April 4, 2012

Matadors Postseason Quest Continues This Week at Pacific and Stanford

MATCH #26 (MPSF Match #19):

No. 12 Northridge Matadors (10-15, 6-12 MPSF) at No. 13 Pacific Tigers (7-17, 4-14 MPSF)

Friday, Apr. 6, 2012 - 7:00 p.m. PDT
Alex Spanos Center (6,150) - Stockton, Calif.
Live Stats: GoMatadors.com
Streaming Video: PacificTigers.com
Audio: PacificTigers.com
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors


MATCH #27 (MPSF Match #20):

No. 12 Northridge Matadors (10-15, 6-12 MPSF) at No. 5 Stanford Cardinal (16-6, 13-5 MPSF)

Saturday, Apr. 7, 2012 - 7:00 p.m. PDT
Maples Pavilion (7,223) - Stanford, Calif.
Live Stats: Gametracker
Streaming Video: GoStanford.com
Audio: none
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors

Weekly Match Notes (PDF)


FOR STARTERS

Cal State Northridge (10-15, 6-12 MPSF) will leave town Thursday for its final road trip of the regular season as the 12th-ranked Matadors head to Northern California for pair of crucial MPSF matches. Northridge, clinging to eighth in the MPSF Tournament chase, plays at No. 13 Pacific (7-17, 4-14 MPSF) on Friday and at No. 5 Stanford (16-6, 13-5 MPSF) on Saturday. A pair of Matador wins this week would go a long way to ensuring a postseason berth before Northridge returns home next week to host USC and Pepperdine to wrap up the regular 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

Cal State Northridge got off to an impressive start Friday at No. 4 BYU, but the 12th-ranked Matadors couldn't sustain the momentum dropping the final three sets (23-25, 25-18, 25-19, 25-18) in an MPSF match at Smith Fieldhouse. After dropping Thursday's match in straight sets, Northridge (10-15, 6-12 MPSF) was hoping to gain a split in the two-match set with the Cougars on Friday. The Matadors got off to a great start in set one hitting .259 but more importantly limiting a potent BYU offense to a .172 clip. Matt Stork, who made his first start at outside hitter since Mar. 10, led the Matadors with 14 kills (.231). Jared Moore (.500) and Hoefer (.250) each added eight kills while Brandon Lebrock (.278) and John Baker (.000) each chipped in seven kills.

MATADORS REMAIN 12TH IN AVCA TOP-15 POLL

Despite dropping back-to-back matches at fourth-ranked BYU last week, Cal State Northridge remained 12th in this week's AVCA Coaches Top-15 Poll released Apr. 2. The Matadors earned 61 points in this week's poll, down 14 points after earning 75 last week. Northridge has now been ranked in all 14 polls this season and in 169 of the last 181 weekly polls dating back to 2002. The Matadors last were unranked for a period of 12 weeks (Feb. 7-May 2) during the 2011 season. USC (18-4) became the fifth team to top the poll this season when the Trojans received 10 first-place votes and 258 total points. UC Irvine (19-4) dropped to second this week followed by UCLA (20-5), BYU (20-5) and Stanford (15-6). Pepperdine (13-11) is sixth this week followed by Penn State (18-3), Long Beach State (13-12), Lewis (19-6) and Ohio State (16-8). This week's top-15 is filled out by UC San Diego (8-16), the Matadors (10-15), Pacific (7-16), Hawaii (7-18) and Loyola-Chicago (16-11).

THIS WEEK'S STORYLINES

The Matadors come into their final two regular season road matches hoping to do something they've done just once all season, win on the road. Northridge has one road win this season (Feb. 24 at UC San Diego) and one neutral site win (Jan. 7 vs. Loyola at UCSB) to its credit. Pacific is 4-7 at home this season while Stanford is 6-3 at Maples Pavilion after topping the Tigers in straight sets on Tuesday. After completing a nine-match homestand with a pair of wins over No. 12 Hawaii, the Matadors dropped a pair at fourth-ranked BYU last week. Northridge has had success at both Pacific and Stanford taking three of the last four in Stockton and two of the last five in Palo Alto.

MPSF PLAYOFF PICTURE

Entering the final two weeks of the 2012 regular season, the battle for the final three spots in the MPSF Tournament is down to a five-team race. With UC Irvine, UCLA, BYU, USC and Stanford already clinching tournament spots, Pepperdine (8-10) and Long Beach State (8-10) both look certain to reach the postseason, holding a two-game lead over the Matadors (6-10). Northridge, currently holding the eighth and final tournament spot, has a half-game lead over surging UC San Diego (6-13) for the final playoff spot with Pacific (4-14) two games back. The Matadors (two home, two away),   and Pacific (four home) each have four conference matches remaining while UC San Diego has three left (one home, two road). Northridge looks to qualify for the postseason after missing the 2011 MPSF Tournament, the first time in 10 years the Matadors failed to reach the postseason.

THE TWO-HEADED OPPOSITE

The Matadors have employed both a left-handed and right-handed attack from the opposite spot in 2012. True freshman Julius Hoefer has made 15 starts while junior John Baker has picked up the other 10 starts. The two have combined for 348 kills (2.76 kpg) while Baker is hitting .263 and Hoefer .236. Hoefer, last week's MPSF Player of the Week, had a rough two matches in Provo last week putting down 12 kills in the two matches after pounding Hawaii for 46 kills in a pair of matches the previous week. In the opener against BYU, Hoefer found himself hitting negative for just the second time this season with four kills and seven errors in 14 swings before Baker came off the bench to put down six kills while leading the Matadors in hitting (.357). Northridge is 6-9 this season when Hofer is in the starting lineup and 4-6 when Baker starts.

CAREER RECORDS WATCH

Senior Matt Stork continues his way up the Northridge career record books. In the Matadors' Rally Scoring Era (2001-present), Stork now ranks fourth in career assists (3,780), fifth in aces (96), sixth in digs (533), eighth in block assists (202) and ninth in total blocks (228). Stork's 3,780 career assists places him fifth in school history (sideout and rally scoring). Junior Drew Staker is within 32 blocks of entering the career top-10 in total blocks and 18 from the block assists top-10. 

NORTHRIDGE NOTES

Libero Charlie Condron picked up his third kill of the season against BYU when his dig found the floor on the Cougars' side of the net. Condron now has two kills in his last four matches after also getting a ball to fall against Hawaii on Mar. 23. For the season, Condron leads the Matadors with 137 digs and a 2.21 digs per game average which ranks sixth in the MPSF ... Sophomore Brandon Lebrock is hitting .259 this season which is nearly 100 points higher than the .161 he hit as a freshman. After taking 191 swings over the first 16 matches of the season, Lebrock has taken 234 swings over the last nine matches, hitting .278 over that span ... With the Matadors unexpected lack of depth in the middle, junior middle Jared Moore has seen his team-leading hitting percentage dip to .394. Moore, who was hitting an MPSF-best .557 in mid-February, has committed 13 of his 30 hitting errors this season in the last seven matches.

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 230-204 (.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 13 of his 15 seasons on the bench and notched a career-best 24 wins in 2009.

UP NEXT

Following this week's matches which cap the regular season road schedule, the Matadors will return home to wrap up the 2012 regular season against Pepperdine and USC (Apr. 12-14).

- GO MATADORS -

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