Matadors Conclude Homestand With Two Matches Against Second-Ranked BYU

March 16, 2011

MATADOR VOLLEYBALL THIS WEEK:

Match #21

No. 2 BYU Cougars (13-6, 9-5 MPSF) at Northridge Matadors (5-15, 3-10 MPSF)

Friday, March 18, 2011 - 7 p.m. PDT

The Matadome - Northridge, Calif.

Live Stats: Gametracker (GoMatadors.com)

Live Audio: GoMatadors.com (Mark Schuermann - PBP)

Match #22

No. 2 BYU Cougars (13-6, 9-5 MPSF) at Northridge Matadors (5-15, 3-10 MPSF)

Saturday, March 19, 2011 - 7 p.m. PDT

The Matadome - Northridge, Calif.

Live Stats: Gametracker (GoMatadors.com)

Live Audio: GoMatadors.com (Mark Schuermann - PBP)

FOR STARTERS
Cal State Northridge (5-15, 3-10 MPSF) concludes its season-long, four-match homestand this week with a pair of conference matches against second-ranked BYU (13-6, 9-5 MPSF). The Matadors and Cougars will meet in The Matadome Friday at 7 p.m. and conclude the two-match set Saturday at 7 p.m. Northridge, 2-7 at home this season, snapped a five-match skid with a straight set, non-conference victory over Harvard last Saturday.

CAMPBELL IN HIS 14TH SEASON AS THE MATADOR HEAD COACH
Jeff Campbell is in his 14th season as head coach with 218 career wins, the most in Northridge men's volleyball history. With the Matadors' 3-0 win at Long Beach State on Jan. 15, 2010, Campbell won his 195th match became the winningest coach in CSUN men's volleyball history surpassing John Price (194-158) who coached the Matador men for 12 seasons. Campbell has averaged over 23 wins per season over the last three seasons and has led the Matadors to at least 18 wins every season since 2003.

NORTHRIDGE ON THE NET
Follow 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 be broadcast live via Gametracker. In addition, select home and road matches will feature live audio with Mark Schuermann handling the call. Fans can also follow the Matadors at Twitter.com/gomatadors and YouTube.com/northridgeathletics. Fans can also view and print the Matadors 2011 media guide online at GoMatadors.com. The guide features player information, photos, statistics and a complete men's volleyball history.

STORK SHIFTS BACK TO OUTSIDE HITTER
Junior setter Matt Stork might be stuck on 3,750 career assists for awhile. After starting 80 matches in his CSUN career at setter, Stork made his second and third starts at outside hitter last week. The junior responded with a Matador season-high 18 kills against Loyola and came back with eight kills in 22 swings against Harvard. Stork, who made his first career start at outside hitter against Ohio State on Feb. 4, is averaging 3.20 kills per game while hitting .253 in his three starts. After struggling with six kills and six errors in 18 swings against Ohio State, Stork had the best offensive match of any Northridge hitter against Loyola as he put down 18 kills with five errors in 39 attacks (.333). He also matched his career-high with 12 digs for his second double-double of the season but first as an outside hitter.

STAKER TAKES OVER TEAM LEAD IN KILLS
With 16 kills in two matches last week, sophomore middle Drew Staker has taken over the team in kills with 133. Staker, who averages 1.96 kills per game, has also upped his season hitting percentage to a team-high .432. After posting six kills in 14 attacks against Loyola, the sophomore from Las Vegas, Nev., had his best hitting night of the season against Harvard with 10 kills in 11 swings without an error for a career-high .909 percentage. Staker has now reached double figures in kills four times this season with his career-high in kills (15) coming against UC San Diego in the second match of the season (Jan. 7).

REVOLVING DOOR AT MIDDLE BLOCKER, OPPOSITE
Head coach Jeff Campbell has used numerous combinations this season in the middle and on the right side. The one constant in the middle has been Staker who has started all 20 matches. At the other middle blocker spot, redshirt freshman Marty Lorenz has started seven times, including three of the last four matches, while true freshman Greg Faulkner has started the other 13 times. Faulkner reached 100 kills this season with his sixth and final kill against Harvard but has seen his hitting percentage drop to .349. Lorenz, who was hitting .425 after the season's first four matches, has also seen his hitting percentage drop to .364. The Matador right side attack has also been in a state of flux as senior Tanner Nua and sophomore John Baker have traded turns in the starting lineup. Nua, who has started 10 of the last 11 matches and 15 total this season, is averaging a team-high 2.44 kills per game but is hitting .148. Baker, who started against Harvard and four other matches, is averaging 1.46 kills per game while hitting .190. Combined the pair have 179 kills while hitting .161 this year.

MATADORS VS. NON-CONFERENCE FOES
By splitting two non-conference matches last week, the Matadors remain an impressive 72-23 (.758) in non-MPSF matches since the 2000 season. Northridge has now hosted 13 non-MPSF squads in The Matadome since 2007 and are now 12-1 in those matches with the lone loss coming to No. 12 Loyola-Chicago last Wednesday. The last time Northridge lost a non-conference match at home was Mar. 6, 2000 when Lewis defeated the Matadors 3-1.

PAIR OF MATADORS RANK AMONG MPSF'S BEST
Sophomore Drew Staker and senior Kaleo Baxter are the only two Matador players to rank among the top-10 in the MPSF this week. Staker ranks fourth in hitting (.432) with 133 kills in 234 attacks with just 32 errors. Baxter ranks sixth in digs per game (2.07) after recording a career-best 112 digs in 54 games.

NORTHRIDGE NOTES
The last time the Matadors dropped as many as seven home matches was in 2002 when CSUN finished 7-8 on the Matadome floor. The Matadors' worst home record in the 35 seasons of men's volleyball was 1999 when CSUN finished 2-11 ... Saturday's 3-0 win over Harvard made it a certainty that head coach Jeff Campbell would not equal his worst record as the Matador boss. Campbell, who's 1999 team finished 4-21, needs to win five of CSUN's final nine matches to post 10 wins, the next lowest win total in Campbell's 14-year tenure ... BYU will be the fourth #2-ranked team the Matadors have played this season. CSUN lost to No. 2 UC Irvine on Jan. 8, lost to No. 2 Stanford on Jan. 28 and defeated No. 2 Long Beach State on Feb. 11 ... The 3-0 sweep over Harvard was the first time Northridge blanked an opponent this season.

#2 BYU (13-6, 9-5 MPSF) @ NORTHRIDGE (5-15, 3-10 MPSF)
This weekend's matches will be the 52nd and 53rd meetings all-time between the Matadors and the Cougars with BYU holding a 28-23 edge in the all-time series. The Matadors have had the Cougars number of late winning six of the last seven matches between the two teams including a 3-2 win in the semifinals of the last season's MPSF Tournament. BYU's only win in the last seven matches came at home on Apr. 16, 2010. CSUN is 6-3 in its last nine matches against the Cougars inside The Matadome. BYU is 2-3 over its last five matches after opening the season with 11 wins in its first 14 matches. In their most recent matches (Mar. 4-5), the Cougars dropped back-to-back five-set decisions at top-ranked USC. Junior opposite Robb Stowell leads BYU  in kills averaging 3.93 kpg which ranks fifth in the MPSF. Freshman Taylor Sander adds 3.54 kpg as the Cougars are hitting .319 as a team.

TO RECAP
Sophomore Drew Staker had a team-high 10 kills and junior Danny Rodrick dished out 28 assists to go with eight digs as Cal State Northridge snapped a five-match skid with a 25-16, 25-20, 25-17 non-conference win over Harvard Saturday in The Matadome. The Matadors (5-15) hit a season-high .382 (37-8-76) against the Crimson (8-6) and also had seven aces, four by freshman Brandon Lebrock who upped his team-leading total to 16. Staker had 10 kills in 11 swings to hit a match-high .909. The sophomore middle was a perfect nine-for-nine through two sets and also had a match-high six blocks. Junior Matt Stork added eight kills (.318) and freshman Greg Faulkner chipped in six (.667). Lebrock also added five kills, two digs and three blocks to go with his four aces. Rodrick registered 28 assists and three kills and matched libero Kaleo Baxter with a team-high eight digs.

UP NEXT
After wrapping up their four-match homestand against BYU this weekend, the Matadors will play five of their final six regular season matches on the road beginning Mar. 25 at Stanford. Northridge will visit Pacific (Mar. 26) before traveling to Honolulu for a two-match series against Hawai'i (Apr. 1-2). The Matadors will host UC San Diego (Apr. 7) and UC Irvine on senior night (Apr. 9) before concluding the regular season at Long Beach State (Apr. 16).

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