Men’s volleyball prepares for 2023 season with new head coach

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Connor Clark

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Pamela Garcia, Assistant Sports Editor

Following a season in which they finished 6-16 overall, CSUN men’s volleyball looks ready to return to the court in January, earning a positive record thus far in the preseason.

The Matadors 2023 schedule consists of 16 home games, 11 away matches and 10 Big West Conference games. The Matadors managed to rack up a 3-1 record during their preseason fall exhibition at Long Beach State University on Oct. 22, where redshirt junior Kyle Hobus earned a team-high 10 kills on 18 attacks against UC San Diego.

This year’s roster consists of 24 athletes, five more than the previous season’s 19. They will be welcoming seven true freshmen to the team, and returning key players such as Hobus and junior Griffin Walters.

In 2021-22, Hobus had a breakout season in which he ranked sixth in the Big West in both kills per set and points per set, improving his numbers in every statistical category. Hobus jumped from 41 kills in the abridged 2021 season to a team-leading 234 in 2022.

Walters assisted Hobus throughout the preseason tournament, adding four more kills to push for the Matadors’ win in the set against UC San Diego, and the two combined for 14 kills in the loss against the hosts, Long Beach State. Walters was one of three Matadors to appear in all of CSUN’s matches in the 2022 season, finishing third in kills for the team with 147, and ranking 18th in the Big West in the same category.

Alongside the tournament at Long Beach State, CSUN also participated in the USC Fall Tournament and the UCLA SAC Tournament.

With all the practice that went on during the summer, the Matadors capitalized on the opportunity to go out and compete, making any necessary changes to sharpen their gameplay along the way.

“We had quite a few of our freshmen play, and top-to-bottom they exceeded all of our expectations,” former head coach Jeff Campbell told the athletics department.

Having missed the UCSB invitational last year for the first time in 18 seasons, the Matadors returned to the tournament from Jan. 5-7. Opening the season with a three-match lineup against UCLA, USC and Lincoln Memorial was a great opportunity for the team to bounce back and for the new Matadors to show what they are all about.

“We know we have to bring our “A” game every time we step on the floor and play at a high level,” Campbell told the athletics department. “To be the best, we have to play the best and this schedule does that.”

The Matadors said farewell to Campbell as their head coach, upon his retirement at the end of last season. Theo Edwards, a former Matador volleyball player and assistant coach, will be stepping forward to take his place.

Despite the change in coaches, the team is nonetheless “excited for the opportunity to get on the court and ready to prove the [Big West preseason coaches] poll wrong,” Edwards told the athletics department.

The Matadors are predicted to place fifth overall in the conference, earning 10 points from the head coaches poll.

They are also looking forward to traveling to the East Coast, where the Matadors have not played since 2011. As they move through the season, they plan to fight for a spot in the national championship by taking on the toughest opponents.