November 22, 2010

Silver Lining As Matadors Wrap Up Preseason at UCLA SAC Tournament

Nov. 22, 2010

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Cal State Northridge wrapped up the preseason with three matches at the UCLA SAC Tournament last weekend. The Matadors fell to UC Santa Barbara in five sets in Friday's opener and then dropped matches to UCLA (3-0) and USC (3-1) on Saturday.

Despite dropping all three matches, head coach Jeff Campbell was encouraged by his young team's performance.

"We went five with UCSB and felt like we had a chance to win that match," said Campbell. "To have four freshmen play as well as they did was a very good thing. Our first team played in the first and third matches and I thought they played very well."

The tournament opened Friday afternoon with UC Santa Barbara topping the Matadors in five sets (18-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-18, 15-8). Senior Tanner Nua led Northridge with 17 kills while hitting .324. Freshmen outside hitters Brandon Lebrock and Cory Wagner each added nine kills with Wagner hitting .292 and Lebrock hitting .250.

On Saturday the Matadors took on UCLA in the morning session and fell in straight sets (25-22, 25-21, 25-15). The Matadors rested most of their Friday starters in the match as sophomore John Baker put down a team-high 10 kills hitting .250 in 24 swings. Lebrock was the lone holdover from Friday as the freshman chipped in seven kills hitting .500. Fellow freshman Greg Faulkner added five kills in eight attempts (.375) from the middle.

"Our second team competed with UCLA's top group and that was also encouraging to have that many newcomers play well against a very talented UCLA team," added Campbell.

Northridge faced USC in Saturday's finale and the Trojans held off the Matadors in four sets (21-25, 25-12, 25-22, 25-16). CSUN returned to its regular starting lineup and redshirt freshman middle Marty Lorenz had a team-high 12 kills with just one error in 21 swings (.523). Wagner added nine kills (.250) and Lebrock chipped in eight (.285).

The Matadors will now be off until the end of December when Northridge returns to prepare for the 2011 season-opening UC Santa Barbara Invitational (Jan. 7-8). The Matadors will host one final exhibition match against Laval University of Canada on Wednesday, Jan. 5 at The Matadome.

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