MATCH #12 (MPSF Match #8):
No. 11 Northridge Matadors (4-7, 2-5 MPSF) at No. 15 UCSB Gauchos (3-7, 1-5 MPSF)
Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012 - 7:00 p.m. PST
Rob Gym (3,000) - Santa Barbara, Calif.
Live Stats: GoMatadors.com
Streaming Video: none
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors
Cal State Northridge (4-7, 2-5 MPSF) opens up a stretch of three straight road matches over the next two weeks with a single match this week as the 11th-ranked Matadors travel to No. 15 UC Santa Barbara (3-7, 1-5 MPSF) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Northridge split a pair of home matches last week, defeating No. 15 Pacific in five sets before falling to fourth-ranked Stanford in four. The Matadors are still looking for their first road win of the season as they are 0-5 away from The Matadome.
NORTHRIDGE ON THE NET
Follow Cal State 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 feature live stats via Gametracker. In addition, select home and road matches will be broadcast live with Mark Schuermann handling the play-by-play and Alex Jones providing analysis. Fans can also follow the Matadors at Twitter.com/gomatadors and YouTube.com/northridgeathletics. Fans can also view and print the Matadors 2012 Record Book online at GoMatadors.com. The guide features statistics and a complete men's volleyball history.
The Matadors scratched out their third five-set win of the season Friday against the visiting 15th-ranked Pacific Tigers. Freshman opposite Julius Hoefer overcame a slow start to put down a team-high 15 kills (.226) to go with five blocks (one solo) and three digs. Brandon Lebrock added season-highs of 13 kills (.269) and nine digs and Jared Moore chipped in 10 kills (.444) and four blocks. The Matadors also got six kills (.308) and a career-high 10 blocks (two solo) from Drew Staker while setter Filip Tomicic matched his season-high with 54 assists. On Saturday, a trio of Cal State Northridge hitters reached double figures, led by Moore's team-high 13 kills, but the 11th-ranked Matadors suffered their first home loss as the fourth-ranked Stanford Cardinal handed Northridge a 25-22, 18-25, 25-22, 25-19 loss Saturday in The Matadome. The Matadors, seeking their first 4-0 start at home since 2009, were out-pointed by the Cardinal by a slim margin (68.0-65.0) despite being out-killed 56-44 and out-dug 40-19. Northridge put up a season-high 18.0 team blocks and forced Stanford into 26 hitting errors which kept them in each and every set.
MATADORS REMAIN 11TH IN AVCA TOP-15
After splitting with No. 15 Pacific and No. 4 Stanford last week, Cal State Northridge remained 11th in this week's AVCA Coaches Top-15 Poll released Feb. 13. The Matadors earned 78 points in this week's poll, up seven points from last week's poll. Northridge, which had been ranked in the AVCA Top-15 for 155 consecutive weeks prior to Feb. 7, 2011, has now been ranked in all seven polls this season. UCLA (12-1) retained the number one ranking for the second straight week as the Bruins earned 14 first-place votes and 238 points. UC Irvine (9-2) remained second this week with 222 points (two first-place votes) followed by BYU (8-3), Stanford (9-2) and Penn State (8-1). USC (6-4) is sixth this week followed by Lewis (8-3), Ohio State (9-4), Pepperdine (6-5) and Long Beach State (5-4). This week's top-15 is filled out by the Matadors (4-7), Pacific (4-8), Hawai'i (6-7), Loyola-Chicago (6-6) and Northridge's Wednesday opponent UC Santa Barbara (3-7).
THIS WEEK'S STORYLINES
The 11th-ranked Matadors head back out on the road for their next three matches looking for their first true road win. Northridge has a neutral site win over Loyola-Chicago but has yet to post a victory on an opposing teams court where the Matadors are 0-5 ... On Wednesday, Northridge will look to avenge an earlier road loss at UCSB. The Gauchos topped the Matadors in four sets in the second match of the season on Jan. 6 behind a match-high 19 kills from Miles Evans. Matt Stork paced Northridge with 17 kills while Julius Hoefer added 13 but the Matadors were out-hit .287-.194 ... After winning six straight in Santa Barbara from 2008-10, Northridge has lost its last two matches at UCSB's Rob Gym.
CAMPBELL ZEROES IN ON STARTING LINEUP
Over the first nine matches of the season, Matador head coach Jeff Campbell had used nine different combinations in his starting seven. But the situation grew clearer over the last two matches as Campbell went with the same starters against both Pacific and Stanford. With Jared Moore and Drew Staker forming a solid duo in the middle, the Matadors put up a season-high 18 team blocks against Stanford. Staker posted a career-high 10 blocks in each of the last two matches. Hoefer and Stork have been the only constants in the starting lineup this season with each starting 10 of 11 matches. Filip Tomicic and Brandon Lebrock have been in the starting lineup seven times with Sina Aghassy picking up the last six starts at libero.
MOORE EQUALS MCKNIFF'S HITTING PERFORMANCE
Junior Jared Moore etched his name in the Matador single-match record books with his hitting performance against Stanford on Saturday. In addition to setting a career-high with 13 kills, Moore did so in 14 attacks without a single hitting error to match Kevin McKniff's two year-old school record of .929. McKniff also put down 13 kills in 14 swings without an error to hit .929 against UCLA on Feb. 19, 2010. Moore's efficient hitting also moved him to the top of the MPSF in hitting percentage at .557 (61-7-97). In seven conference matches, Moore is hitting a conference-best .591 (44-5-66). The junior from Corona, Calif., would lead the entire NCAA in hitting but does not currently meet the minimum attempts per game of 4.00.
DIGGING AN EARLY HOLE
By dropping the opening set in both matches last weekend, the Matadors have now lost set one in eight of 11 matches so far this season. In just two of those eight matches has Northridge been able to come back and win the match (vs. Long Beach State, vs. Pacific). In addition to dropping the opening set, the Matadors are also digging themselves a hole on the scoreboard in set one. In each of the last three matches, Northridge has fallen behind by at least five points before the mid-point of the set. The Matadors went down early 8-2 against Stanford, fell behind 9-4 to Pacific and were behind 11-5 after 16 points at Long Beach State.
Freshman Julius Hoefer has proven to be a solid all-around player in his first season of collegiate volleyball. Hoefer currently leads the Matadors in kills (140), kills per game (3.50), attacks (312) and aces (8) and is second on the squad in blocks (36) and digs (41). The opposite from Steingaden, Germany had led the Matadors in kills in each of the last seven matches before Moore claimed team-high honors with 13 against Stanford ... With a team-high five digs against Stanford, senior Matt Stork reached 500 digs in his Matador career. Stork now ranks eighth in career digs on the all-time rally scoring era list (2001-present) ... Setter Filip Tomicic has registered a season-high 54 assists in two of the Matadors last four matches, both wins. Tomicic had 54 helpers against Cal Baptist on Jan. 27 and again vs. Pacific on Friday ... Junior John Baker came off the bench to provide a crucial spark against Pacific. With Hoefer struggling, Baker came in and served two aces to go with a pair of kills and one dig as the Matadors won the fourth set 25-18 ... Northridge is 4-7 after 11 matches, a two-win improvement over the 2-9 start in 2011. The 2009 and 2010 were both 9-2 after 11 matches which equals the best start in school history.
CAMPBELL APPROACHES 225 CAREER WINS
Having become Cal State Northridge men's volleyball's all-time winningest coach in 2010, Jeff Campbell is fast approaching his next milestone win which would be the 225th of his 15-year Matador career. Campbell reached the 150 and 200 career wins over the last four seasons and after defeating Pacific now has 224 career victories. Currently, the third-longest tenured head coach at Cal State Northridge (men's golf coach Jim Bracken is in his 26th season & men's basketball head coach Bobby Braswell is in his 16th season) has posted double figure win totals in 12 of his 14 previous seasons on the bench and notched a career-best 24 wins in 2009.
Following this Wednesday's single match at UC Santa Barbara, the Matadors will play two more road matches at UC Irvine (Feb. 22) and UC San Diego (Feb. 24) before opening up a season-long, nine-match homestand against UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 29.
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