Matadors Look to Snap Skid Against Second-Ranked Long Beach State on Friday

Feb. 8, 2011

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Match #12

No. 2 Long Beach State 49ers (6-3, 5-1 MPSF) @ Northridge Matadors (2-9, 1-5 MPSF)

Friday, February 11, 2011 - 7 p.m. PST

The Matadome - Northridge, Calif.

Live Stats: (Gametracker)

Cal State Northridge (2-9, 1-5 MPSF) returns home for a brief one-match homestand this Friday as the Matadors host second-ranked Long Beach State (6-3, 5-1 MPSF) at 7 p.m. Northridge, unranked in this week's AVCA Top-15 Poll, has dropped six straight matches after falling to No. 9 Ohio State (3-0) and No. 8 Penn State (3-0) last week in University Park, Pa. The Matadors will complete a stretch of four road matches in five contests next week with road games at UC Irvine and UC San Diego.

Jeff Campbell is in his 14th season as head coach with 215 career wins, the most in Northridge men's volleyball history. Campbell became the winningest coach in CSUN men's volleyball history after the Matadors' 3-0 win at Long Beach State on January 15, 2010. The win was his 195th career victory 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, 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 and Fans can also view and print the Matadors 2011 media guide online at The guide features player information, photos, statistics and a complete men's volleyball history.

Following two weeks of clinging to a No. 13 national ranking, two losses on the East Coast last week dropped Cal State Northridge out of the top-15 in this week's AVCA Coaches Top-15 Poll released Feb. 7. The Matadors, which earned a season-high 84 points Jan. 17, earned a season-low 12 points in this week's poll to fall out of the top-15 for the first time since Jan. 15, 2002. Northridge had been ranked in the AVCA Top-15 for 155 consecutive weeks. USC (6-0) received all 16 first-place votes this week to retain the No. 1 spot for the fifth consecutive week. BYU (9-2) moved into a tie for second with the Matadors' Friday opponent, Long Beach State (6-3). Stanford (8-2) is fourth this week and UCLA (7-5) rounds out the top-five. Ohio State (6-2) jumps up three spots to sixth this week, followed by UC Santa Barbara (6-5), UC Irvine (5-6), Hawai'i (3-6) and Penn State (7-2). This week's top-15 is rounded out by Pepperdine (3-5), UC San Diego (5-7), Ball State (5-3), Lewis (6-2) and Pacific (5-6).

  After being relegated to a backup role in four of the Matadors' last five matches, senior Tanner Nua (Palmdale, Calif.) returned to the starting lineup Friday against Ohio State. The senior opposite responded with, statistically, his best hitting efforts of the season against the Buckeyes on Friday and Penn State on Saturday. Nua hit .400 in the two matches with 20 kills and just four errors in 40 swings. He also contributed nine digs, two aces and three blocks during the weekend. His 13.0 points against Penn State was his best output since scoring 17.0 points against UC San Diego in the second match of the season.

Brandon Lebrock (Northridge, Calif.) could become the first freshman to lead his team in kills since Eckhard Walter in 1999. Lebrock currently leads the Matadors in kills with 86 and kills per game at 2.32. Despite a tough weekend in Pennsylvania, Lebrock had just six kills in the two matches, including a season-low two kills against Ohio State, he leads Northridge with four matches with double figures in kills, including a season-high 12 against both UC Irvine and UCLA. Walter had 496 kills in his first season at Northridge during the pre-rally scoring format.

The Matadors are not only looking to snap a six-match losing streak overall but a three-match home losing streak as they prepare for second-ranked Long Beach State on Friday. The last time CSUN lost three in a row at home was Jan. 17-31, 2007 when the Matadors fell to No. 1 UC Irvine, No. 3 UCLA and No. 4 Pepperdine in succession. Northridge last lost four in a row in The Matadome over the course of the 2006 and 2007 seasons. The Matadors lost their final two home matches of the 2006 season (No. 1 UCI, No. 7 UCLA) and then lost their first two of the 2007 season (No. 1 UCI, No. 3 UCLA).

Junior setter Matt Stork (Topanga, Calif.) continues to climb the Matador all-time assists list. Stork, who surpassed 3,500 career assists with 24 helpers at No. 8 Penn State on Feb. 5, is now within 21 assists away from moving past Gary Reznick and into fifth place on the all-time list. Stork, who had his streak of 70 consecutive starts as the Matador setter snapped against UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 21, started for the first time in his Matador career at outside hitter against Ohio State and had six kills in 18 swings.

Over their last five matches Northridge has barely had time a break a sweat before the match was over. In falling in straight sets each time, the Matadors' last five matches have lasted an average of just 80 minutes. CSUN has been outscored 384-296 in points won over the five matches. The Matadors' longest matches of the season have both been wins, 2:01 at Pepperdine (Jan. 15) and 1:50 against UC San Diego (Jan. 8).

A trio of Matadors statistically rank among the top-10 in the MPSF. Senior Kaleo Baxter (Kapaa, Hawai'i) is the highest CSUN player ranked as he is currently fifth in digs per game at 2.03. Sophomore Drew Staker (Las Vegas, Nev.) struggled in two matches ion the East Coast but still ranks ninth in hitting percentage at .402. Senior Tanner Nua made his first appearance in the top-10 this week as he ranks ninth in service aces at 0.33 per game.

The disparity in the Matadors' hitting versus their opponents grew wider after two matches in Pennsylvania. CSUN's team hitting percentage dropped to .233 while their opponents inched up to .376. The Matadors have taken nearly an identical number of swings as the opposition (979-978) but have nearly 100 less kills (517-419) and have committed 42 more hitting errors. CSUN is also struggling at the net where the Matadors are being out-blocked by an average of 2.78 to 1.74 per game ... The Matadors have won the opening set once in 11 matches this season, against Pepperdine on Jan. 15 ... With a 2-7 record in January, a Northridge team had a sub .500 month for the first time since January of 2007 when the Matadors finished 4-6 ... No. 2 Long Beach State will be the seventh top-five team CSUN has played already this season.

The second-ranked 49ers and Matadors will meet for the 64th time on Friday with Long Beach holding a 34-29 edge in the all-time series. Northridge has won two straight and nine of the last 11 between the two teams. The Matadors are 12-13 all-time against the 49ers in The Matadome. Long Beach State has won four straight since falling in straight sets at No. 1 USC on Jan. 14. Junior opposite Jim Baughman leads the 49ers in kills averaging 3.97 kpg which ranks eighth in the MPSF. Senior middle blocker Antwain Aguillard ranks second in the conference in blocking at 1.41 bpg. Long Beach State is hitting .278 as a team.

13th-ranked Cal State Northridge dropped the opener of its two-match trip to the East Coast as the Matadors fell to No. 9 Ohio State 25-14, 25-19, 25-16 at Penn State's Rec Hall. Experimenting with a new lineup proved no help to CSUN as the Matadors hit just .118 (23-15-68) while the Buckeyes had little trouble offensively, hitting .443 (49-14-79). Campbell moved junior Matt Stork to outside hitter for the first time and Stork hit .000 with six kills and six errors in 18 swings. Senior Tanner Nua led the Matadors with nine kills, four digs and one ace. Nua hit a season-high .400 in 20 attacks. Senior Jeff Baxter, starting his second match of the season at setter, had 21 assists, one dig and a pair of blocks but could not get the Matador offense on track. The Matador middle duo of Drew Staker and Greg Faulkner, who have been solid all season, had just six kills combined while hitting .150 in 20 swings. On Saturday, Northridge saw its losing streak reach six matches as eighth-ranked Penn State swept the Matadors 25-19, 25-22, 26-24. Nua led CSUN for the second straight match with 11 kills and became the first Matador hitter since Jan. 19 at UCLA to reach double figures in kills. The senior from Palmdale capped a solid two matches in Pennsylvania by hitting .400 in 20 swings to go with five digs and a pair of blocks.

Northridge travels to UC Irvine (Feb. 18) and UC San Diego (Feb. 19) next week before wrapping up the month of February with home matches against USC (Feb. 23) and Pepperdine (Feb. 25).