December 1, 2010

New-Look Matadors Picked 10th in MPSF Men's Volleyball Preseason Coaches Poll

Dec. 1, 2010

Cal State Northridge, coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2010, was picked to finish 10th in the 12-team Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in the 2011 MPSF preseason poll. The Matadors earned a total of 35 points according to the the conference coaches.

UC Irvine and USC each picked up 100 points and three first-place votes in topping the preseason poll. Defending national champion Stanford (96 pts.) was picked third followed by Pepperdine (90) and BYU (85). Hawai'i (83) was tabbed sixth, UCLA (68) seventh, UC Santa Barbara (58) eighth, Long Beach State (43) ninth and the Matadors 10th. Pacific (18) and UC San Diego (16) rounded out the poll.

Behind the performance of its core of five seniors, Northridge posted one of the finest seasons in school history in 2010. The Matadors finished 23-10 overall (15-7 in the MPSF) and lost to Penn State in the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament at Stanford.

Jeff Campbell, who heads into his 14th season as head coach, now faces the task of replacing those five seniors including first team All-Americans Kevin McKniff and Jacek Ratajczak.

The cupboard is hardly bare for the Matadors in 2011 as junior setter Matt Stork (Topanga, Calif.) returns to spearhead the Northridge offense for the third straight year. Stork will look to senior opposite Tanner Nua (Palmdale, Calif.) as well as sophomore outside hitter John Baker (Racine, Wis.) for offense and will have a host of new talent to work with.

Campbell welcomes in a trio of true freshmen this season as Greg Faulkner (Los Angeles, Calif.), Brandon Lebrock (Northridge, Calif.) and Cory Wagner (Carlsbad, Calif.) all figure to see extensive playing time. Faulkner is a 6-7 middle blocker while Lebrock and Wagner will battle at the outside hitter spots vacated by Mike Gaudino and Theo Edwards. Sophomore Dillon Auxier (Fountain Valley, Calif.) could also find himself vying for playing time at outside hitter.

A pair of sophomores return in the middle in Drew Staker (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Jared Moore (Corona, Calif.). Staker appeared in 24 matches as a true freshman last season while Moore saw limited action as a redshirt freshman. Redshirt freshman Marty Lorenz (Spokane, Wash.) also looks to contribute in the middle after moving over from outside hitter.

Senior Jeff Baxter (Simi Valley, Calif.) and redshirt junior Danny Rodrick (Kapaa, Hawai'i) figure to add depth behind Stork while redshirt freshman Charlie Condron (Huntington Beach, Calif.) and redshirt senior Kaleo Baxter (Kapaa, Hawai'i) look to fill the void left by All-MPSF libero Ali'i Keohohou.

The Matadors, who have already played in fall tournaments at USC and UCLA, will play one final exhibition match Jan. 5 against Laval University before opening the 2011 season Jan. 7 at the Santa Barbara Invitational.

2011 MPSF MEN'S VOLLEYBALL PRESEASON COACHES POLL

Rank, Team, Points (1st-Place Votes), 2010 Record
1. UC Irvine, 100 (3), 15-15
1. USC, 100 (3), 16-11
3. Stanford, 96 (2), 24-6
4. Peperdine, 90 (1), 16-10
5. BYU, 85 (2), 22-9
6. Hawai'i, 83, 19-10
7. UCLA, 68 (1), 16-14
8. UC Santa Barbara, 58, 13-16
9. Long Beach State, 43, 12-17
10. Northridge, 35, 23-10
11. Pacific, 18, 9-21
12. UC San Diego, 16, 11-19

- GO MATADORS -