No. 4 Matadors Host No. 7 Long Beach State to Open Five-Match Homestand

Feb. 3, 2009

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NORTHRIDGE RETURNS HOME TO OPEN FIVE-MATCH HOMESTAND VS. NO. 7 LONG BEACH STATE Fourth-ranked Cal State Northridge (6-2, 3-2 MPSF) returns home to open a five-match homestand beginning Friday, Feb. 6 as the Matadors play host to No. 7 Long Beach State (4-4, 3-2 MPSF) at 7 p.m. The homestand continues on Saturday as Northridge entertains No. 15 UC San Diego (3-5, 1-4 MPSF) also at 7 p.m. The Matadors, who saw their season-opening, six-match win streak snapped after dropping a pair of conference matches at No. 12 Hawai'i last weekend, will play 12 of their next 14 matches in Northridge.

NORTHRIDGE ON THE NET All Matador home matches and select road matches will be available via Gametracker at

MATADORS UPSET TWICE AT NO. 12 HAWAI'I Senior Eric Vance pounded a season-high 32 kills but No. 2 Cal State Northridge dropped its first match of 2009 as No. 12 Hawai'i upset the Matadors 21-30, 30-28, 22-30, 30-23, 15-12 in the opener of a two-match MPSF series Friday at the Stan Sheriff Center. Vance hit .385 on the night as the senior had his season-high 32 kills in a season-high 65 swings. He also had six digs and a pair of blocks. Jacek Ratajczak also hit well as he added eight kills (.353) and a team-high seven blocks. Tanner Nua chipped in 12 kills and three aces but hit just .000 and Mike Gaudino had 10 kills (.129) and 13 digs. Libero Ali'i Keohohou recorded a match and season-high 19 digs which was one off his career-high. The Matadors had 71 kills as a team to 46 for the Warriors but committed 33 service errors and were out-blocked 19.0 to 9.0. On Saturday, the Warriors defeated the Matadors 30-26, 21-30, 32-30, 30-26 despite a match-high 27 kills and a .328 hitting clip from Vance. Nua added 15 kills (.200) and six digs while Jacek Ratajczak chipped in 11 kills (.364), two aces and four blocks. Kevin McKniff and Mike Gaudino also added a pair of aces but the Matadors were again victimized by 26 service errors.

NORTHRIDGE SLIPS TO FOURTH IN BISON/AVCA TOP-15 POLL After three straight weeks at number two, two losses at No. 12 Hawai'i dropped the Matadors to fourth in this week's Bison/AVCA Top 15 poll (Feb. 2). Northridge, which earned a season-high 223 points in each of the last two weeks, earned 183 points in this week's poll. Penn State picked up all 16 first-place votes and 239 total points this week to hold the top spot for the fifth straight week Pepperdine (6-0) and UC Irvine (8-2) move up one spot to second and third respectively this week while the Matadors are fourth and USC (5-2) rounds out this week's top five. Spots 6-10 are occupied by Stanford (6-3), Long Beach State (4-3), UCLA (4-5), BYU (5-4) and UC Santa Barbara (3-5).

TWO LOSSES IN HAWAI'I DROP MATADORS TO FIFTH IN MPSF Two losses at No. 12 Hawai'i dropped Northridge from the undefeated ranks to fifth in the MPSF standings. The Matadors, who went to the islands one-half game behind Pepperdine at 3-0, are now two full games behind the Waves (5-0) and also fell behind UC Irvine (4-1), BYU (3-1) and USC (2-1). Northridge is currently tied for fifth with Stanford and Long Beach State as the conference race begins to heat up.

NORTHRIDGE LOOKS TO GET BACK ON TRACK WITH FIVE-MATCH HOMESTAND After playing seven of their first eight matches on the road, including a pair of tough matches in Hawai'i, the Matadors return to The Matadome for five consecutive matches beginning Friday against No. 7 Long Beach State. The Long Beach match also begins a stretch where Northridge will play 12 of its next 14 matches in the comforts of home.

HITTING, SERVING AND BLOCKING The Matadors head into this week's matches hitting over 100 percentage points higher than their opponents (.286 to .185) and have 54 team aces to 32 for their opponents. Conversely, Northridge has committed a total of 189 service errors (6.1 per game) to just 138 for the opponents. The Matadors are also being out-blocked by a margin of 3.37 to 2.58 blocks per game. Hawai'i was able to post a sizable blocks advantage over the taller Matadors which was instrumental in the two wins.

HAWAI'I OWNS NORTHRIDGE, BUT VANCE OWNS HAWAI'I According to Sunday's headline in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, "Hawai'i owns No. 2 CSUN" and while that may be true as evidenced by the Matadors seven straight losses at the Stan Sheriff Center, senior Eric Vance has certainly stated his case that he owns the Warriors. Over his last four matches against Hawai'i, Vance has 114 kills in 17 games, an average of 6.71 kills per game. Last season in Northridge, he put down a career-high 40 kills in the Matadors' five-set win and followed that up last weekend with 32 kills on Friday and another 27 on Saturday. Vance, who now ranks 10th in Matador history in career kills, has also been efficient against the Warriors, hitting at a .343 clip in 245 total attacks.

KEOHOHOU CLOSES IN ON 400 CAREER DIGS With 33 digs in two matches last weekend, junior libero Ali'i Keohohou has moved within one dig of 400 for his career. Keohohou, who ranks second in the MPSF and seventh nationally in digs per game (3.10), leads the Matadors with 96 digs this season and with his next dig will become just the 23rd player in Northridge history to surpass 400 career digs.

NORTHRIDGE NOTES Junior middle blocker Jacek Ratajczak took over as the team's leading blocker at 1.13 bpg. Ratajczak had seven blocks (two solo) on Friday and four blocks on Saturday and now has eight solo stuffs among his 35 total blocks this season ... Several Matador players check in as the first NCAA statistics report of the season is available. Vance ranks third in kills per game, Stork ranks fourth in assists per game, Keohohou ranks seventh in digs per game, Gaudino ranks 19th and Vance 26th in aces per game and Vance ranks 27th in hitting percentage. As a team, Northridge ranks fourth in kills per game and assists per game, sixth in aces per game, ninth in digs per game, 11th in hitting percentage, 20th in blocks per game.

SCOUTING LONG BEACH STATE Seventh-ranked Long Beach State (4-4, 3-2 MPSF) travels to Northridge and No. 10 UC Santa Barbara this week. The 49ers split a pair of MPSF matches last week, falling in five sets at Stanford before defeating Pacific in four. Long Beach is 2-3 in five road matches this season. The 49ers are led by junior OPP Dean Bittner who is second in the MPSF averaging 5.68 kills per game. Junior OH Tommy Pestolesi is second at 3.32 while Long Beach is hitting .278 as a team. Head Coach Alan Knipe is in his ninth season at Long Beach State and sports a record of 159-93. Northridge trails 33-26 in the all-time series with the 49ers but has won six of the the last seven matches between the two teams. Long Beach snapped the Matadors' six-match win streak with a straight-set win in Northridge last season.

SCOUTING UC SAN DIEGO The No. 15 Tritons (3-5, 1-4 MPSF) travel to No. 10 UC Santa Barbara on Friday before heading to The Matadome on Saturday. UC San Diego took two of three matches last week defeating Princeton (3-0) in a non-conference match before taking care of Pacific in three. The Tritons then lost at No. Stanford in four sets. Sophomore OH Will Ehrman leads the Tritons averaging a team-high 3.70 kills per game. Junior OH Jason Spangler adds 3.30 kpg while junior OPP Frank Fritsch averages 3.27 kpg for UCSD which is hitting .288 as a team. Head Coach Kevin Ring is in his fourth season at UC San Diego and sports a career and school record of 20-74. Northridge leads 57-6 in the all-time series with the Tritons and has won the last 32 matches between the two teams. The Matadors are 26-2 all-time against UC San Diego in The Matadome.


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