CSUN Wraps Up Homestand vs. Pacific, No. 8 Stanford


MATCH #14 (MPSF Match #13):

Pacific Tigers (2-13, 1-11 MPSF) at Cal State Northridge Matadors (4-9, 4-8 MPSF)

Friday, Feb. 28, 2014 - 7:00 p.m. PST
The Matadome - Northridge, CA
Live Stats: GoMatadors.com
Streaming Video: GoMatadors.com
Audio: none
In-game Twitter updates: @CSUN_InGame 

MATCH #15 (MPSF Match #14):

No. 8 Stanford Cardinal (9-6, 6-6 MPSF) at Cal State Northridge Matadors (4-9, 4-8 MPSF)

Saturday, Mar. 1, 2014 - 7:30 p.m. PST
The Matadome - Northridge, CA
Live Stats: GoMatadors.com
Streaming Video: GoMatadors.com
Audio: none
In-game Twitter updates: @CSUN_InGame   

Weekly Match Notes           


Cal State Northridge (4-9, 4-8 MPSF) concludes its season-long four-match homestand this week as the Matadors host Pacific (2-13, 1-11 MPSF) and Stanford (9-6, 6-6 MPSF) Friday and Saturday respectively. CSUN split the first two matches of the homestand last week, sweeping UC San Diego before falling in four to No. 7 UC Irvine. The Matadors look to close the homestand on a positive note before playing seven of their next eight matches away from home.  


Follow Cal State Matador volleyball online at the official online home of Cal State Northridge athletics, www.GoMatadors.com. Home matches will be streamed live through Big West TV while select home and road matches will feature a live audio broadcast with Mark Schuermann and Mahina Haina. Fans can also follow the Matadors on Twitter at @GoMatadors, @CSUNMensVB and @CSUN_InGame as well as view match highlights at YouTube.com/northridgeathletics. Fans can view and print the Matadors 2014 Record Book online at GoMatadors.com. The guide features statistics and a complete CSUN men's volleyball history. 


After four weeks ranked among the top-15, Cal State Northridge slipped out of the AVCA Coaches Top-15 poll released Monday, Feb. 24. After sweeping unranked UC San Diego and falling in four to No. 7 UC Irvine at home last week, the Matadors earned 20 points in this week's poll. CSUN, which has been ranked in five of the nine weekly polls this season, has been ranked in 190 of the last 206 weekly polls dating back to the 2002 season.

Loyola-Chicago (13-1) remained No. 1 for the third straight week as the Ramblers earned 14 first-place votes and 259 total points. BYU (10-3) remained second with 250 points, receiving three first-place votes while UCLA (12-3) received the other first-place vote and 233 points to remain third. Pepperdine (8-3) and Long Beach State (9-4) round out this week's top-five. UC Santa Barbara (9-4) is sixth this week followed by USC (9-5), Stanford (9-5), UC Irvine (10-8) and Penn State (12-2). This week's AVCA Top-15 is filled out by Hawai'i (9-6), Lewis (10-4), Ohio State (7-6), Ball State (7-5) and IPFW (8-3).

Loyola is also number one in this week's Volleyball Magazine Top-10 Poll. The Matadors remain unranked in the Volleyball poll in week eight.


• Pacific (2-13, 1-11 MPSF) fell in straight sets to both No. 7 UC Santa Barbara and No. 2 UCLA last week and has now dropped 12 of its last 13 since opening the season with a 3-1 win over the Matadors. The Tigers, 0-4 on the road this season, also travel to Long Beach on Friday. Christian Franceschi leads Pacific with 141 kills (2.66 kps) while Thomas Hodges averages a team-high 3.10 kps. As a team Pacific is hitting .182 which is last among the 13 MPSF squads. Friday's match is the 38th meeting all-time between CSUN and Pacific with the Matadors holding a 25-12 lead in the series. The two teams have split two matches this season with the Tigers winning in four in Santa Barbara in January and CSUN winning in five in Stockton.

• The eighth-ranked Stanford Cardinal (9-6, 6-6 MPSF) opened the week with a five-set loss to No. 3 UCLA on Monday, just their second loss in their last seven matches. For the second straight week, the Matadors will face the reigning MPSF Player of the Week, this week it's Eric Mochalski who led the Cardinal to a 3-0 sweep over No. 5 UCSB last Friday. He led all players with 13 kills on .667 hitting, to go with season-highs of seven digs and five blocks as Stanford posted a rally-scoring era school record 21.5 blocks, and held the Gauchos to .011 hitting. Steven Irvin (3.41 kps) and Brian Cook (3.33 kps) rank 10th and 12th in the MPSF in kills. Saturday's match is the 66th meeting all-time between CSUN and Stanford with the Cardinal holding a 39-26 edge in the series. The Cardinal have won seven of the last eight between the two teams.


This week marks the opening of the second half of the MPSF season for the Matadors. At 4-8 in conference play, CSUN sits 10th in the 13-team standings with only the top-eight qualifying for the conference tournament which begins Apr. 19. After playing nine of their first 14 MPSF matches at home, the Matadors face the unenviable task of playing six of their final 10 conference contests on the road. The only team CSUN did not face in the first half, Long Beach State, will host the Matadors on Apr. 10 before coming to Northridge for the regular season finale on Apr. 12. 


As noted in previous weeks, middle blocker Greg Faulkner continues to have an impressive junior season. Faulkner connected for 10 kills against UC Irvine on Saturday and now has matched his season-high of 10 kills in each of the last three matches. Faulkner hit .529 on 17 attacks against the Anteaters which followed up a .643 clip against UC San Diego and a .412 hitting effort at UCLA. The junior from Los Angeles now ranks third in the MPSF and fourth nationally hitting .454 for the season and has not hit lower than .286 in his previous 13 matches. 


Inconsistency tends to be the unfortunate trait of a young team and it has shown at several positions this season. One of the more glaring has been the right side where redshirt freshmen Damani Lenore and Jakub Ciesla have been spectacular at times but have struggled mightily other times. Lenore had an impressive four-match stretch (Jan. 22-Feb. 1) where he averaged 4.50 kills per set, highlighted by a career-high 28 kills against top-ranked Pepperdine. Slowed by an injury over the past few weeks, outside of a 12-kill effort at UCLA, Lenore is averaging 1.71 kills per set over his last five starts. Ciesla also began the season strong, putting down a season-high 13 kills while hitting .333 against Cal Baptist on Jan. 8. The redshirt from Boca Raton, Fla., also had 12 kills in the season opener against Pacific but hasn't been able to replicate that success over his last seven appearances. Ciesla earned the start against UC San Diego and had six kills and a season-high eight digs but hit just .056 on 18 attacks.  


Sophomore Sam Holt put together what is most likely his best back-to-back offensive efforts last week. Holt had 13 kills while hitting .500 against UC San Diego and followed up with 16 kills on a career-high 40 swings (.275) against UC Irvine. Holt also had a combined 29 kills in two matches earlier this season; 19 vs. Cal Baptist, 10 at BYU but hit .333 in the two matches. Against UCSD and UCI, Holt hit a robust .360 while contributing 34 points ... Sophomore Leni Ma'ia'i made the first two starts of his CSUN career last week becoming the third Matador to start in the middle next to Faulkner who has started all 13 matches. Ma'ia'i had a pair of kills in four attacks against UCSD while also posting a pair of block assists.      


Having become Cal State Northridge men's volleyball's all-time winningest coach during the 2010 season, Jeff Campbell picked up his most recent milestone win of his 17-year Matador career in Northridge's 3-0 win at UC San Diego on Feb. 24, 2012. The victory gave the Matador boss his 225th career victory. Campbell, who now has a career record of 247-231 (.517), reached the 150 and 200 career wins over the last five seasons and now sets his sights on his 250th career win. Currently, the second-longest tenured head coach at Cal State Northridge (men's golf coach Jim Bracken is in his 28th season) Campbell has posted double figure win totals in 14 of his previous 16 seasons on the bench and notched a career-best 24 wins in 2009. 


Following home matches against Pacific and No. 8 Stanford this week, the Matadors open up a grueling stretch that will see the Matadors close the month of March by playing seven of eight matches on the road. CSUN will visit Cal Baptist, USC, Pepperdine, UC Irvine and UC San Diego during the stretch and will also play Penn State and Ohio State as part of the Active Ankle Classic at Long Beach State (Mar. 14-15).


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