Matadors Open MPSF Tournament Against BYU in Quarterfinal Match

April 21, 2009

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THIRD SEEDED MATADORS OPEN MPSF QUARTERFINALS AGAINST BYU ON SATURDAY Postseason volleyball returns to Northridge for the third consecutive season as third-seeded Cal State Northridge (23-6, 16-6 MPSF) hosts the sixth-seeded BYU Cougars (17-12, 13-9 MPSF) Saturday at 7 p.m. The Matadors, ranked second nationally by the AVCA this week, are hosting their second MPSF quarterfinal match in as many seasons. Last season, Northridge defeated Stanford in a quarterfinal match before falling to BYU in a semifinal match at Long Beach State. The Matadors have also hosted MPSF Play-In matches in 2005 and 2007, winning on both occasions.

NORTHRIDGE ON THE NET Saturday's MPSF Tournament quarterfinal match will be available via Gametracker at

MATADORS CLOSE REGULAR SEASON WITH IMPRESSIVE THREE-SET SWEEP AT NO. 13 UCSB Senior Eric Vance pounded a match-high 20 kills and sophomore Tanner Nua added 14 as third-ranked Cal State Northridge wrapped up the regular season with an impressive 30-23, 30-21, 30-28 win at No. 13 UC Santa Barbara Friday at The Thunderdome. The Matadors, who wrap up the regular season with an overall record of 23-6, improve to 16-6 and clinch third place in the MPSF. Northridge matched the 1993 and 2008 teams for most wins in school history with 23. The loss wraps up the Gauchos' season at 8-19 overall and 4-18 in conference play. Vance's 20 kills led the Matadors as the senior All-American hit .562 after committing just two errors in 32 swings. He also added three aces, three digs and a pair of blocks. Nua bounced back from a pair of sub-par matches to pound 14 kills in 19 attacks to hit .632. Nua also added two aces and three digs. Mike Gaudino, who has also struggled of late, hit .688 with 11 kills in 16 attacks. Matt Stork had 44 assists in steering the Matadors to a season-high .598 hitting clip with 54 kills and just five errors in 82 attacks. Libero Ali'i Keohohou posted a match-high 13 digs for Northridge in the win.

MATADORS WIND UP REGULAR SEASON RANKED SECOND IN BISON/AVCA POLL After sweeping No. 13 UC Santa Barbara to close the regular season, the Matadors moved up one spot to second in this week's Bison/AVCA Top 15 poll (Apr. 20). The Matadors, who are second for the sixth time this season and the first time since Mar. 23, received 215 points in this week's poll. Northridge earned season-high 234 points on Mar. 9 when the Matadors were ranked number one for the second time this season. UC Irvine (24-4) is the top-ranked team for the second straight week after earning all 16 first-place votes and 240 total points this week. The Matadors took second by three points over No. 3 Pepperdine (20-4) while Stanford (21-10) is fourth and BYU (17-12) is fifth. Penn State (25-3), USC (17-10), . Long Beach State (14-13), UCLA (14-15) and UC San Diego (13-15) round out the top-10. Ohio State (14-10), Lewis (21-7), Hawai'i (9-18), Loyola-Chicago (16-9) and UC Santa Barbara (8-19) round out this week's top-15 teams.

NORTHRIDGE SEEDED THIRD AS POSTSEASON GETS UNDERWAY With a 16-6 conference record, the Matadors nailed down a number three seed in the MPSF Tournament for the second straight season. UC Irvine (19-3) earned the tournament's top seed and will host the semifinals and finals should the Anteaters defeat eighth-seeded UCLA on Saturday. Pepperdine (18-4) is the second seed and will host No. 7-seed Long Beach State while the 4-5 match will feature fifth-seed USC traveling to fourth-seeded Stanford. All matches will begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

MATADORS IN THE MPSF TOURNAMENT Cal State Northridge has earned its eighth consecutive berth and 12th trip overall to the MPSF Tournament. This year's quarterfinal berth is the Matadors' 12th in their MPSF history. Northridge, which snapped a streak of two consecutive quarterfinal losses with last season's 30-26, 30-19, 30-28 win over Stanford, improved to 4-7 in MPSF Tournament matches under Jeff Campbell. The Matadors have now won their last three postseason home matches, defeating Stanford in 2005, USC in 2007 and Stanford again in 2008. With a win over BYU on Saturday, the Matadors would earn consecutive berths in the MPSF semifinals for the first time since 1993.

A CLOSER LOOK AT NORTHRIDGE-BYU The Matadors and Cougars have met in the MPSF Tournament three times since 2003 with BYU winning each time. The Cougars defeated the Matadors in a quarterfinal match in Provo in 2003 and also won in three at home in the quarterfinals in 2007. Last season, BYU knocked off Northridge 30-22, 30-28, 30-26 in an MPSF semifinal match at Long Beach State. The Matadors swept both regular season matches from the Cougars this season which closed BYU's all-time series advantage to 27-19.

MATADORS TOUGH ON THE HOME COURT As has been the case for the past few seasons, Northridge is tough to beat in The Matadome. This season's home record of 12-2 (.857) improved the Matadors' home record over the last three seasons to 36-7 (.837). Northridge's two home losses this season came at the hands of No. 2 UC Irvine on Mar. 13 and No. 2 Pepperdine on Apr. 1. The Matadors have never lost a postseason match at home.

NORTHRIDGE SETS SCHOOL SERVING RECORD With 219 service aces this season, the Matadors have obliterated the Northridge single season team record. The 1992 squad previously held the record with 185. Three Matadors on the `92 team had at least 20 aces, led by Axel Hager's 44. This season, six players have at least 20 aces, led by Eric Vance's single-season record of 56.

NORTHRIDGE NOTEBOOK Sophomore Tanner Nua rebounded from a pair of sub-par matches against UC San Diego and Long Beach State with a solid regular season finale at UC Santa Barbara. Nua knocked down 14 kills with just two errors in 19 swings to hit a season-high .632. Nua's previous season-best in hitting also came against the Gauchos when he hit .526 in Northridge's 3-0 win on Jan. 23 ... The Matadors' 16 MPSF wins is the second-most in school history. Last season, Northridge posted a school-record 17 conference wins ... The Matadors are now 20-2 on the season when winning the first set of the match.

SCOUTING THE COUGARS Fifth-ranked Brigham Young comes into Saturday's MPSF quarterfinal match with an overall record of 17-12. The Cougars, the sixth seed in the tournament, finished 13-9 in the conference standings after splitting two matches at No. 2 Pepperdine last weekend. BYU, 6-7 on the road this year, is led junior OH Andrew Stewart who averages a team-high 3.62 kpg. Junior OPP Mat Taylor adds 3.61 kpg for the Cougars who are hitting .279 as a team. Shawn Patchell (BYU, 1993) is in his third season as head coach at Brigham Young and sports an 65-23 overall and school record. Series Story: The Matadors trail 27-19 in the all-time series with the Cougars and snapped a five-match losing streak with a pair of 3-0 sweeps at home this season. Northridge defeated BYU 30-24, 30-28, 30-25 on Mar. 5 and then won 30-28, 30-24, 30-28 on Mar. 6 to sweep the season series from the Cougars for the first time since 1995. The Matadors are 10-9 all-time against BYU in The Matadome.


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