12th-Ranked Matadors Travel to UCSB Collegiate Invitational To Open 2011 Season

Jan. 6, 2011

Week One Notes in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

UCSB Collegiate Invitational Tournament Page


Match #1

No. 12 Northridge (0-0) at 10 UC Santa Barbara (0-0)

Friday, January 7, 2011 - 10 a.m. PST

Rob Gym - Santa Barbara, Calif.

Live Stats: ucsbgauchos.com (Gametracker)

Match #2

No. 12 Northridge (0-0) vs. No. 9 UCLA (0-0) or UC San Diego (0-0)

Friday, January 7, 2011 - 7:30 p.m. PST

The Thunderdome - Santa Barbara, Calif.

Match #3

No. 12 Northridge (0-0) vs. TBD

Saturday, January 8, 2011 - TBD

The Thunderdome - Santa Barbara, Calif.

Live Stats: ucsbgauchos.com (Gametracker)

Following its first trip to the NCAA Tournament in 17 years last season, Cal State Northridge opens its 35th season of men's volleyball Friday at the UCSB Collegiate Invitational in Santa Barbara, Calif. The Matadors, ranked 12th in the AVCA Preseason Poll and the two-time defending tournament champions, open tournament action Friday at 10 a.m. against the host and 10th-ranked UCSB Gauchos. Northridge will then take on either ninth-ranked UCLA or UC San Diego Friday at 7:30 p.m. Northridge will play a single match on Saturday at a time yet to be determined. Other teams competing in the season-opening tournament include No. 5 BYU, Cal Baptist, No. 11 Long Beach State and No. 2 UC Irvine.

Jeff Campbell opens his 14th season as head coach with 213 career wins, the most in Northridge men's volleyball history. With the Matadors' 3-0 win at Long Beach State on Jan. 15, 2010, Campbell became the winningest coach in CSUN men's volleyball history 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.

Friday marks the Matadors' ninth straight appearance in UC Santa Barbara's annual tournament. Northridge comes into the 2011 Invitational as the two-time defending champions. In years past the 46-year old tournament was called the UCSB/Elephant Bar Invitational but has been renamed the UCSB Collegiate Invitational this year. Northridge has played in the tournament 13 times since 1996. The Matadors did not participate in either 2001 or 2002 and since 2003 the Invitational has been pared down from a 24-team field to its current eight-team format. Northridge won its first-ever tournament championship in 2009 after upsetting No. 2 UCLA (3-1) and defeating No. 14 UCSB (3-1) and No. 8 Stanford (3-1). The Matadors then won their second straight crown last season after topping UCSB (3-1), Cal Baptist (3-1) and BYU (3-1). Northridge has finished 2-1 in the tournament five times since 2003, most recently in 2008. Northridge also reached the championship match in 2004 and 2005, falling to UCLA each time. All-time, the Matadors are 36-23 (.610) in UC Santa Barbara's tournament.

After closing the 2010 season by matching its highest ever final national ranking (No. 3), Northridge opens 2011 ranked 12th. The Matadors earned 62 points in the season's inaugural poll released Jan. 5. USC received 10 of 16 first-place votes and opens at No. 1 with 232 points. UC Irvine, which earned five first-place votes, is second with 225 points followed by Pepperdine (200) which received the remaining first-place vote. Stanford (194) and BYU (177) round out the preseason top-five. Hawaii (162) is sixth followed by Ohio State (136), Penn State (128), UCLA (118) and UC Santa Barbara (102). The preseason top-15 is rounded out by Long Beach State (78), the Matadors, Loyola-Chicago (45), Lewis (30) and Ball State (73).

The Matadors in 2011 will look vastly different from the team that reached the NCAA Final Four last May. Gone are senior starters Theo Edwards, Mike Gaudino, Ali'i Keohohou, Kevin McKniff and Jacek Ratajczak but returning are junior setter Matt Stork, senior opposite Tanner Nua, sophomore outside hitter John Baker and sophomore middle blocker Drew Staker. Stork, who has started every match in his two seasons, will look to Nua and Staker and Baker as well as a host of newcomers including true freshman outside hitters Brandon Lebrock (Northridge, Calif./Crespi HS) and Cory Wagner (Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa Canyon HS). Also looking the crack the starting lineup are a trio of 2010 redshirts in senior Kaleo Baxter, freshman Charlie Condron (Huntington Beach, Calif./Huntington Beach HS) and freshman Marty Lorenz (Spokane, Wash./Ferris HS).

Junior Matt Stork opens his third season as the Matadors' starting setter ranked sixth in school history in career assists with 3,214. The most decorated player on the 2011 roster, Stork was an All-MPSF third team selection as well an All-Freshman Team pick in his first season (2009) after leading the nation in assists per game. Last season as a sophomore, Stork was named All-MPSF honorable mention after finishing fourth in the MPSF in assists per game. Statistically, he had his best season last year posting career-highs in assists (1,626), digs (212) and blocks (84).

Senior Tanner Nua is looking to wrap up his Northridge career with a solid senior season. Nua, a three-year starter at opposite hitter, comes into his senior season with 629 career kills (2.78 kills per game). After posting 317 kills and 375.5 points as a sophomore, Nua dipped to 242 kills and 285.5 points during his junior campaign. One of the stronger servers in the conference, Nua has 71 career aces, including 57 over the last two seasons.

The Matadors and Gauchos will meet for the 79th time on Friday with UCSB holding a 42-36 edge in the all-time series. Northridge, however, has had the Gauchos number of late winning nine straight and 14 of the last 16 matches between the two teams. The Matadors have beaten UCSB three consecutive times in the Gaucho-hosted UCSB tournament, including a 31-29, 28-30, 30-17, 30-19 win last season. Santa Barbara was picked to finish eighth in the MPSF after a 13-16 (9-13 MPSF) finish last season.

Senior Tanner Nua had a team-high 10 kills while hitting .333 as Cal State Northridge defeated Laval University in an exhibition match Wednesday afternoon. Nua, who played in three of the four games, had 10 kills in 21 swings with three hitting errors and also added six digs and five blocks. Redshirt freshman Marty Lorenz and freshman Brandon Lebrock each added seven kills with Lorenz hitting .455 from the middle. Sophomore Dillon Auxier came off the bench to knock down six kills in 21 attacks (.190) and sophomore Drew Staker chipped in five kills (.625) and four blocks. Lebrock and setter Matt Stork each had three aces as the Matadors served seven aces as a team. Stork had 36 assists and 13 digs as Northridge hit .278 (44-14-108) in the first outing of 2011.

2010 marked another banner season for Cal State Northridge men's volleyball. Although the season ended in disappointing fashion in the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament, the 2010 Matadors firmly etched their names in the history of Northridge men's volleyball. The Matadors finished with an overall record of 23-10 and were 15-7 in the ultra-competitive Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. It was Northridge's third straight season of at least 23 wins and the school's best-ever conference finish (tied for second). The Matadors will look to the play of its five graduating seniors as the benchmark of the 2010 season. The play of Kevin McKniff and Jacek Ratajczak in the middle became well known across the nation and the two ultimately earned first team AVCA All-America honors. As a team, CSUN wound up ranked third in the national rankings, its highest since 1993.

Follow Matador volleyball online at the official online home of Cal State Northridge athletics, www.GoMatadors.com. 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 Twitter.com/gomatadors and YouTube.com/northridgeathletics.

Fans of Matador men's volleyball can view the Northridge 2011 media guide online at www.GoMatadors.com. The new guide features photos, player information, statistics and a complete Matador men's volleyball history.


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