May 5, 2010

Matadors Meet the Press at NCAA Men's Volleyball Championships

May 5, 2010

STANFORD, Calif. - Cal State Northridge men's volleyball had its last full practice Wednesday morning prior to the NCAA semifinal match against Penn State on Thursday. The Matadors went through a full practice from 10-11:30 before meeting the media and sitting through interviews with ESPN.

The following are excerpts from the Northridge press conference at Stanford's Maples Pavilion on Wednesday.

Matador head coach Jeff Campbell

On playing Penn State in the NCAA semifinals:

"We've got plenty of film. We feel fairly comfortable and we know who their best players are and in general what they are going to do. If we are going to win, it's going to be up for us to execute. Just like every other match, we are serving and passing well and it's going to come down to those skills."

On the advantages of the Matadors defeating Penn State at home on Apr. 10 in Northridge:

"I think it is an advantage, but I don't know if that's going to play out in this match or not. We have played something like 19 wins against top-15 teams this year. I think that is an advantage going in, but ultimately we have play and play hard."

On the play of senior middle Kevin McKniff:

"Kevin has done a great job for us. He came in very raw as a true freshman. And basically he has been a four-year starter for us and done a great job. Some of Kevin's physical skills, he's got a great arm and can really kill the ball. I think he led our league in hitting so he's done a great job at attacking and serving. Stats don't tell the the whole story, and he's gotten a lot of teams in trouble with his serving."

On the play of senior middle Jacek Ratajczak

"Jack has played all four years for us. Offensively has been a fantastic player and been a big threat in the middle for us. Blocking and attacking and his serve has really come around the last 2, 3, 4 weeks, he has really honed his serving. Our middles have been the go-to players on this team...In order to get to the middles, we have to set and pass."

On the Matadors needing more offense from their outside hitters:

"You can't survive just on the middle. When we have played our best, we have had an outside attack. When we have played poorly, it is because our outside attack is playing poorly."

On outside hitter Theo Edwards health:

"Theo Edwards strained his ankle (three weeks ago) and has not been 100 percent the last three weeks. Theo had been our kill leader for the outsides. He looked pretty good today and hopefully he will be effective tomorrow night. That is definitely an issue for us."

Senior Middle Blocker Kevin McKniff

On playing non-conference foes Penn State and Ohio State:

"We played Penn State on our senior night, but never had any experience with Ohio State."

On seeing Penn State in person as opposed to watching them on tape:

"It definitely helps. We know what to expect from them. We are not going to be uncomfortable playing them again."

On playing at Stanford's Maples Pavilion:

"I am really comfortable here having played here for five years. I really like this place and I feel comfortable."

On playing in the NCAA Tournament for the first time:

"It's really more exciting and not overwhelming."

Senior Middle Blocker Jacek Ratajczak

On playing Penn State:

"We've seen them having played against them this year. We know what they do and they know what we do."

On playing BYU in Provo, Utah:

"It's tough to play there, with the altitude and they are big volleyball fans there. They have 2-4000 fans there and have a big home advantage."

- GO MATADORS -

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