EXHIBITION MATCHES #1-4:
No. 14 Cal State Northridge Matadors vs. No. 4 Long Beach State, IPFW, No. 2 UCLA, UC San Diego
Friday, Jan. 3, 2014 - First match at 11:00 a.m. PST
The Thunderdome - Santa Barbara, Calif.
Live Stats: none
Streaming Video: none
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors
No. 14 Cal State Northridge Matadors vs. TBD
Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014 - TBD
Rob Gym - Santa Barbara, Calif.
Live Stats: ucsbgauchos.com
Streaming Video: none
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors
Cal State Northridge men's volleyball gets the 2014 season underway this weekend as the 14th-ranked Matadors travel to Santa Barbara to compete in the 50th annual UCSB Asics Invitational. The tournament will take on a different format this season as CSUN will take on four teams on Friday in best of three exhibition matches which will not count towards overall season records. Based on Friday's results the Matadors will play a single match on Saturday which will be their official season opener.
NORTHRIDGE ON THE NET
Follow Cal State Matador volleyball online at the official online home of Cal State Northridge athletics, www.GoMatadors.com. Fans can also follow the Matadors at Twitter.com/gomatadors and YouTube.com/northridgeathletics.
MATADORS OPEN 14TH IN AVCA PRESEASON TOP-15 POLL
Cal State Northridge opens the 2014 season ranked 14th in the AVCA Division I-II Coaches Preseason Top-15 Poll. The Matadors, who finished the 2013 ranked 14th with an 11-15 record, earned 48 points in the preseason poll. Northridge has now been ranked in 188 of the last 200 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. UC Irvine was the top-ranked team in the preseason poll as the Anteaters earned nine of 18 first-place votes and 246 total points. UCLA is second this week followed by BYU, Long Beach State and Stanford.
THE ASICS UCSB INVITATIONAL FIELD
The Matadors will face challenges right off the bat Friday as CSUN will face preseason No. 4 ranked Long Beach State and No. 2 UCLA in addition to unranked IPFW and UC San Diego. The Matadors and 49ers will serve it up at 11 a.m. with the remaining three exhibition matches following as the day goes on. This year's tourney, which features 10 teams split into two five-team pools, will have a revised scheduling format. On Friday, each team will play round-robin against the other four teams in their pool. These matches will be best of three sets exhibitions and will not count towards overall records. After the conclusion of all matches on Friday, records will be compiled and seeds will be assigned within each pool. On Saturday, each team will play its corresponding seed in the opposite pool (i.e. the top seed in Pool A will play the top team in Pool B). These matches will count towards teams' overall records. The four teams in Pool A include UC Santa Barbara, Stanford, Cal Baptist, Pacific, and Harvard. The first wave of matches on Friday will take place at 10 a.m., with the second wave commencing at 3 p.m. after a lunch break. Saturday's matches will occur every two-and-a-half hours starting at 10 a.m., with the championship match slated for 8 p.m.
MATADORS SLOTTED 10TH IN MPSF PRESEASON POLL
Cal State Northridge earned 47 points while being picked to finish 10th among 13 conference teams in the 2014 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Preseason Coaches Poll. The Matadors, who finished 11-15 overall and 9-15 in conference play last season, return four staters but will be one of the younger teams in the MPSF this season. CSUN is ranked 14th in the AVCA Preseason Coaches Top-15 Poll.
"Obviously we're not paying much attention to polls," said Head Coach Jeff Campbell. "We've got great young players on this team we just need experience. With the core guys we have coming back we can compete with anyone in this conference."
Defending MPSF champion BYU and Long Beach State were named co-favorites to win the MPSF as each earned three first place votes and 126 points. UC Irvine, which received six first place votes, was picked third after earning 125 points while UCLA and Stanford rounded out the preseason top-five in the 13-team conference. Junior setter Travis Magorien (Agoura Hills, Calif./Westlake HS) will steer the CSUN offense for the third consecutive season after posting 844 assists (9.17 aps) during his sophomore season. Magorien, who started all but three matches last season, heads into the 2014 season with 1,137 career assists which ranks 12th in CSUN history.
Fellow juniors Kyle Stevenson (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif./Palos Verdes HS) and Greg Faulkner (Los Angeles, Calif./Westchester HS) also return at outside hitter and middle blocker respectively. Stevenson started 15 times as a sophomore finished fifth on the team with 94 kills (1.45 kps). Faulkner saw action in just four matches as a sophomore behind seniors Drew Staker and Jared Moore but was a an MPSF All-Freshman Team selection in 2011.
Libero Charlie Condron (Huntington Beach, Calif./Huntington Beach HS) is the lone senior on the 2014 roster as he heads into his final season with 298 career digs. Condron will be pushed by a sophomore Nick Alegrado (Chula Vista, Calif./Otay Ranch HS) and redshirt freshman Bradley Sakaida (Oak Park, Calif./Oak Park HS). Sakaida had an impressive fall season for the Matadors.
The Matadors also return sophomores Sam Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio/Purcell Marion HS) and Chance Earnest (Los Angeles, Calif./Palisades Charter HS) who both received extended looks at the outside hitter spot in 2013. Holt had a career-high 18 kills to go with five digs and two blocks in his first collegiate start at BYU last Feb. 2.
Brian O'Gorman (Merrick, NY/John F. Kennedy HS), Vaughn Wellenreiter (Newbury Park, Calif./Newbury Park HS) and Leni Ma'ia'i (Dunedin, New Zealand/John McGloshen College) also return in the middle after gaining valuable experience as redshirt freshman in 2013. O'Gorman hit .529 over 10 matches over the final 10 matches last season.
In addition to Staker and Moore in the middle, the Matadors will have to replace senior John Baker who led the team in kills a season ago with 350 (3.57 kps). Redshirt freshman Damani Lenore (Yorba Linda, Calif./Yorba Linda HS) is one candidate as is fellow redshirt freshman Jakub Ciesla (Baca Raton, Fla./Olympic Heights HS). Both Lenore and Ciesla had fall matches in which they performed extremely well according to Campbell.
Campbell, opening his 17th season in January, has a deep and talented roster but one that is short on experience. He has also added an exceptional recruiting class for 2014-15 so the present and future of CSUN men's volleyball looks solid.
- GO MATADORS -