13th-Ranked Matadors Continue Homestand vs. No. 2 Stanford, Pacific This Week

Jan. 26, 2011

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Match #8

No. 2 Stanford (4-1, 3-1 MPSF) at No. 13 Northridge (2-5, 1-3 MPSF)

Friday, January 28, 2011 - 7 p.m. PST

The Matadome - Northridge, Calif.

Live Stats: GoMatadors.com (Gametracker)

Match #9

Pacific (3-3, 0-2 MPSF) at No. 13 Northridge (2-5, 1-3 MPSF)

Saturday, January 29, 2011 - 7 p.m. PST

The Matadome - Northridge, Calif.

Live Stats: GoMatadors.com (Gametracker)

Cal State Northridge (2-5, 1-3 MPSF) looks to get back on track this week as the 13th-ranked Matadors conclude a three-match homestand against No. 2 Stanford (4-1, 3-1 MPSF) and Pacific (3-3, 0-2 MPSF). The Matadors and Stanford meet on Friday and Northridge hosts Pacific on Saturday. Both matches begin at 7 p.m. The Matadors are seeking to put an end to a two-match skid as well as pick up their first home victory after dropping their home opener in three sets to No. 5 UC Santa Barbara on Friday.

Jeff Campbell is in his 14th season as head coach with 215 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 won his 195th match 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.

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 can also view and print the Matadors 2011 media guide online at GoMatadors.com. The guide features player information, photos, statistics and a complete men's volleyball history.

After one week with a number 11 national ranking in AVCA Coaches Top-15 Poll, the Matadors dropped two spots to 13th after a road loss at No. 3 UCLA and a home loss to No. 5 UCSB. Northridge, which earned a season-high 84 points last week, earned 53 points in this week's poll released Jan. 24. The last time the Matadors dipped to 13th was Mar. 5, 2002 when the Matadors had a 9-8 record. USC (4-0) received all 16 first-place votes this week to retain the No. 1 spot for the third straight week. Stanford (4-1) remained second followed by BYU (5-2), UCLA (6-2) and Long Beach State (4-3) which jumped form eighth to fifth. UC Santa Barbara (4-3) is sixth this week followed by UC Irvine (4-4), Pepperdine (2-3), Ohio State (3-2) and Penn State (4-1). This week's top-15 is rounded out by Hawai'i (1-4), Ball State (2-2), the Matadors (2-5), Loyola-Chicago (4-0) and UC San Diego (2-5). Northridge's Saturday opponent, Pacific, earned three points this week but is not among the top-15. The Matadors have now been ranked in the AVCA Top-15 for 154 consecutive weeks. The last time Northridge did not rank among the nation's top-15 was the first poll (Jan. 15) of the 2002 season.

It's a rare occurrence that a single true freshman makes an immediate impact on the Northridge men's volleyball team. Four players that have done the rare feat and made an immediate impact over the last seven years include Matt Stork (2009), Tanner Nua (2008), Mike Gaudino (2007) and Dan Rhodes (2004) but other than those four the list is rather short. So that makes it all the more remarkable that this season's Matador squad features a trio of true freshmen (Greg Faulkner, Brandon Lebrock, Cory Wagner) making significant contributions in the Matador starting lineup. Lebrock leads the team in kills (66), kills per game (2.54) and aces (7) and ranks second in digs (24) while Faulkner has contributed 33 kills (1.83 kpg) and 13 blocks while Wagner adds 17 kills (1.70 kpg) and 12 digs. The trio combined have accounted for 116 kills while hitting .277 compared to 167 kills and a .218 hitting clip for the other six Matador hitters.

Playing against ranked teams day in and day out is standard practice in the MPSF but the Matadors have played as tough a schedule as any team over the first three weeks of the season. Since defeating UC San Diego on Jan. 7, CSUN has taken on teams ranked #2, #1, #3, #3 and #5 in succession and with second-ranked Stanford looming on Friday the road doesn't get any easier. Northridge is 1-5 thus far in 2011 against ranked teams with the lone win coming at No. 3 Pepperdine on Jan. 15.

Junior setter Matt Stork (Topanga, Calif.) surpassed 3,400 career assists with 19 helpers at No. 3 UCLA last Wednesday (Jan. 19) but the UCLA match also put an end to his streak of 70 consecutive starts. Stork suffered an injury with the Matadors trailing 24-18 in the second set against the Bruins and did not return. The injury ultimately forced Stork to miss Northridge's Friday match against UC Santa Barbara ending his streak of 70 consecutive starts as the Matador setter. Stork had started all 70 matches since arriving at Cal State Northridge from Crespi High School in 2009. He now trails Gary Reznick by 113 assists for fifth place on the all-time list.

Senior Jeff Baxter (Simi Valley, Calif.) came into his final season with 85 career assists and nearly doubled that total with 48 assists in two matches last week. The three-year player came on for an injured Matt Stork at the tail end of the second set against UCLA and finished the match with 21 assists. Baxter then earned his first career start against UC Santa Barbara on Friday and dished out 27 assists in three sets. His career best 33 assists came in a relief role against NJIT in a non-conference match in 2009. Baxter's older brother, John ranks second in Northridge history in career assists with 5,164 when he started for the Matadors from 1998-2001.

The Matadors have now been swept three times in 2011, twice coming at the hands of UC Santa Barbara. In turn, Northridge had swept the Gauchos four times since the 2008 season ... CSUN has posted fewer kills than their opponent five times in their first seven matches ... The Matadors are hitting exactly the same (.247) in MPSF play as they are overall. Northridge ranks at the bottom of the conference in opponent hitting (.377) ... Sophomore Drew Staker (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Lebrock are the only two Matadors to have started all seven matches while Lebrock is the only player to have played in all 26 games ... Senior Tanner Nua (Palmdale, Calif.) has come off the bench in each of the last two matches but came through with a team-high six kills while hitting a season-best .364 against UCSB on Friday. His kill total was his best since putting down a season-high 13 in the second match of the season against UC San Diego. Nua has not served an ace since recording three in CSUN's 3-1 loss to UC Irvine on Jan. 8 ... Fellow opposite John Baker (Racine, Wis.) made the most of his first start of the season, knocking down 15 kills while hitting .433 in the Matadors' 3-2 win at Pepperdine on Jan. 15. But since then, Baker has just nine kills in five sets while hitting .000 ... Senior Kaleo Baxter (Kapaa, Hawai'i) dug a career-high 10 UCLA attacks on Wednesday. For the season, Baxter leads the Matadors with 45 digs (1.96 dpg) which ranks seventh in the MPSF ... Sophomore Jared Moore posted a career-high four kills in the four-set loss at UCLA.

STANFORD (4-1, 3-1 MPSF) @ NORTHRIDGE (2-5, 1-3 MPSF)
The 13th-ranked Matadors and second-ranked Cardinal will meet for the 59th time on Friday with Stanford holding a 33-25 edge in the all-time series. Northridge took two of three matches from the defending national champions in 2010 and have won seven of the last nine between the two teams dating back to 2008. The Cardinal split two matches at No. 13 Hawai'i last weekend dropping the opener in straight sets before winning the finale in five. Junior OH Brad Lawson leads Stanford in kills with 81 (4.05 kpg) which ranks fourth in the MPSF. Senior OH Spencer McLachlin adds 64 kills (3.76 kpg) while the Cardinal are hitting .310 as a team. The Matadors have not lost to Stanford at home since the 2005 season.

PACIFIC (3-3, 0-2 MPSF) @ NORTHRIDGE (2-5, 1-3 MPSF)
The 13th-ranked Matadors and Tigers will meet for the 30th time on Saturday with Northridge holding a 21-8 lead in the all-time series. The Matadors have defeated Pacific seven consecutive times dating back to 2007 and CSUN has won 10 of the last 12 overall between the two teams. Sophomore MB Taylor Hughes leads the Tigers with 77 kills (3.67 kpg) while junior OH Florian Gornik adds 50 kills (3.33 kpg). Pacific, which dropped a pair of conference matches to No. 4 BYU last weekend, is hitting .250 as a team.

11th-ranked Cal State Northridge wound up its six-match, season-opening road swing with a 25-19, 25-19, 22-25, 25-17 loss at third-ranked UCLA. Freshman Brandon Lebrock knocked down a match-high 12 kills, the fourth straight match the freshman has posted double figures in kills. He hit .308 in 26 swings to go with five digs and three blocks. Fellow freshman Greg Faulkner added a season-high 10 kills while hitting .467 in 15 attacks and freshman Cory Wagner chipped in eight kills (.263) and a season-high 10 digs. Faulkner also had a team-high five blocks, including three solo stuffs. Northridge then had its 2011 home opener spoiled by the visiting fifth-ranked UC Santa Barbara Gauchos as UCSB hit a Matadome record .667 on the way to a 25-22, 25-9, 25-20 victory over the Matadors in an MPSF match on Friday. Senior Tanner Nua led the Matadors (2-5, 1-3 MPSF) with six kills (.364) in the loss. A pair of freshmen, Brandon Lebrock and Greg Faulkner along with sophomore John Baker (.071) added five kills apiece with Lebrock hitting .571 to go with two aces and Faulkner posting a .273 clip in 11 swings. Senior Jeff Baxter, starting at setter for an injured Matt Stork, had 27 assists, two digs and assisted with Faulkner on the Matadors lone block of the match. CSUN hit .238 (28-13-63) as a team and had just 10 digs as a team.

Following the conclusion of their current three-match homestand, the Matadors head back east to take on Ohio State and Penn State as part of the Penn State Tournament. Northridge meets Ohio State Friday (Feb. 4) and takes on Penn State Saturday (Feb. 5) in a rematch of last season's NCAA semifinal match.


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