CSUN men’s volleyball: Back-to-back matches against the Warriors at the Matadome

Victor Corona

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After losing three out of four matches on the road the last two weeks, No. 3 CSUN returns home this weekend for back-to-back matches against No. 8 Hawai’i Friday night at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m.

“We knew two weeks ago, that the next two weeks were going to be tough with Irvine, SC, UCLA and Pepperdine,” senior outside hitter Mike Gaudino. “ Yeah we only got one win out of it but we knew it was going to be a tough stretch in the middle of our season and hopefully we can bounce back from it against Hawai’i.”

Head coach Jeff Campbell gave the players a few days this week to clear their minds after spending the past few weeks on the road, after the Matadors went 2-3 during that stretch of matches.

“The past two weeks have been disappointing… so we took a couple of days off just to relax and to get back in a groove, and to try to win all of our home games,” senior middle blocker Jacek Ratajczak said.

The Warriors come into this weekend having won six of their last eight matches including winning a pair of matches at home last weekend over No. 4 BYU. Last Saturday’s match versus BYU was postponed on Sunday after a tsunami warning was issued due to the earthquake in Chile. Freshman outside hitter Jonas Umlauft leads the team in kills with 4.68 per set while junior outside hitter Joshua Walker is second with 4.38 kpg.

“They have a couple of good outside hitters that hit the ball really well and the thing is that they really rely on those guys to hold that team,” senior outside hitter Theo Edwards said. “They had a couple of big wins against BYU which is a really good program, so we are expecting a really good battle here (Matadome) on Friday and Saturday.”

The Matadors have only played 6 of their 17 matches at home this season and will finish the season by playing seven of the next twelve matches at the Matadome. This weekend’s matches against the Warriors will be the Matadors third set of back-to-backs. CSUN has swept both this season.

“The first night you’re always fresh and then the second night is usually the team who can refocus mentally and physically and emotionally because if you can do that usually you can win.” senior team captain Ali’i Keohohou said

Saturday’s match against the Warriors starts at 2 in the afternoon, a rare time for the Matadors who have not played an afternoon match the two past seasons. CSUN has played a morning match this season, but it was during a preseason match at the Santa Barbara invitational.

“It should be interesting,” Keohohou said. “We really don’t know how it’s going to be because we’ve never played that early but that is usually when we have practice, so it will be like going to practice.”