February 17, 2009

Fourth-Ranked Matadors Wrap Up Five-Match Homestand vs. Pacific, No. 7 Stanford This Week

Feb. 17, 2009

Weekly Match Notes in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

NORTHRIDGE CONCLUDES FIVE-MATCH HOMESTAND AGAINST PACIFIC, NO. 7 STANFORD Fourth-ranked Cal State Northridge (9-2, 5-2 MPSF) wraps up its five-match homestand this week as the Matadors host Pacific (2-12, 0-9 MPSF) on Thursday, Feb. 19 and seventh-ranked Stanford (8-6, 4-5 MPSF) on Friday, Feb. 20. Northridge, winners of three straight matches, improved to 4-0 at home this season after a 3-0 win over Cal Baptist (NAIA #1) on Friday. The Matadors lead 17-8 in the all-time series with Pacific and have won three straight over the Tigers. Northridge trails 31-22 in the series with Stanford but has won four straight over the Cardinal including a 3-1 win at the UCSB/Elephant Bar Invitational on Jan. 10. The Matadors will play at Pepperdine and USC next week before returning home to open up a season-long, seven-match homestand Mar. 5 against BYU.

NORTHRIDGE ON THE NET All Matador home matches and select road matches will be available via Gametracker at GoMatadors.com.

MATADORS TOP CAL BAPTIST, 30-27, 30-27, 30-28 IN NON-CONFERENCE ACTION Senior Eric Vance and sophomore Tanner Nua each fired a team-high 11 kills while junior Mike Gaudino added 10 as fourth-ranked Cal State Northridge swept a non-conference match from visiting Cal Baptist 30-27, 30-27, 30-28 Friday at The Matadome. Vance wound up hitting .185 and also added four digs and two blocks while Nua hit .333 in 21 swings to go with a pair of blocks. Gaudino (.240) also chipped in three digs and one block. The pair of Matador middles, Kevin McKniff and Jacek Ratjczak each had eight kills with McKniff hitting a match-high .545 and adding three blocks, three digs and two aces. Setter Matt Stork posted 44 assists and a career-high three aces and libero Ali'i Keohohou recorded a co-match high seven digs in the win. Northridge out-hit Cal Baptist .287 (49-20-101) to .159 (33-20-82) and served up seven aces to two for the Lancers. Cal Baptist posted a 13.0 to 6.0 edge in team blocks and posted 28 team digs to 23 for the Matadors.

NORTHRIDGE REMAINS FOURTH IN BOTH NATIONAL POLLS A non-conference win over NAIA No. 1Cal Baptist kept the Matadors fourth for the third consecutive week in the Bison/AVCA Top 15 poll (Feb. 16). Northridge, which earned a season-high 223 points in both Jan. 19 and Jan. 26 polls, picked up an additional two points from last week to earn 195 points in this week's poll. Penn State picked up all 16 first-place votes and 240 total points this week to hold the top spot for the seventh straight week. UC Irvine (11-2) jumped over Pepperdine (7-1) for second this week while the Matadors (9-2) and USC (9-2) held on to fourth and fifth. Spots 6-10 are occupied by Long Beach State (7-4), Stanford (8-6), UCLA (7-6), BYU (5-6) and UC San Diego (6-6). Hawai'i (3-8), Lewis (7-2), UC Santa Barbara (3-8), George Mason (5-2) and Ohio State (5-6) round out this week's top-15 teams.

MATADORS OFF THE BEST START SINCE `91 With nine wins in its first 11 matches, Northridge is off to its best start since 1991. John Price's `91 squad opened 9-2 before dropping their next match to USC but still finished an impressive 22-7 overall and 11-5 in the WIVA. The 1993 and 2004 Matador teams both opened with eight wins in their first 11 matches. At 5-2 in the MPSF, The Matadors have also matched their best conference start in 16 years. The 1993 Northridge team opened 5-2 on its way to a 23-10 record and an appearance in the NCAA Championship match.

CAMPBELL NAILS DOWN 100TH HOME WIN Friday's 3-0 win over Cal Baptist gave head coach Jeff Campbell his 100th home win as well as the 175th win of his Matador career. Campbell now boasts an impressive 100-58 (.633) record in 158 matches all-time in The Matadome. Overall, Campbell is now 175-152 (.535) in his 12th season at the helm of the Northridge program.

FOUR FOR FOUR AT HOME The 30-27, 30-27, 30-28 win over Cal Baptist gave the Matadors four sweeps in four home matches this season. Northridge has yet to drop a set in matches against UC Santa Barbara, Long Beach State, UC San Diego and Cal Baptist and will look to extend the streak this week against Pacific and Stanford.

NUA IN 2009 VS. 2008 Sophomore Tanner Nua played in a total of 40 sets (14 matches) as a true freshman in 2008. What a difference a year makes. After 40 sets this season, Nua ranks second on the Matadors averaging 3.12 kills per game after averaging 1.75 kpg a season ago. He has 125 kills in 289 swings this season as one of Northridge's main hitters. The rest of Nua's numbers are fairly comparable to his freshman campaign, 13 aces in 2009 to 14 in 2008, 42 digs in 2009 to 44 in 2008 and 19 total blocks in 2009 to 24 in 2008. Nua is the only Matador hitter, besides Eric Vance, to lead the team in kills in a match. He had a match-high 13 kills against No. 10 UCSB on Jan. 23 and matched Vance in kills with 11 against Cal Baptist.

MCKNIFF, RATAJCZAK FORM SOLID MIDDLE Juniors Kevin McKniff and Jacek Ratajczak have combined to give the Matadors a solid presence in the middle this season. McKniff, in his third season as a starter, ranks in the top five in hitting percentage in the MPSF while Ratajczak is currently seventh. Ratajczak also had to fill the shoes of 2008 All-American Cody Loe and has proven up to the task. He and McKniff are tied for the team lead in total blocks with 45 but Ratajczak has a team-high 10 solo stuffs.

NORTHRIDGE NOTES Thursday's opponent, Pacific is the first unranked team the Matadors have faced in 2009. Cal Baptist came in as the top-ranked team in the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) ... After posting a 6-2 record in January, the Matadors are a perfect 3-0 in February ... Freshman Matt Stork served up a career-high three aces against Cal Baptist ... Libero Ali'i Keohohou was credited with his first kill of 2009 and the third kill of his career in the Cal Baptist match. McKniff also posted a season-high three digs in the win ... The Cal Baptist match was the 100th match of Eric Vance's Matador career. The senior All-American has now played in 349 career games and started 88 matches ... As a team, the Matadors have posted more kills and hit a higher percentage than all 11 of their opponents this season.

SCOUTING THE TIGERS: Pacific comes into Thursday's match with a 2-12 overall record and is 0-9 in the MPSF. The Tigers have dropped eight straight matches including 3-0 losses to both No. 2 Pepperdine and No. 3 UC Irvine at home last week. Pacific is led by junior OH Jason Borchin who averages a team-high 2.48 kills per game. Freshman MB Sean Daley is second at 2.17 kpg while Pacific is hitting .224 as a team. Head Coach Joe Wortmann (Loyola Marymount, 1978) is in his 17th season at Pacific and sports a 171-274 overall and school record. Series History: The Matadors lead 17-8 in the all-time series with the Tigers. Northridge is 10-2 against Pacific in The Matadome and carries a three-match win streak against the Tigers into Thursday.

SCOUTING THE CARDINAL: Stanford comes into Friday's match with an 8-6 overall record and is 4-5 in the MPSF. The Cardinal upset No. 2 Pepperdine in four sets last week before falling in three to No. 5 USC. Stanford, 3-4 in seven road matches this season, is led by junior OPP Evan Romero who averages 4.56 kills per game, good for sixth in the MPSF. Sophomore OH Spencer McLachlin is second at 3.38 kpg while Stanford is hitting .293 as a team. Head Coach John Kosty (UCSB, 1988) is in his third season at Stanford and boasts a 27-42 overall and school record. Series History: The Matadors trail 31-22 in the all-time series with the Cardinal, but have won four straight including a 3-1 win in Santa Barbara on Jan. 10. Northridge is 10-11 all-time against Stanford in The Matadome but the Matadors have beaten the Cardinal five straight times at home.

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