Matadors Regroup For Final Homestand vs. UC San Diego and UC Irvine

April 6, 2011

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Match #27

No. 11 UC San Diego Tritons (9-17, 5-14 MPSF) at Northridge Matadors (6-20, 4-15 MPSF)

Thursday, April 7, 2011 - 7 p.m. PDT

The Matadome - Northridge, Calif.

Live Stats: (Gametracker)

Live Audio: none

Match #28

No. 4 UC Irvine Anteaters (15-11, 11-8 MPSF) at Northridge Matadors (6-20, 4-15 MPSF)

Saturday, April 9, 2011 - 7 p.m. PDT

The Matadome - Northridge, Calif.

Live Stats: (Gametracker)

Live Audio: (Mark Schuermann)

Cal State Northridge (6-20, 4-15 MPSF) wraps up the 2011 home schedule this week as the Matadors host No. 11 UC San Diego (9-17, 5-14 MPSF) on Thursday and No. 4 UC Irvine (15-11, 11-8 MPSF) on Saturday. Northridge will honor its three seniors (Jeff Baxter, Kaleo Baxter and Tanner Nua) prior to Saturday's match with the Anteaters. The Matadors dropped a pair of matches at No. 9 Hawai'i, falling to the Warriors 3-1 and 3-0.  

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.

Follow Matador volleyball online at the official online home of Cal State Northridge athletics, 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 and Fans can also view and print the Matadors 2011 media guide online at The guide features player information, photos, statistics and a complete men's volleyball history.

Cal State Northridge can truly play the role of spoiler this week as the eighth and final spot in the MPSF Tournament is on the line. UCLA (8-10) currently has the edge on both Pepperdine (5-13) and UC San Diego (5-14) for the eighth spot and a Matador win over the Tritons on Thursday would eliminate UC San Diego from playoff consideration. Pepperdine is ineligible for the postseason in 2011. The Matadors will see their streak of nine consecutive postseason appearances end this season. The last time a Northridge team failed to reach the MPSF Tournament was 2001 when the Matadors finished sixth in the MPSF Mountain Division. In 2002, the MPSF moved away from two six-team divisions into its current format of one 12-team division and CSUN has finishing among the top-eight qualifiers each and every season since.

Following junior Matt Stork's position change from setter to outside hitter on Mar. 9, the Matadors have statistically improved across the board. In the 16 matches CSUN played with Stork as the starting setter, Northridge averaged 11.30 kills per game while hitting .222 as a team. In the nine matches with Stork on the outside, the Matadors are averaging 12.38 kills per game while hitting .272. Although Northridge is 2-7 in the nine matches with Stork on the outside, he has added a significant weapon to the Matador offense, averaging 4.06 kills per game while hitting .283. Other Matador hitters have also benefitted with Stork hitting as senior Tanner Nua, who averaged 2.44 kpg while hitting .128 with Stork setting, is averaging 2.96 kpg while hitting nearly 100 points higher (.227) with Stork hitting and passing.

Although he won't finish the season statistically among the top libero's in program season history, senior Kaleo Baxter has provided the Matadors a bridge to the next generation of CSUN defensive specialists. Matador volleyball has been the beneficiary of incredible stability at libero over the last decade as the trio of Doug English (2001-04), Sebastian Pedraza (2005-06) and Ali'i Keohohou (2007-10) have mainly manned the backline. English was an AVCA All-American in 2003, Keohohou is Northridge's all-time digs leader and earned All-MPSF accolades in 2009 while Pedraza averaged just under 2.00 digs per game over his Matador career. Baxter is averaging 2.21 digs per game this season while bridging the transition from Keohohou to a new starter in 2012. In his two seasons at Northridge after transferring from Irvine Valley College, Baxter has 186 digs in 111 sets, an average of 1.68 digs per game.

Senior Tanner Nua looks to etch his name in the record books over the final three matches of his Matador career. After putting together a solid weekend in Hawai'i (26 kills, two aces, three blocks), he is now just 12.5 points away from 1,000 points in his three-plus year CSUN career. 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 also moved within two aces of tying for ninth all-time in career aces after serving a pair in the two matches in Hawai'i.

Saturday's match against UC Irvine marks the final Matadome appearance for seniors Jeff Baxter, Kaleo Baxter and Tanner Nua. Jeff Baxter has been with the program for five seasons after redshirting as a freshman in 2007. Nua is four-year letterwinner while Kaleo Baxter has been with the program for three seasons, redshirting in 2010. Jeff Baxter and Nua have been a part of 76 Matador wins over their four seasons.

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 (.420) with 170 kills in 307 attacks with just 41 hitting errors. Baxter slipped from fifth to sixth in digs per game (2.21) after recording a career-best 168 digs in 76 games. Baxter is the highest ranked CSUN player in the NCAA stats as he ranks 15th in digs per game.

The Matadors put together one of their best four-set matches in the opener at Hawai'i last Friday. CSUN had 56 kills while hitting .348 to go with 55 assists, all season-highs for a four-set match this season ... Two losses at ninth-ranked Hawa'i dropped the Matadors to 4-19 against ranked teams this season ... Northridge needs to win two of their final three matches to avoid setting the school record for most losses in a season. The 1999 Matadors finished the season 4-21 while three other CSUN squads (1983, 1984, 1985) dropped as many as 19 matches.

#11 UCSD (9-17, 5-14 MPSF) @ NORTHRIDGE (6-20, 4-15 MPSF)
Thursday's match between the Matadors and 11th-ranked Tritons will be the third meeting between the two teams this season. Northridge topped UCSD in four sets on Jan. 7 in Santa Barbara and then won in four sets in La Jolla on Feb. 19 to run its win streak over the Tritons to 38 straight. The Matadors, who are 63-6 all-time against UC San Diego, have not lost to the Tritons since the 1988 season and are 31-2 against UCSD in Northridge. Sophomore outside hitter Carl Eberts leads UCSD in kills (295) while averaging a team-high 3.14 kpg. Junior opposite Shane Veiga adds 170 kills (2.74 kpg) while the Tritons are hitting .242 as a team.

#4 UC IRVINE (15-11, 11-8 MPSF) @ NORTHRIDGE (6-20, 4-15 MPSF)
The Matadors and fourth-ranked Anteaters will meet for the third time this season and 54th time on Saturday with Northridge holding a 33-20 edge in the all-time series. UC Irvine, which defeated the Matadors in four sets on Jan. 8 in Santa Barbara and in straight sets on Feb. 18, has now won 10 of the last 13 matches between the two teams. CSUN is 16-6 all-time against the Anteaters in The Matadome. The Anteaters defeated No. 5 UCLA (3-1) and No. 8 UCSB (3-1) last week and have now won nine of their last 12. Junior opposite Carson Clark leads UC Irvine in kills averaging 4.66 kpg which ranks sixth in the MPSF. Senior outside hitter Cory Yoder adds 3.29 kpg and is hitting .408 on the season. UC Irvine is hitting .343 as a team.

Following this week's final home matches against UC San Diego and UC Irvine, the Matadors conclude the 2011 season at Long Beach State on Saturday, Apr. 16.