Cal State Northridge was picked to finish eighth in the 2013 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Men's Volleyball Preseason Coaches Poll released Tuesday, Dec. 11. The Matadors, coming off a 12-18 season in 2012, return all but two starters as they seek their second straight postseason berth after missing out in 2011.
Northridge earned 61 points from the MPSF coaches and if the preseason poll proves accurate, the Matadors would claim the eighth and final spot in the MPSF Tournament. CSUN was picked to finish sixth last season before ending the season in eighth place and falling to top-ranked USC in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament.
Defending NCAA champions UC Irvine were named the MPSF favorite heading into the 2013 season. Despite a new head coach, the Anteaters were awarded 11 first place votes and 143 points overall to edge BYU in the preseason poll. The Cougars earned the final two first place votes and 134 points while Pepperdine (113 pts) was third followed by Stanford (110) and UCLA (94).
The next half of the preseason predictions has Long Beach State (85) in sixth, defending MPSF champions USC (83) in seventh, the Matadors (61) in eighth, UC Santa Barbara (55) in ninth and Cal Baptist (49) in 10th. The Lancers will be making their conference debut in 2013.
The final third of the poll has Pacific (35) 11th, Hawaii (30) 12th and UC San Diego (22) 13th.
The Matadors welcome back several key members of their 2012 squad including junior Brandon Lebrock who earned All-MPSF honorable mention accolades last season. With the loss of Julius Hoefer, Lebrock is CSUN's top returner in kills with 260. The junior outside hitter took a career-high 608 swings as a sophomore and could be counted on for similar results in 2013.
After utilizing three setters in 2012, head coach Jeff Campbell is expected to hand over the offense to true sophomore Travis Magorien. Magorien appeared in 24 matches as a freshman, starting five times while handing out 293 assists (4.73 apg). At 6-5, the sophomore also had 19 blocks during his freshman campaign.
A trio of seniors also grace the 2013 roster as John Baker, Jared Moore and Drew Staker look to close out their Matador careers on a high note. Both Baker and Moore have been in the program since 2009 while Staker played as a true freshman on the CSUN team that reached the NCAA Final Four in 2010.
The Matadors will also welcome back Greg Faulkner in the middle after he missed a majority of the 2012 season due to injury. Faulkner was an MPSF All-Freshman selection in 2011 after hitting .363 with 69 blocks.
Several first-year players are expected to challenge for spots in the starting lineup after a solid fall exhibition season that saw CSUN perform well at tournaments at USC and UCLA.
The Matadors will get the 2013 season underway with a pair exhibitions against Canadian schools at USC in early January. CSUN will take on Alberta on Jan. 3 at 3 p.m. and British Columbia on Jan. 4 at 5 p.m. The season officially opens Jan. 8 at UCLA with the Matadors' home opener scheduled for Jan. 11 against UC Santa Barbara.
2013 MPSF MEN'S VOLLEYBALL
PRESEASON COACHES POLL
1. UC Irvine (11) - 143 points
2. BYU (2) - 134 points
3. Pepperdine - 113 points
4. Stanford - 110 points
5. UCLA - 94 points
6. Long Beach State - 85 points
7. USC - 83 points
8. Cal State Northridge - 61 points
9. UC Santa Barbara - 55 points
10. Cal Baptist - 49 points
11. Pacific - 35 points
12. Hawaii - 30 points
13. UC San Diego - 22 points
() - First-place votes
- GO MATADORS -