half game lead over Pacific (4-11), a one-game lead over Hawaii (4-12), a 1.5-game lead over UC San Diego (4-13) and a two-game lead over UC Santa Barbara (3-13) heading into this week's matches. The Matadors have eight conference matches remaining (four home, four away) while Pacific has seven matches remaining (four home, three road) and will host the Matadors on Apr. 6. Hawaii has six matches remaining (two home, four road), UC San Diego has five matches remaining (three home, two road) while UC Santa Barbara has six regular season matches left (two home, four road).

ALL STREAKS MUST END

The last time Cal State Northridge lost a men's volleyball match to UC San Diego, Ronald Reagan was the President, the Los Angeles Dodgers won their last World Series championship, Rain Man won the Academy Award for Best Picture and George Michael was at the top of the Billboard music charts. Since 1988, the Matadors had defeated the Tritons 40 consecutive times and had dropped a total of 15 sets to UCSD, while winning 120, over that stretch. The fact that Northridge carried a .915 (65-6) all-time winning percentage over the Tritons into Friday's match had little bearing as UCSD won in Northridge for the first time 1986. The loss was also Jeff Campbell's first-ever loss to UCSD in 27 career meetings.

LEBROCK PICKS UP THE OFFENSIVE LOAD

With senior Matt Stork on the sidelines for both matches last week, sophomore Brandon Lebrock shouldered much of the offensive load for the Matadors. After hitting .360 in 25 swings with 12 kills against top-ranked UC Irvine, Lebrock was set a career-high 46 times two nights later against UC San Diego. The outside from Northridge responded with a career-high 18 kills but committed nine errors to hit just .196. Lebrock took 23 swings in set two alone against the Tritons while also digging seven balls in the loss. For the season, Lebrock is averaging 2.18 kpg while hitting .259 which is the best among the Matador outsides.

NORTHRIDGE NOTES

A potential Stork brothers on-court reunion fizzled last Wednesday as the Matadors hosted UC Irvine. With both Matt (Matador OH) and Daniel (Anteater setter) sidelined by injuries, a potentially final battle between siblings came and went. UC Irvine got the better of the matchup over the last year and a half, winning all five matches since Daniel enrolled at UCI in 2011 ... Libero Charlie Condron moved up to fifth in the MPSF in digs per game at 2.22. However in conference-only matches, Condron leads the MPSF averaging 2.46 digs per game ... the Matadors have yet to win a four-set match this season, falling to 0-6 with Friday's 3-1 loss to UC San Diego ... In 44 career starts, junior Drew Staker has been held without a kill three times following Friday's 0-1-11 (-.091) hitting effort against UCSD ... Northridge's current three-match skid matches its longest of the season. The Matadors also fell to Stanford, UC Santa Barbara and UC Irvine in succession from Feb. 15-24.

CAMPBELL PICKS UP 225TH CAREER WIN

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. Northridge's 3-0 win at UC San Diego on Feb. 24 gave the Matador boss his 225th career victory. Campbell, who now has a career record of 228-202 (.530), 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 a pair of matches against Hawai'i this week, the Matadors will head back out on the road for their next four matches (BYU, Pacific, Stanford) before returning home to wrap up the regular season against Pepperdine and USC (Apr. 12-14).

- GO MATADORS -