The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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CSUN men’s volleyball heads to the east coast

Matador Tanner Nua (3), opposite hitter and right side hitter, spikes the ball past two Cardinal blockers at the Matadome. Photo Credit: Patrick Dilanchian/ Assistant Photo Editor

Only nine games into the season, and Northridge are ranked near the end of its conference, riding a four-game losing streak and are being outplayed in most matches by tough opponents.

The serving is not there. The hitting is not there. The blocking is not there.

In spite of this, the Cal State Northridge men’s volleyball team is not looking into whom they are playing this weekend, even if it is against two of last year’s Final Four teams.

Coach Jeff Campbell has different plans for his team, worrying only about them not future opponents.

“We haven’t even looked at them yet so I have no idea what they do because I’m not so concerned about what they’re doing I’m really concerned about what we need to do,” Campbell said. “We need to get our hitting percentage up and we need to pass better and we need to serve better and that is really what our focus is on right now.”

Part of the coach’s plans includes reshuffling the starting lineup, part of an effort to improve the Matador’s offense and defense.
“Well we have to hit better and that’s why we’re trying some different lineups. So some of the guys that had been starting are not starting in practice right now and we’re trying to get better and attacking obviously is a glaring problem,” Campbell said.

“Traditionally, we’ve been a very good inside-out team and we’ve been a very good passing team and we’re not right now.”

Junior setter Matt Stork, who recently reached sixth place on the CSUN career-assists list, is not sure how the lineup switches will affect the team. He said it could go either way.

“When teams change things up, its either going be a very good experience or a very bad experience. I kind of like it, I think it’s kind of fun,” said Stork, who just came back from a back injury. “It can either be a good thing or a bad thing, but so far it’s been a good thing. The guys are responding pretty positively towards that scenario of changing things up”

Even though the some freshmen lead the team in several offensive categories, Campbell said the team, as a whole has to improve, even players who have been with the program for years.

“Well it’s who we have. I think that they are very good volleyball players and they have to continue to get better for us to get better and our seniors will have to step up too,” Campbell said. “Kaleo (Baxter), (Jeff) Baxter and (Tanner) Nua, all those three seniors have to step up. So far, they have not played that well this year, so for us to win we have to have our senior leadership play well.”

CSUN (2-7, 1-5 MPSF) is playing against Ohio State Buckeyes and Penn State Nittany Lions as past of the Penn State Tournament that will take place in University Park, Pennsylvania.

The Matadors are playing the eight-ranked Nittany Lions (6-1, 2-0 EIVA) Saturday, same team that eliminated them in straight sets from the NCAA Final Four tournament last year.

CSUN will have a tough match against Penn State, which ranks first in its conference and hitting over .350.

The Buckeyes (4-2, 1-0 MIVA) Friday’s opponent, are ranked ninth in the AVCA Coaches Top-15 and are in the midst of a four-match winning streak after losing the first matches of the season to Pepperdine.

The team is led by junior opposite hitter Shawn Sangrey, who leads the team with 76 kills through six matches, averaging 3.8 kills per game.

Freshman outside hitter Brandon Lebrock said it’s necessary for the team to apply focus on the defensive end in order to have a chance at beating the team this weekend.

“We just need to focus on getting stops on defense. A lot of us have a problem of moving while the hitter is hitting so we have trouble getting the balls that we should be getting. Other than that, we just need to serve tough,” said Lebrock, who leads the team in kills. “If we serve well and do what we’re supposed to do then we should win.”

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