The road hasn’t been kind to the Matadors so far this year, and it’ll continue to be a challenge as CSUN heads to Irvine tonight to face the Anteaters.
CSUN (4-8, 2-6 MPSF) has yet to earn its first win away from Northridge this season and the Anteaters (10-3, 6-3) will be one of the tougher teams the Matadors will have to face.
“They have two good outside (hitters), they’re consistently hitting well, their opposites are one of the best in league, if not the nation,” CSUN senior outside hitter Matt Stork said. “They’re a good team.”
The Matadors have yet to face UCI this year and will need to play better than they have in past road matches in order to get out of the Bren Events Center with the victory.
So far this year, the Matadors have been a different team when playing at the Matadome. CSUN has hit .301 as a team at home. The .184 road hitting percentage has been the thorn in the Matadors’ side up to this point in the season, and CSUN head coach Jeff Campbell knows something will have to change for the Matadors to win tonight.
“We’re definitely going to have to pass and serve,” Campbell said. “That’s going to be key to all our matches and we’re going to have to find a way to serve and pass at a high level … and that starts with our [pass game].”
The results of the Matadors’ matches this season have had drastic differences in the team’s hitting numbers. In wins, CSUN has hit .315, but its loss percentage is .198.
Freshman opposite Julius Hoefer has carried much of the offensive load for the Matadors, leading them with 151 kills on 343 swings in 12 matches and a .222 hitting percentage for the season.
Hoefer has also done some work on the defensive side, leading the Matadors with 41 blocks. Nine of those are solo blocks. He’s also second in digs with 44.
Although the freshman has done wonders for the CSUN squad, Hoefer hasn’t done it alone.
“(Middle blocker) Jared Moore has been playing very well,” Campbell said. “We expect him to continue playing well. We’re very pleased with him.”
Moore, a junior, has 69 kills and is the league leader for hitting percentage (.529). Moore has also been effective on the defensive end with 35 blocks.
Fellow junior middle blocker Drew Staker has 36 kills for the season while Stork is on the cusp of triple-digit kills with 99 on the year.
The pass game has held consistent throughout the year with Filip Tomicic and Travis Magorien leading CSUN in assists with 317 and 123 assists respectively.
CSUN will have to keep its eyes on the UCI hitters since the Anteaters have had their one-two combo working on all cylinders as of late.
Senior opposite Carson Clark and sophomore outside hitter Jeremy Dejno have combined for 275 kills for the year and also put up 40 aces, serving for 21 and 19 respectively.
“They’ve been playing consistently well throughout the season,” CSUN libero Sina Aghassy said. “We’ve played well, but a bit inconsistent. We have to bring our ‘A’ game and we can give them a fight.”