April 10, 2012

Matadors Battle for Eighth and Final Playoff Spot This Week

MATCH #28 (MPSF Match #21):

No. 6 Pepperdine Waves (14-12, 9-11 MPSF) at No. 11 Northridge Matadors (11-16, 7-13 MPSF)

Thursday, Apr. 12, 2012 - 7:00 p.m. PDT
The Matadome (1,600) - Northridge, Calif.
Live Stats: GoMatadors.com
Streaming Video: GoMatadors.com
Audio: GoMatadors.com (Mark Schuermann)
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors


MATCH #29 (MPSF Match #22):

No. 1 USC Trojans (20-4, 16-4 MPSF) at No. 11 Northridge Matadors (11-16, 7-13 MPSF)

Saturday, Apr. 14, 2012 - 7:00 p.m. PDT
The Matadome (1,600) - Northridge, Calif.
Live Stats: GoMatadors.com
Streaming Video: GoMatadors.com
Audio: GoMatadors.com (Mark Schuermann)
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors

Weekly Match Notes (PDF)


FOR STARTERS

Cal State Northridge (11-16, 7-13 MPSF) returns home for its final two matches of the regular season this week as the 11th-ranked Matadors host No. 6 Pepperdine (14-12, 9-11) on Thursday and top-ranked USC (20-4, 16-4) on Saturday. A single Northridge win this week would clinch the eighth and final spot in the MPSF Tournament but the Matadors could still advance to the postseason with a pair of losses in the event that UC Santa Barbara and UC San Diego lose their remaining conference matches.

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

Several Matadors made key contributions down the stretch as 12th-ranked Cal State Northridge inched closer to an MPSF postseason berth with a hard-fought 22-25, 25-18, 26-24, 22-25, 15-13 win over No. 13 Pacific Friday night at the Spanos Center. Freshman Julius Hoefer led the Matadors with a match-high 26 kills (.373) coming within one kill of his career high. The opposite from Steingaden, Germany also 10 digs, four blocks and one ace recording the first double-double of his collegiate career. Brandon Lebrock added 15 kills in a subpar hitting night (.070) but came up with several kills at crucial times for the Matadors. Junior John Baker came off the bench to spell Hoefer at opposite and also came through with six clutch kills in 13 swings (.308). Danny Rodrick and Travis Magorien shared time at setter, recording a combined 55 assists while the Matadors hit .253. Charlie Condron also had a match-high 12 digs in the win.

MATADORS UP TO 11TH IN AVCA TOP-15 POLL

By splitting its final two regular season road matches last week, Cal State Northridge moved up one spot to 11th in this week's AVCA Coaches Top-15 Poll released Apr. 9. The Matadors earned 70 points in this week's poll, a nine-point improvement over last week. Northridge has now been ranked in all 15 polls this season and in 170 of the last 182 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 (20-4), which comes to The Matadome on Saturday, remained number one for the second straight week receiving 15 of 16 first-place votes and 239 total points. UC Irvine (20-5) remained second this week followed by UCLA (21-6), BYU (21-6) and Stanford (18-6). Pepperdine (14-12) is sixth this week followed by Penn State (20-3), Long Beach State (14-13), Lewis (21-6) and Ohio State (18-8). This week's top-15 is filled out by the Matadors (11-16), UC San Diego (8-18), Pacific (7-19), Loyola-Chicago (17-11) and Harvard (17-4).

THIS WEEK'S STORYLINES

Both Pepperdine and USC are safely in the postseason but will battle for tournament seeding this week while the Matadors look to sew up the final tournament slot. Northridge narrowly missed clinching a postseason berth last Saturday but fell in the fifth set at Stanford 19-17. Northridge looks to cap a solid home season this week as the Matadors come in with an 8-5 record in The Matadome. Pepperdine is just 3-6 on the road this season while USC is 7-3 in road matches. The Waves are paced by junior Maurice Torres who ranks third in the MPSF averaging 4.07 kpg. Pepperdine defeated the Matadors in four sets on Jan. 11 in Malibu. The Trojans, who have won 15 straight heading into a Thursday match at Long Beach State, are led by senior Tony Ciarelli who is averaging 3.99 kpg, which ranks fourth in the MPSF. USC swept the Matadors in straight sets (25-18, 25-16, 25-23) at the Galen Center on Jan. 13.     

MPSF PLAYOFF PICTURE

Entering the final week of the 2012 regular season, it's come down to three teams for one spot in the MPSF Tournament. With USC, BYU, UC Irvine, UCLA, Stanford, Pepperdine and Long Beach State already clinching the top seven tournament spots, the Matadors (7-13) can nail down the eighth and final tournament spot with one win against either Pepperdine or USC this week. Two Northridge losses potentially opens the door for either UC San Diego (6-15) or UC Santa Barbara (5-15) to claim the postseason berth. The Tritons would need to beat UC Irvine in their final conference match on Saturday and would need the Gauchos to win at Stanford and Pacific to force a three-way tie. UCSB needs two Northridge losses, a UCSD loss and two wins to reach the postseason. 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.     

LEBROCK ON THE ATTACK

Outside hitter Brandon Lebrock has piled up the swings in recent weeks. The sophomore from Northridge, who took a total of 441 attacks as a freshman in 2011, has taken a career-high 518 swings in 2012, 292 of those coming over the last nine matches. Lebrock, who now ranks second on the squad with 223 kills, is averaging a career-best 2.48 kpg this season. He put down a career-high 21 kills in a career-high 50 attacks (.320) in the Matadors' five-set loss at Stanford on Saturday and has now reached double figures in kills in seven of his last nine starts. Lebrock is also second on the Matadors in digs (91) and is tied for second in aces (16).   

SENIOR NIGHT VS. USC

Saturday's match against USC marks the final Matadome appearance for seniors Danny Rodrick and Matt Stork. Stork is a four-year letterwinner for the Matadors from 2009-12 while Rodrick has been in the Matador for two seasons after transferring from El Camino College prior to the 2011 season. Stork, who has been a part of 65 Matador wins over his four season, 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) in the Matadors' rally scoring era. Stork's 3,780 career assists places him fifth in school history (sideout and rally scoring). Rodrick has 840 assists over his two seasons and leads the team this year with 471.

NORTHRIDGE NOTES

Senior Danny Rodrick and true freshman Travis Magorien shared time at the setter spot on the recent four-match road trip with Magorien posting 115 assists to Rodrick's 59. Since taking over as the Matador setter on Feb. 22, Rodrick has led Northridge to a an even 7-7 mark in his 14 starts ... Top-ranked USC's visit to The Matadome on Saturday will mark the third time this season that the Matadors have hosted the No. 1 team in the AVCA Top-15. Northridge is 0-2 against number one squads this season having lost to UCLA (3-0) on Mar. 2 and UC Irvine (3-0) on Mar. 14. The Matadors have now lost their last five matches against top-ranked teams dating back to the 2011 season. The last Northridge win over a number one team came against Stanford in 2010 and the Matadors upset No. 1 Pepperdine in 2009 ... Two wins this week would give the Matadors double figure home wins for the fifth time in the last six years and eighth time in school history. From 2004-2010, Northridge averaged over 11 home wins per season including a school record setting 14-2 Matadome record in 2009 ... Conversely, the Matadors finished the regular season with a road record of 2-10, the second consecutive season Northridge won just a pair of road contests. The Matadors had not won fewer than four road matches over the last 10 years prior to 2011.

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 231-205 (.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.

- GO MATADORS -

Text-Only Website