Matadors Picked Eighth in MPSF Men's Volleyball Preseason Coaches Poll

Dec. 15, 2009

Coming off its first-ever 24-win season and a berth in the MPSF Tournament Semifinals, Cal State Northridge was picked to finish eighth in the 2010 MPSF Preseason Coaches Poll released Dec. 9 by the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.

The Matadors, who finished third in the MPSF for the second straight season in 2009, earned 51 points overall and were slotted eighth. Despite returning five starters, plus libero Ali'i Keohohou, Northridge will have to replace departed senior and two-time First Team AVCA All-American Eric Vance.

"This poll shows how competitive the MPSF is," said Matador Head Coach Jeff Campbell. "We will have to compete every night against every team and we are looking forward to that challenge. Of course losing a player like Eric is never easy but we believe we have the pieces in place to challenge in the conference and compete for a national championship."

The 2010 Matadors will be led by a trio of seniors, Jacek Ratajczak, Kevin McKniff and Mike Gaudino. Ratajczak, a 7-0 middle blocker from Warsaw, Poland, was a Second Team AVCA All-American in 2009 while McKniff was named to the All-MPSF Third Team. Gaudino finished third on the squad last season with 306 kills (2.83 kpg) and served 43 aces which is 10th-best in Northridge single season history.

Sophomore setter Matt Stork also returns from a 2009 campaign that saw him named Third Team All-MPSF as well as to the MPSF All-Freshman Team. Junior opposite Tanner Nua rounds out the returning starters after finishing second on the Matadors in kills (317) to go with 33 aces during his sophomore season.

Northridge opens the 2010 season on Jan. 7 at the UCSB/Elephant Bar Invitational. The Matadors open the home schedule as well as the MPSF campaign Jan. 13 against UC San Diego.

Complete Release Courtesy of the MPSF

Defending conference champion USC picked up 112 points and five first-place votes in topping the 2010 MPSF Men's Volleyball Preseason Coaches' Poll. The Trojans tied for fifth in the regular season last year, though won their first-ever conference tournament championship and finished second at the NCAA Tournament. But for the libero and a pair of reserves, the Trojans return their entire roster, including All-American hitters Murphy Troy and Tony Ciarelli and NCAA All-Tournament selections Austin Zahn and Riley McKibbin.

Defending national champion UC Irvine placed second in the poll, just two points out of first, also owning five first-place votes. The Anteaters return three All-Americans in Carson Clark, Kevin Wynne, and Jordan DuFault. Clark was named the '09 MPSF Freshman of the Year.

Stanford came in third with 97 points. The Cardinal returns all but one starter, including First-Team All-Americans Kawika and Erik Shoji.

BYU returns all of its starters, including All-MPSF Honorees Andrew Stewart and Futi Tavana, checking in with 88 points and one first-place vote. Pepperdine placed fifth by collecting 82 points, coming off a second-place finish last year, while UCLA completed the top half of the poll with 74 points and one top vote. Long Beach State and Cal State Northridge are projected to reach the MPSF Playoffs, taking seventh and eighth, respectively.

Hawaii, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, and Pacific rounded out the picks for the upcoming year. The top eight finishers after 22 regular season conference matches advance to the MPSF Championship Tournament. Several tournaments will be held from January 7-9 to begin the season, while the first night of MPSF action takes place on Wednesday, January 13.


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