March 28, 2012

Northridge Opens Four-Match Road Trip With a Pair at No. 4 BYU

MATCH #24 (MPSF Match #17):

No. 12 Northridge Matadors (10-13, 6-10 MPSF) at No. 4 BYU Cougars (18-5, 14-4 MPSF)

Thursday, Mar. 29, 2012 - 7:00 p.m. PST
Smith Fieldhouse (5,000) - Provo, Utah
Live Stats: Gametracker
Streaming Video: BYU TV
Audio: BYUCougars.com
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors


MATCH #25 (MPSF Match #18):

No. 12 Hawai'i Warriors (7-14, 4-12 MPSF) at No. 14 Northridge Matadors (8-13, 4-10 MPSF)

Friday, Mar. 30, 2012 - 7:00 p.m. PST
Smith Fieldhouse (5,000) - Provo, Utah
Live Stats: Gametracker
Streaming Video: BYU TV
Audio: BYUCougars.com
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors

Weekly Match Notes (PDF)


FOR STARTERS

Coming off a successful nine-match homestand, Cal State Northridge (10-13, 6-10 MPSF) opens up a four-match road trip Thursday as the 12th-ranked Matadors play the first of a two-match set at No. 4 Brigham Young (18-5, 14-4 MPSF). Northridge will finish up the road portion of the 2012 regular season next week at Stanford and Pacific. The Matadors finished their 5-4 homestand on a positive note, taking a pair 12th-ranked Hawai'i for the first time since 2008.

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.

TO RECAP

Behind a career-high 27 kills from freshman Julius Hoefer, 14th-ranked Cal State Northridge snapped a three-match losing streak and posted an important 25-12, 21-25, 25-20, 25-21 win over 12th-ranked Hawai'i in the opener of a two-match MPSF set Friday at The Matadome. Hoefer, who had not started at opposite since Feb. 29 against UC Santa Barbara, looked like he hadn't missed a beat as he struck for a career-high 27 kills in 45 swings while hitting .422. Hoefer got help from sophomore Brandon Lebrock who added 15 kills (.414), two of Northridge's three aces, four digs and five blocks. Then on Saturday, Hoefer and Lebrock combined for 34 of Northridge's 50 kills as the 14th-ranked Matadors defeated No. 12 Hawai'i for the second straight night. In front of national audience on ESPN3, Hoefer had a match-high 19 kills while Lebrock added 15 kills.

MATADORS JUMP TWO SPOTS TO 12TH IN AVCA POLL

After knocking off No. 12 Hawaii in successive matches last week, Cal State Northridge jumped two spots from 14th to 12th in this week's AVCA Coaches Top-15 Poll released Mar. 26. After earning a season-low 30 points last week, the Matadors earned 75 points in this week's poll, the most for Northridge since Feb. 13. Northridge has now been ranked in all 13 polls this season and in 168 of the last 180 weekly polls dating back to 2002. The Matadors last were unranked for a period of 12 weeks (Feb. 7-May 2) during the 2011 season. UC Irvine (18-3) remained in the top spot for the third straight week as the Anteaters earned all 16 first-place votes and 270 total points. USC (16-4) remained second this week followed by UCLA (19-4), BYU (18-5) and Stanford (14-5). Lewis (19-4) is sixth this week followed by Pepperdine (12-10), Penn State (16-3), Long Beach State (11-12) and Ohio State (14-8). This week's top-15 is filled out by Pacific (7-14), the Matadors (10-13), UC San Diego (6-16), Hawaii (7-16) and UC Santa Barbara (5-15).

THIS WEEK'S STORYLINES

The Matadors come into this week's two-match set at BYU having won two straight against No. 12 Hawaii, while the Cougars had their seven-match win streak snapped by No. 9 Long Beach State on Saturday. Both teams are hot lately as Northridge has won six of its last 10 while BYU has won 12 of its last 14. The Matadors, who have not played a road match since Feb. 24 at UC San Diego, have struggled on the road this season dropping seven of eight. The Cougars are 9-3 at home and are historically tough to beat in Smith Fieldhouse. Northridge is a respectable 9-17 all-time in Provo and won its most recent match on BYU's home court (3-2 in 2010). Senior opposite Robb Stowell leads BYU with 291 kills while sophomore outside hitter Taylor Sander averages a team-high 4.84 kpg while hitting .395 on the season. Northridge, which has relied on freshman opposite Julius Hoefer and sophomore outside hitter Brandon Lebrock of late, hopes to have senior Matt Stork back this weekend after missing the last four matches with an injury. Hoefer leads the Matadors averaging 3.14 kpg while Stork adds 2.87 kpg.

MPSF PLAYOFF PICTURE

Entering the final three weeks of the 2012 regular season, the battle for the final three spots in the MPSF Tournament remains a seven-team race. With UC Irvine, UCLA, BYU, USC and Stanford already clinching tournament spots, Pepperdine (7-9) currently holds a one-game lead over both the Matadors (6-10) and Long Beach State (6-10) for the sixth spot. Northridge and Long Beach have a 1.5 game lead over Pacific (4-11) for the final two postseason spots. UC San Diego (4-13) is 2.5-games behind while both Hawaii (4-14) and UC Santa Barbara (3-13) are three games back heading into this week's matches. Pepperdine (four home, two away), the Matadors (two home, four away) and Long Beach State (two home, four away) all have six conference matches remaining (two home, four away) while Pacific has seven matches remaining (four home, three road) and will host the Matadors on Apr. 6. Northridge looks to qualify for the postseason after missing the 2011 MPSF Tournament, the first time in 10 years the Matadors failed to reach the postseason.

HOEFER NAMED MPSF PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Cal State Northridge men's volleyball earned its first MPSF Player of the Week honor since 2010 when freshman opposite Julius Hoefer was honored by the conference on Monday after leading the 14th-ranked Matadors to a pair of wins over No. 12 Hawai'i last weekend. Hoefer, a true freshman from Steingaden, Germany, helped the Matadors to their first season sweep of Hawai'i since 2008 as he pounded a career-high 27 kills on Friday before posting 19 kills on Saturday. For the week, Hoefer averaged 5.75 kills per set while hitting .365 in 85 swings. He also averaged 1.50 digs per set and came within one dig of his first collegiate double-double in Saturday's win. Hoefer becomes the first Matador player since Kevin McKniff in 2010 to win conference Player of the Week honors. Northridge has now received the weekly honor 16 times over the last seven seasons.

NORTHRIDGE NOTES

The Matadors completed their season-long, nine-match homestand with a record of 5-4 but two of those losses came against the AVCA's top-ranked team in UCLA (Mar. 2) and  UC Irvine (Mar. 14) ... Since stepping in for an injured Matt Stork against UC Irvine on Mar. 14, redshirt freshman Kyle Stevenson has hit a solid .328 in four starts. Stevenson put down a season-high nine kills against UC San Diego on Mar. 16 and matched that with nine kills and a .571 clip against Hawaii on Saturday ... By picking up their 10th win of the season on Saturday, the Matadors have now earned double figure wins in 12 of the last 13 seasons. Jeff Campbell has now posted double figure win totals in 13 of his 15 seasons at the helm ... The two 3-1 wins over Hawaii were Northridge's first four-set wins this season.

CAMPBELL PICKS UP 225TH CAREER WIN

Having become Cal State Northridge men's volleyball's all-time winningest coach in 2010, Jeff Campbell picked up the latest milestone win of his 15-year Matador career. Northridge's 3-0 win at UC San Diego on Feb. 24 gave the Matador boss his 225th career victory. Campbell, who now has a career record of 230-202 (.532), reached the 150 and 200 career wins over the last four seasons and now sets his sights on his 250th career win. 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) Campbell has now posted double figure win totals in 13 of his 15 seasons on the bench and notched a career-best 24 wins in 2009.

UP NEXT

Following a pair of matches at BYU this week, the Matadors will conclude the road portion of the 2012 regular season next week as Northridge visits Pacific (Apr. 6) and Stanford (Apr. 7) before returning home to wrap up the regular season against Pepperdine and USC (Apr. 12-14).

- GO MATADORS -

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