Matadors Wrap Up Three-Match Road Trip at #4 UC Irvine, UC San Diego This Week
MATCH #13 (MPSF Match #9):
No. 15 Northridge Matadors (4-8, 2-6 MPSF) at No. 4 UC Irvine Anteaters (10-3, 6-3 MPSF)
Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 - 7:00 p.m. PST
Bren Center (5,000) - Irvine, Calif.
Live Stats: ucirvinesports.com
Streaming Video: none
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors
MATCH #14 (MPSF Match #10):
No. 15 Northridge Matadors (4-8, 2-6 MPSF) at UC San Diego Tritons (3-11, 1-8 MPSF)
Friday, Feb. 24, 2012 - 7:00 p.m. PST
RIMAC Arena (5,000) - La Jolla, Calif.
Live Stats: ucsdtritons.com
Streaming Video: ucsdtritons.com
Audio: GoMatadors.com (Mark Schuermann, Alex Jones)
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors
Cal State Northridge (4-8, 2-6 MPSF) concludes a three match road trip this week as the 15th-ranked Matadors travel to fourth-ranked UC Irvine (10-3, 6-3 MPSF) on Wednesday and UC San Diego (3-11, 1-8 MPSF) on Friday. Both matches begin at 7 p.m. Northridge dropped its sixth straight road contest last week as the Matadors fell in three close sets at No. 15 UC Santa Barbara (25-23, 26-24, 25-23). This week's matches wrap up a season-opening stretch where the Matadors played 10 of their first 14 matches away from home.
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.
No. 11 Cal State Northridge traveled up the coast to Santa Barbara looking for its first road win but instead came away with its sixth road loss, this time 25-23, 26-24, 25-23 to the 15th-ranked Gauchos Wednesday at Rob Gym. In a tightly contested match, freshman Julius Hoefer had 11 kills (.161) and five blocks to lead the Matadors (4-8, 2-6 MPSF) in defeat. Junior Jared Moore added eight kills (.353) and four blocks and Brandon Lebrock chipped in six kills (.214) four digs and three blocks. UCSB (4-7, 2-5 MPSF) had 42 kills as a team to Northridge's 31 and had a 31-21 edge in digs, but the Matadors out-blocked the Gauchos 11.0-5.0 while each team had four aces.
MATADORS SLIP TO 15TH IN AVCA POLL
After falling in straight sets at No. 15 UC Santa Barbara in its only match last week, Cal State Northridge slipped four spots to 15th in this week's AVCA Coaches Top-15 Poll released Feb. 20. The Matadors earned a season-low 43 points in this week's poll, down 35 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 eight polls this season. Stanford (11-2) became the fourth team to hold the number one spot this season as the Cardinal jumped from fourth to first after receiving eight first-place votes and 258 points. UCLA (14-2) slipped to second followed by BYU (10-3), UC Irvine (10-3) and Penn State (10-1). USC (7-4) is sixth this week followed by Lewis (10-3), Ohio State (11-4), Long Beach State (7-6) and Pepperdine (7-5). This week's top-15 is filled out by Pacific (5-9), UC Santa Barbara (4-8), Hawai'i (6-9), Loyola-Chicago (8-6) and the Matadors (4-8).
THIS WEEK'S STORYLINES
Road wins continue to be scarce for the 15th-ranked Matadors who will again try for their first this week with matches at No. 4 UC Irvine and UC San Diego. Northridge has been swept in each of its last four road contests including a 25-23, 26-24, 25-23 setback at No. 15 UC Santa Barbara last week. Not since the 1998 season have the Matadors lost six straight on the road to open a season ... Northridge holds a 33-20 lead in the series over UC Irvine but has lost four straight to the Anteaters. The Matadors have taken just two sets from UCI over the last four matches ... Northridge looks to continue its dominance over UC San Diego which dates back to 1988, the last time the Matadors lost to the Tritons. Northridge is 64-6 all-time against UCSD which includes a 32-4 record in matches played in La Jolla.
NINE-MATCH HOMESTAND AROUND THE CORNER
Following road matches at UC Irvine and UC San Diego this week, the Matadors will open their longest homestand since 2004 against UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 29. Northridge will play virtually the entire month of March at home with nine straight matches in The Matadome from Feb. 29-Mar. 24. The month will close with a pair of road contests at BYU. The Matadors had their three-match home winning streak snapped with a 3-1 loss to No. 4 Stanford on Feb. 11 but remain 3-1 on the home court this season. The last time Northridge enjoyed such a lengthy homestand was 2004 when the Matadors played 11 straight on their home court, winning seven.
MATADORS STAYING IN THE MIDDLE
Since reconnecting in the starting lineup Feb. 10 against Pacific, juniors Drew Staker and Jared Moore have formed a formidable duo in the middle. Trying to match the recent success of the Kevin McKniff-Jacek Ratajczak middle combination would be next to impossible but Staker and Moore have had success both hitting and blocking in recent matches. Moore continues to lead the entire MPSF in hitting at .526 and matched McKniff's school record with 13 kills in 14 swings without an error against Stanford. He is also the team's third-leading blocker at 0.95 per game. After some early season struggles, Staker has vaulted himself into the top-10 in the conference in blocking and after hitting .412 over the last four matches has upped his hitting percentage to a season-high .302. With 10 blocks in two of his last three matches, Staker now ranks sixth in the MPSF and 21st in the nation in blocking at 1.03 per game.
STORK LOOKS TO REVERSE RECENT TREND
Senior Matt Stork gets his first crack at knocking off his younger brother when the Matadors travel to UC Irvine on Wednesday. Daniel Stork spearheads the Anteater offense averaging 11.73 assists per game while leading UCI to a 10-3 record. The elder Stork hasn't been as fortunate. After hitting a combined .356 in back-to-back matches against Cal Baptist and Long Beach State, Stork has struggled to find his rhythm offensively lately hitting .054 over his last three matches. After switching from setter to outside hitter full-time this season, Stork has reached double figures in kills just four times in 11 matches while hitting .154 for the season. Compare that to last year when Stork switched to outside hitter midway through the season and pounded double figure kills in eight of 11 matches while hitting nearly .300.
Stork is not the only Matador hitter struggling lately. After hitting a season-high .485 in the Matadors' five-set win over Cal Baptist on Jan. 28, freshman Julius Hoefer is hitting .171 over his last four matches and 111 swings. Although he is still averaging 3.00 kills per game over that span, the opposite from Steingaden, Germany has dropped to 10th in the MPSF averaging 3.51 kpg ... Nearing the halfway point in the 22-match conference season, the Matadors sit at 2-6 which is the exact same spot they were in last season before topping UC San Diego for their third MPSF win ... Head coach Jeff Campbell has 26 wins over UC San Diego, the most wins over any team he has coached against. Campbell has beaten UC Santa Barbara and USC 21 times each ... The Matadors head into this week's matches ranked 11th in the nation in team blocking at 2.57 bpg.
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 road matches this week at UC Irvine and UC San Diego, the Matadors will open up a season-long, nine-match homestand against UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 29. In addition to the Gauchos, UCLA, Ball State, Loyola, Harvard, UC Irvine, UC San Diego and Hawaii will visit The Matadome over the next month.
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