Matadors Remain on the Postseason Bubble, Play at UC Irvine and Long Beach State This Week
MATCH #25 (MPSF #23):
No. 10 Cal State Northridge Matadors (11-13, 9-13 MPSF) at No. 4 UC Irvine Anteaters (20-6, 17-6 MPSF)
Wednesday, Apr. 10, 2013 - 7:00 p.m. PDT
Bren Center (5,000) - Irvine, CA
Live Stats: ucirvinesports.com
Streaming Video: none
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors
MATCH #26 (MPSF #24):
No. 10 Cal State Northridge Matadors (11-13, 9-13 MPSF) at No. 2 Long Beach State 49ers (21-7, 17-6 MPSF)
Saturday, Apr. 13, 2013 - 7:00 p.m. PDT
Walter Pyramid (4,200) - Long Beach, CA
Live Stats: longbeachstate.com
Streaming Video: none
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors
The six-match road trip to close the regular season has reached a critical point for Cal State Northridge (11-13, 9-13 MPSF) as the Matadors continue to fight for their playoff lives. With road matches at No. 4 UC Irvine (20-6, 17-6 MPSF) and No. 2 Long Beach State (21-7, 17-6 MPSF) looming this week, the Matadors still need either one win or one Hawai'i loss to clinch a postseason berth. CSUN, which opened their final road trip with a dominating win over No. 6 Stanford on Mar. 29, has dropped its last three matches the latest a straight set loss at unranked USC on Saturday.
NORTHRIDGE ON THE NET
Follow Cal State Matador volleyball online at the official online home of Cal State Northridge athletics, www.GoMatadors.com. Select matches will feature an audio broadcast with Mark Scheurmann handling the play-by-play. Home matches will also be streamed live at GoMatadors.com. Fans can also follow the Matadors at Twitter.com/gomatadors and YouTube.com/northridgeathletics. Fans can view and print the Matadors 2013 Record Book online at GoMatadors.com. The guide features statistics and a complete men's volleyball history.
MATADORS REMAIN 10TH IN AVCA TOP-15 POLL
Despite a pair of road losses last week, Cal State Northridge remained 10th in this week's AVCA Coaches Top-15 poll. The Matadors earned 91 points this week which is a four-point decrease over last week and the lowest point total awarded the Matadors since earning 79 on Feb. 4. Cal State Northridge has now been ranked in all 15 polls this season and 186 of the last 198 weekly polls dating back to the 2002 season. The last time the Matadors were unranked was a period of 12 weeks (Feb. 7-May 2) during the 2011 season. BYU (19-3) remained in the top spot for the sixth straight week as the Cougars received 14 of 16 first-place votes and 268 total points. Long Beach State (21-7) remained second this week, earning two first-place votes, while UCLA (18-10) remained third. UC Irvine (20-6) is fourth and Cal Baptist (16-12) rounds out this week's top-five. Pepperdine (13-10) is sixth this week followed by UC Santa Barbara (14-14), Stanford (14-11), Lewis (19-7) and the Matadors (11-13). This week's top-15 is filled out by Loyola-Chicago (18-8), Ohio State (17-7), Penn State (18-6), Hawaii (9-16) and Ball State (18-5) ... CSUN dropped out of the Volleyball Magazine Top-10 Poll but were listed among three teams receiving votes. CSUN, which was a season-high sixth four weeks ago, has now been ranked in 11 of the 14 Volleyball Magazine polls this season.
Fourth-ranked UC Irvine (20-6, 17-6 MPSF) has won three straight matches heading into Wednesday's match at the Bren Center. The Anteaters, 9-3 at home this season, swept both No. 8 Stanford and Pacific last week. Kevin Tillie, who had a combined 26 kills in the two wins, leads UCI averaging 3.87 kills per game. Tillie ranks seventh among the conference hitters in kills per game while Jeremy Dejno adds 2.97 kpg. As a team, the Anteaters are hitting .308, third-best in the MPSF while middle Scott Kevorken leads the conference at .506. Wednesday's match is the 58th meeting all-time between the Matadors and UCI with CSUN holding a 33-24 edge in the series. The Anteaters defeated the Matadors in four sets in Northridge on Jan. 23 ... Long Beach State (21-7, 17-6 MPSF) hosts the Matadors in its regular season finale on Saturday as the second-ranked 49ers are battling UC Irvine for second-place in the MPSF. Long Beach won at USC and No. 5 Pepperdine last week and has now won seven of its last eight. The 49ers are led offensively by Taylor Crabb who ranks second in the MPSF averaging 4.14 kills per game. Crabb is hitting .351 this season while junior Dalton Ammerman adds 2.89 kpg. Long Beach is hitting .294 as a team through 23 matches. Saturday's match is the 69th meeting all-time between CSUN and Long Beach State with the 49ers holding a 37-31 lead in the series. The 49ers topped the Matadors in four sets on Feb. 22 in Northridge.
It all comes down to the final week of action for the final spot in the MPSF Tournament. One Matador win or one Hawai'i loss at UC San Diego will ensure Cal State Northridge qualifying for the postseason. The Matadors can reach the postseason without winning a match at UC Irvine or Long Beach State this week provided Hawaii loses at least one at UCSD. The Warriors play in La Jolla Friday and Saturday. Seven teams have already punched a ticket to the postseason, leaving just the Matadors (9-13) and Hawai'i (8-14) to battle for the final spot. Cal Baptist (12-10) would have clinched a spot but is ineligible for the postseason this season. Following two road wins at Hawai'i (Mar. 1-3) and a home win over UC San Diego (Mar. 8), Northridge was just one-half game out of fourth in the MPSF at 8-6. Since then the Matadors have lost seven of eight and are on the postseason bubble.
STAKER IN CSUN CAREER TOP-10
Senior middle blocker Drew Staker has etched his name in three career categories as his final season winds down. Staker, who is hitting a team-high .458 this season, currently ranks ninth in hitting in CSUN history at .399. Staker also ranks eighth in career block assists with 262 in 336 sets. With 10 total blocks in two matches last week, he also ranks 10th in total blocks with 297. Staker leads the Matadors this season with 108 total stuffs which is a career season-best total, besting his 106 from the 2011 season.
Redshirt freshman Brian O'Gorman, who posted his first collegiate kill against Concordia on Jan. 16, earned the first significant playing time against USC on Saturday. O'Gorman played in the final two sets against the Trojans and had two kills in four errorless swings (.500) to go with two block assists and his fist career dig ... True freshman Chance Earnest, who has started in each of the last four matches, had a career-high five assists Wednesday at Pepperdine ... The Matadors saw their season record against ranked teams fall to 8-11 with the loss at No. 5 Pepperdine. CSUN is now 3-2 against un-ranked teams after falling to USC and Pacific over the last two weeks ... After winning two of their first three five-set matches this season, the Matadors have now dropped their last three (UCLA, Cal Baptist, Pepperdine) ... CSUN moved up to 10th in the nation in team blocking at 2.62 per game.
DOUBLE FIGURE WINS ACHIEVED
By picking up their 10th win of the season against UC San Diego on Mar. 8, the Matadors have now earned double figure wins in 13 of the last 14 seasons and 35th time in the 37 years of Matador men's volleyball. Jeff Campbell has now posted double figure win totals in 14 of his 16 seasons at the helm.
With their postseason fate still up in the air, the Matadors will either open play in the Quarterfinals of the MPSF Tournament next Saturday, Apr. 20 or shut it down until the 2014 season.
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