Matadors Travel to Top-Seeded USC for MPSF Tournament Quarterfinals
MATCH #30 (MPSF Tournament Quarterfinals):
No. 8 seed Northridge Matadors (12-17, 8-14 MPSF) at No. 1 seed USC Trojans (22-4, 18-4 MPSF)
Saturday, Apr. 21, 2012 - 7:00 p.m. PDT
Galen Center (10,258) - Los Angeles, Calif.
Live Stats: usctrojans.com (Gametracker)
Streaming Video: usctrojans.com
Audio: GoMatadors.com (Mark Schuermann)
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors
After a one-year absence, Cal State Northridge (12-17, 8-14 MPSF) is back in the MPSF Tournament as the eighth-seeded Matadors travel to top-seeded USC (22-4, 18-4 MPSF) for a quarterfinal match Saturday, Apr. 21 at 7 p.m. Northridge punched its postseason ticket by upsetting No. 6 Pepperdine in four sets last Thursday, Apr. 12. The winner of Saturday's match will advance to the MPSF semifinals on Thursday, Apr. 26.
NORTHRIDGE ON THE NET
Follow Cal State Matador volleyball online at the official online home of Cal State Northridge athletics, www.GoMatadors.com. Saturday's MPSF quarterfinal match 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 view and print the Matadors 2012 Record Book online at GoMatadors.com. The guide features statistics and a complete men's volleyball history.
Sophomore Brandon Lebrock matched his career-high with 21 kills as 11th-ranked Cal State Northridge wrapped up the eighth and final position in the MPSF Tournament with a 25-20, 17-25, 25-19, 25-21 victory over sixth-ranked Pepperdine Thursday at The Matadome. Lebrock, who set a career-high with 21 kills at Stanford last Saturday, matched that total on Thursday while hitting an impressive .421 in 38 attacks. The sophomore outside hitter also added a pair of aces, five digs and two blocks. Junior John Baker came off the bench to add 10 kills (.240) and five blocks and fellow junior Jared Moore posted a career-high 10 blocks as Northridge out-blocked Pepperdine 15.0-10.0. In the regular season finale, top-ranked USC handed the Matadors 25-19, 28-26, 25-17 loss. In the regular season finale, Baker led the Matadors with 11 kills but hit just .150 in 20 swings while Brandon Lebrock added 10 kills (.200) in 25 attacks. Northridge honored departing seniors Danny Rodrick and Matt Stork in prematch festivities. Stork, who has been hampered by an injury over the last month, started but was not his usual self and took just two swings in his one and only set. Rodrick dished out 35 assists while leading the Matadors to a .247 hitting clip in his final home appearance.
MATADORS REMAIN 11TH IN AVCA TOP-15 POLL
Despite upsetting No. 6 Pepperdine in four sets last week, Cal State Northridge remained 11th in this week's AVCA Coaches Top-15 Poll released Apr. 16. The Matadors earned 99 points in this week's poll, a 29-point improvement over last week. Northridge has now been ranked in all 16 polls this season and in 171 of the last 183 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. USC (22-4), which hosts the Matadors in the MPSF quarterfinals, remained number one for the third straight week receiving all 16 first-place votes and 255 total points. UC Irvine (21-5) remained second this week followed by Stanford (20-6), BYU (23-6) and UCLA (22-7). Long Beach State (15-14) moved up to sixth this week followed by Penn State (20-5), Pepperdine (14-14), Lewis (23-6) and Ohio State (20-8). This week's top-15 is filled out by the Matadors (12-17), UC San Diego (9-19), Pacific (8-20), Loyola-Chicago (18-11) and Harvard (18-5).
THIS WEEK'S STORYLINES
For just the second time in their last seven tournament appearances, the Matadors will open the postseason on the road. Northridge hosted either a quarterfinal or play-in match every season from 2005-2010 with the exception being 2006 when the Matadors opened the quarterfinals at Pepperdine. Northridge is 1-5 in quarterfinal road matches since 2002 ... Northridge and USC are well acquainted having played just three days ago when the Trojans swept the Matadors (25-19, 28-26, 25-17) in Northridge. The two teams also met earlier in the season with USC again winning in three on Jan. 13. The Matadors and Trojans also share a recent postseason history as Northridge eliminated USC in 2007 and again in 2010. The Trojans have won four straight over the Matadors after Northridge won 17 straight matches over USC from 2004-2010.
MATADORS IN THE MPSF TOURNAMENT
Cal State Northridge has now earned a spot in the MPSF Tournament for the 10th time in the last 11 years and 14th time overall. In their last three tournament appearances (2008, 2009, 2010), the Matadors advanced to the semifinals and reached the final in 2010. Northridge is 7-9 in the MPSF Tournament matches under Jeff Campbell and 11-12 in 13 tournament appearances dating back to 1993. The last time the Matadors were the No. 8-seed in the tournament, Northridge lost at top-seeded Pepperdine in 2002.
THE MPSF TOURNAMENT FIELD
By winning the MPSF regular season crown, USC (18-4) earned the right to host the conference tournament should the Trojans get past the eighth-seeded Matadors in Saturday's quarterfinal match. Other quarterfinal matches on Saturday include No. 2-seed Stanford hosting No. 7-seed Pepperdine, No. 3-seed BYU hosting No. 7-seed Long Beach State and No. 4-seed UC Irvine hosting No. 5-seed UCLA. The winners of Saturday's matches will gather on the home court of the top remaining seed for the semifinals on Thursday, Apr. 26 and final on Saturday, Apr. 28. The MPSF preseason coaches poll proved true to form as the conference's coaches accurately predicted the eight qualifying teams. USC, picked to finish fifth, finished first while the remaining top-five teams (BYU, UC Irvine, Stanford, UCLA) all were correctly predicted to finish among the top five. Long Beach State and the Matadors were picked to finish sixth while Pepperdine was tabbed eighth.
The Matador lineup that will take the floor Saturday at USC will be dramatically different than the lineup Northridge used in its first match at the Galen Center in January. In the first meeting between the Matadors and Trojans, a 25-18, 25-16, 25-23 USC win, Filip Tomicic and Travis Magorien shared time at setter, Drew Staker and Greg Faulkner were the starters in the middle and Cory Wagner and Matt Stork started at outside hitter. Fast forward to now and Danny Rodrick (along with Magorien) is setting Staker and Jared Moore are the lone healthy Matador middles and Brandon Lebrock and Kyle Stevenson are entrenched as the outside hitters. In fact with Rodrick setting, Lebrock has become one of the top outside hitter threats in the conference averaging 3.29 kills per game while hitting .261 in 479 swings over the last 17 matches.
Senior Matt Stork, who has been a part of 66 Matador wins over his four seasons, ranks fourth in career assists (3,780), fifth in aces (96), sixth in digs (534), eighth in block assists (202) and ninth in total blocks (228) in the Matadors' rally scoring era. Stork's 3,780 career assists places him fifth in school history (both sideout and rally scoring eras). Rodrick has 912 assists over his two seasons which ranks him sixth in rally scoring history. Junior Drew Staker is two block assists shy of entering the Matador top-10 in that category. With 171 block assists in his career, Staker trails Joe Nargi (173) by two for 10th-place. Staker is also 16 total blocks away from the top-10 while his career hitting percentage of .375 would rank 10th.
The Matadors finished 2012 with a 9-5 (.642) record at home, a four-win improvement over last season when Northridge finished with a losing record (4-9) at The Matadome for the first time in nine years ... Drew Staker is the only Matador to appear in all 29 matches this season. Lebrock and Moore have appeared in 28 of the Matadors' 29 matches while Hoefer has 27 appearances ... Northridge finished the regular season ranked fifth in the MPSF in blocks per game (2.52), sixth in aces per game (0.99), eighth in hitting (.258), 10th in both kills per game (12.02) and assists per game (11.36) and 11th in digs per game (7.78).
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 232-206 (.530), 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 posted double figure win totals in 13 of his 15 seasons on the bench and notched a career-best 24 wins in 2009.
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