March 29, 2011

Matadors Conclude Road Trip With Two Matches at Ninth-Ranked Hawai'i

March 29, 2011

Matador Weekly Match Notes in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

MATADOR VOLLEYBALL THIS WEEK:

Match #25

Northridge Matadors (6-18, 4-13 MPSF) at No. 9 Hawai'i Warriors (12-11, 10-8 MPSF)

Friday, April 1, 2011 - 7 p.m. HDT

Stan Sheriff Center - Honolulu, Hawai'i

Live Stats: HawaiiAthletics.com

Live Audio: ESPN1420AM.com

Match #26

Northridge Matadors (6-18, 4-13 MPSF) at No. 9 Hawai'i Warriors (12-11, 10-8 MPSF)

Saturday, April 2, 2011 - 7 p.m. HDT

Stan Sheriff Center - Honolulu, Hawai'i

Live Stats: HawaiiAthletics.com

Live Audio: ESPN1420AM.com

FOR STARTERS
After two tough losses to open a four-match road trip, Cal State Northridge (6-18, 4-13 MPSF) heads to Honolulu, Hawai'i for two matches against the ninth-ranked Warriors (12-11, 10-8 MPSF). The Matadors appeared on the verge of an upset of No. 2 Stanford on Friday before ultimately dropping the final two sets and then were on the cusp of sending their match against Pacific to a fifth set when CSUN dropped the final five points in a four-set loss. 

CAMPBELL IN HIS 14TH SEASON AS THE MATADOR HEAD COACH
Jeff Campbell is in his 14th season as head coach with 219 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.

MATADORS HEAD INTO HOME STRETCH IN SPOILER ROLE
In a role they are unaccustomed to, Cal State Northridge will almost certainly play the role of spoilers over the final three weeks of the regular season. The Matadors, who have advanced to the postseason every season since 2002, will most likely finish out of the top-eight in the standings this season thus putting CSUN in the position of spoiler. Following two matches at sixth-place Hawai'i this weekend, the Matadors will host seventh-place UC Irvine (Apr. 9) and travel to four-place Long Beach State (Apr. 16) to conclude the regular season. With four conference wins, Northridge could still reach nine wins by winning all five of its remaining matches. The last time a Matador team finished with less than 10 MPSF wins was 2002 when CSUN wound up 8-14 but still grabbed the eighth and final spot in the MPSF Tournament.

SEVERAL SEASON-HIGHS IN FIVE-SET HEARTBREAKER AT STANFORD
Despite dropping a five-set heartbreaker at No. 2 Stanford on Friday, statistically the Matadors enjoyed one of their finest matches of the season. Looking to upset its third second-ranked team of the season, Northridge set team season-highs in kills (64), assists (59), digs (54) and blocks (17.0). One area the Matadors did not excel in was serving where they committed 19 errors and were held without an ace for just the second time this season. A season-high four CSUN hitters reached double figures in kills led by Matt Stork's 18. Tanner Nua added 15, Brandon Lebrock had a career-high 14 and Drew Staker chipped in 10. Danny Rodrick dished out a career-best 54 assists and had nine total blocks (two solo) and libero Kaleo Baxter shattered his previous career-high in digs (13) with 19 against the Cardinal.

STORK PROVING A FORCE ON THE OUTSIDE
Junior Matt Stork is making the most out of his recent position change. Stork, who started 16 of the first 18 matches this season at setter, has now made six starts at outside hitter which culminated with a career-high 24 kills at Pacific on Saturday. In his six starts at outside hitter, Stork is averaging 4.18 kills per game while hitting .276 in 214 swings. He is also averaging 1.82 digs per game and has posted double-doubles against No. 15 Loyola (18k-12d) and Pacific (24k-11d). Stork's 24 kills at Pacific was the most by a Matador hitter this season and most by a Northridge player since Jacek Ratajczak had 30 kills against Hawai'i on Mar. 5, 2010.

STAKER CONTINUES STELLAR SOPHOMORE SEASON
Despite his worst hitting night of the season against BYU on Mar. 19, sophomore middle Drew Staker has continued his excellent sophomore campaign. After hitting -.333 in a season-low three swings and being held without a single kill for the only time this season, Staker rebounded with 10 kills (.444) at Stanford and six kills (.333) at Pacific. He has since slipped to fourth in the MPSF in hitting at .424. Only UCLA's Weston Dunlap (.488), UCSB's Scott Slaughter (.467) and BYU's Futi Tavana (.436) have a higher hitting clip this season than Staker. In CSUN's 3-0 upset over No. 2 BYU on Mar. 18, the sophomore from Las Vegas, Nev., hit .545 after his .909 hitting effort against Harvard. His effort against Harvard is the third best in Northridge's single match history behind Kevin McKniff's .929 against UCLA in 2010 and James Lischer's .923 at USC in 2005.

NUA CLOSES IN ON 1,000 CAREER POINTS
Senior Tanner Nua had two of his top hitting efforts of the season over the Matadors' last four matches. Nua pounded a season-high 16 kills against No. 2 BYU  (Mar. 18) and then added 15 kills in the near upset of No. 2 Stanford on Friday. He is now 42 points away from 1,000 points in his three-plus year CSUN career with five matches remaining in the regular season. He would join a host of recent Matadors, including Kevin McKniff (1,325.5 points), Mike Gaudino (1,163), Eric Vance (1,957), Isaac Kneubuhl (1,109), Dan Rhodes (1,335), Brian Waite (1,431) and Nils Nielsen (1,566) who have reached the 1,000 career points plateau in the last eight years. Nua is also within four aces of tying for ninth all-time in career aces.

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 (.424) with 156 kills in 278 attacks with just 38 errors. Baxter has moved up to fifth in digs per game (2.19) after recording a career-best 151 digs in 69 games. Baxter is the highest ranked CSUN player in the NCAA stats as he ranks 15th in digs per game.

NORTHRIDGE NOTES
The five-set loss to Stanford was the Matadors's first five-set loss of the season. CSUN was a perfect 2-0 in five-gamers after topping Pepperdine (Jan. 15) and Long Beach State (Feb. 11).

NORTHRIDGE (6-18, 4-13 MPSF) @ #9 HAWAII (12-11, 10-8 MPSF)
The Matadors and ninth-ranked Warriors will meet for the 60th and 61st times this weekend. Hawai'i owns a commanding 45-14 advantage in the all-time series which dates back to 1979. The two teams have split the last six matches with each team winning twice at home in both 2008 and 2009. In 2010 in Northridge, the Matadors won the opener in five sets before the Warriors won match two in straight sets. The last time Northridge traveled to Honolulu, the Matadors were undefeated and ranked second in the country and fell in five sets to 12th-ranked Hawai'i in the opener and 3-1 in the second match. Northridge has played a total of 26 matches in Hawai'i since 1977 and the Matadors have struggled to a 3-23 (.115) record. The Warriors had their season-long six-match winning streak snapped with a pair of losses at No. 3 BYU last weekend. Sophomore OPP Jonas Umlauft leads Hawai'i in kills with 443 (5.47 kpg) which leads the MPSF. Senior OH Joshua Walker adds 292 kills (3.48 kpg) while the Warriors are hitting .318 as a team.

UP NEXT
This week's matches at Hawai'i wrap up a four-match road trip for the Matadors who return home to take on UC San Diego (Apr. 7) and UC Irvine (Apr. 9) in its final two regular season home matches before concluding the regular season at Long Beach State (Apr. 16).

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