13th-Ranked Matadors Head East For a Pair of Non-Conference Matches

Feb. 1, 2011

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Match #10

No. 13 Northridge Matadors (2-7, 1-5 MPSF) vs. No. 9 Ohio State Buckeyes (4-2, 1-0 MIVA)

Friday, February 4, 2011 - 2 p.m. PST

Rec Hall - University Park, Pa.

Live Stats: gopsusports.com (Gametracker)

Match #11

No. 13 Northridge Matadors (2-7, 1-5 MPSF) vs. No. 8 Penn State Nittany Lions (6-1, 2-0 EIVA)

Saturday, February 5, 2011 - 4:30 p.m. PST

Rec Hall - University Park, Pa.

Live Stats: gopsusports.com (Gametracker)

Things don't get any easier for Cal State Northridge (2-7, 1-5 MPSF) this week as the 13th-ranked Matadors take a break from the MPSF schedule to travel across the country to take on No. 9 Ohio State (4-2) and No. 8 Penn State (6-1). Northridge meets Ohio State on Friday and Penn State Saturday with both matches at Penn State's Rec Hall. The Matadors saw their season-long skid reach four matches with straight set losses to second-ranked Stanford and Pacific last week.

Jeff Campbell is in his 14th season as head coach with 215 career wins, the most in Northridge men's volleyball history. With the Matadors' 3-0 win at Long Beach State on Jan. 15, 2010, Campbell won his 195th match became the winningest coach in CSUN men's volleyball history surpassing John Price (194-158) who coached the Matador men for 12 seasons. Campbell has averaged over 23 wins per season over the last three seasons and has led the Matadors to at least 18 wins every season since 2003.

Follow 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 be broadcast live via Gametracker. In addition, select home and road matches will feature live audio. Fans can also follow the Matadors at Twitter.com/gomatadors and YouTube.com/northridgeathletics. Fans can also view and print the Matadors 2011 media guide online at GoMatadors.com. The guide features player information, photos, statistics and a complete men's volleyball history.

Despite a pair of 3-0 losses last week, Cal State Northridge held on to its No. 13 national ranking in this week's AVCA Coaches Top-15 Poll released Jan. 31. The Matadors, which earned a season-high 84 points Jan. 17, earned a season-low 41 points in this week's poll, down 12 points from last week. USC (6-0) received all 16 first-place votes this week to retain the No. 1 spot for the fourth consecutive week. Long Beach State (6-3) continued to climb up the poll as the 49ers moved up from fifth to second after jumping from eighth to fifth last week. BYU (7-2) is third this week followed by Stanford (5-2) and UCLA (7-3). UC Santa Barbara (5-4) is sixth this week followed by UC Irvine (4-5), Penn State (6-1), Ohio State (4-2) and Hawai'i (2-5). This week's top-15 is rounded out by Pepperdine (2-5), UC San Diego (4-6), the Matadors (2-7), Ball State (3-3) and Pacific (4-4). The Matadors have now been ranked in the AVCA Top-15 for 155 consecutive weeks. The last time Northridge did not rank among the nation's top-15 was the first poll (Jan. 15) of the 2002 season.

Saturday's 3-0 loss to unranked Pacific was unfamiliar in more ways than one for the Matadors. Northridge has lost to an unranked opponent at home exactly once in the last eight years. The Matadors last dropped a home match to an unranked USC team on Feb. 11, 2004. CSUN is 40-3 since then against unranked squads with both losses coming on the road, at Pacific in 2006 and at Ball State in 2010. The Pacific loss was also the Matadors' third straight 3-0 home loss, the last time Northridge was swept in three consecutive home matches was 2005 when the Matadors fell to Hawai'i twice and Pacific in succession. With four of their next five matches on the road, the Matadors will have to wait until Friday, Feb. 11 against No. 2 Long Beach State for their next chance at their first home win. The last time a CSUN team dropped four straight matches at home was Feb. 2-Feb. 23, 2001.

The Matadors have used three different players at opposite over the first nine matches. Senior Tanner Nua (Palmdale, Calif.) came in as the incumbent but was supplanted by sophomore John Baker (Racine, Wis.) who was in turn replaced by redshirt sophomore Jared Moore (Corona, Calif.). As a group the opposites have struggled to hit .118 with 89 kills and 60 errors in 245 swings. Baker is tops among the trio hitting .229 with Nua hitting .066 and Moore hitting -.036 in 28 attacks. Nua, however, has continued to be a force at the service line as he ranks second on the Matadors with seven aces (0.33 per game). Baker has added five aces, 18 digs and eight blocks to his season stats.

Junior setter Matt Stork (Topanga, Calif.) continues to climb the Matador all-time assists list. Stork, who surpassed 3,400 career assists with 19 helpers at No. 3 UCLA on Jan. 19, returned to the starting lineup after a one match absence and is closing in on 3,500 career assists. He is now 45 assists away from moving past Gary Reznick and into fifth place on the all-time list. By missing the Matadors' Jan. 21 match against UC Santa Barbara, Stork's streak of 70 consecutive starts as the Matador setter ended.

A trio of Matadors statistically rank among the top-10 in the MPSF. Sophomore Drew Staker (Las Vegas, Nev.) is the highest CSUN player ranked as he is fourth in hitting percentage at .473. Senior Kaleo Baxter (Kapaa, Hawai'i) is fifth in digs per game at 2.03 and junior Matt Stork (Topanga, Calif.) is seventh in assists per game at 10.07.

Saturday's match against Penn State is a rematch of last season's NCAA Tournament semifinal match but an entirely different CSUN team will take the court. Gone are the five seniors that comprised the core of the Northridge team that lost in three sets to the Nittany Lions at Stanford's Maples Pavilion. Nearly a month before that match, the Matadors dispatched the ninth-ranked Nittany Lions in straight sets in The Matadome in the first meeting between the two teams since 1998.

The Matadors are off to their worst nine-match start since starting 1-8 to open the 1999 campaign. Northridge has opened 3-6 after nine matches twice (1998, 2001) under Jeff Campbell. The best nine-match start under Campbell was last season when the Matadors were 8-1 after nine matches on their way to a 23-10 season. Campbell's 2005 squad overcame a 4-5 start to win 15 of their final 24 matches to post a 19-14 season record ... CSUN has now gone three straight matches without having a hitter reach double figures in kills. Nua had six kills to lead the team against UC Santa Barbara, while Drew Staker and Greg Faulkner each had nine kills against Stanford. Faulkner and Brandon Lebrock each had nine kills against Pacific last Saturday ... The Matadors continue to struggle against ranked teams as they are now 1-6 after falling to No. 2 Stanford ... Freshman Cory Wagner went down with an injury after playing just one point against Stanford and did not return to the match ... One reason for the tremendous disparity in CSUN's hitting vs. their opponents (.371-.242) is that the Matadors have played six top-five teams in their first nine matches of the season.

The 13th-ranked Matadors and ninth-ranked Buckeyes will meet for just the seventh time on Friday with the series deadlocked at three wins apiece. The schools have not played since the 1999 season when Ohio State won in straight sets in Northridge. The Buckeyes also won the previous meeting in The Matadome in 1995. The Matadors' last win came in five sets in 1991. The two teams last met on a neutral court in 1982 in Pittsburgh, Pa. Ohio State has won four straight since dropping its first two matches of the season at Pepperdine. Junior opposite Shawn Sangrey leads the Buckeyes in kills averaging 3.80 kpg while senior outside John Klanac adds 2.78 kpg. Ohio State is hitting .356 as a team.

NORTHRIDGE (2-7, 1-5 MPSF) @ PENN STATE (6-1, 2-0 EIVA)
The 13th-ranked Matadors and eighth-ranked Nittany Lions will meet for the 11th time on Saturday with Penn State holding a 6-4 edge in the all-time series. The Matadors and Nittany Lions split two matches last season with Northridge winning in three at The Matadome and Penn State winning in three in the NCAA semifinals. The Matadors won 3-1 in their first and only match played at Rec Hall in 1992. Junior outside Joe Sunder leads the Lions averaging 5.73 kpg while hitting a robust .416. Freshman outside Jace Olsen adds 2.19 kpg while Penn State is hitting .351 as a team.

Cal State Northridge saw its home record dip to 0-3 after the visiting Pacific Tigers defeated the 13th-ranked Matadors 25-16, 31-29, 25-20 in an MPSF Saturday night at The Matadome. Although the Matadors improved their hitting against the Tigers, no Northridge hitter had more than nine kills in the match. Freshmen Greg Faulkner and Brandon Lebrock led the Matadors with nine kills apiece as each hit .375. Lebrock rounded out a solid all-around match with a pair of aces, seven digs and three blocks while Faulkner had four blocks and two digs. Sophomore Drew Staker was also effective for the Matadors as he knocked down eight kills while hitting .667 in 12 swings. Matt Stork registered 36 assists as CSUN hit .253 (39-17-87) as a team. The Matadors had trouble stopping Pacific's attack as the Tigers hit .600 in the opening set and .352 (43-11-91) for the match. Pacific also served eight aces and had 12.0 team blocks to 7.0 for Northridge.

Following the East Coast trip, the Matadors return home for a single match as CSUN hosts Long Beach State on Friday, Feb. 11.