Men’s Volleyball: Matadors off to hot start, eyes set on postseason

Men's Volleyball: Matadors off to hot start, eyes set on postseason

Bob Garcia

Sophomore setter Travis Magorien (15) and senior middle blocker Jared Moore (10) go up for a spike during a conference game against UCI. Photo credit: Charlie Kaijo / Senior Photographer

The CSUN men’s volleyball team, lead by four returning seniors, a mixture of juniors and sophomores and 10 newcomers, looks to improve upon last season’s playoff team.

With the season already underway, the Matadors have their eyes set on contending for a national championship.

“We always want to make the playoffs and the ultimate goal is to win a national championship,” said head coach Jeff Campbell. “I think the key to us winning is that we really have to have a seasoned team that’s efficient, especially at passing and serving.”

CSUN is entering its 15th year under Campbell, finishing last season with a 12-18 overall record. Northridge lost to USC in the quarterfinals of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) tournament.

Campbell believes that making the playoffs last year set a baseline standard for the team and hopes that they can snatch a top four position in the MPSF.

“We want to move up from (last year), hopefully host, and that would be a good step for us,” Campbell said.

Northridge was ranked eighth in a MPSF preseason coaches poll for 2013.

“Our expectations are to finish with one of (the) top records in the MPSF and host in the playoffs,” said sophomore setter Travis Magorien, who ranked third on the team last year with 293 assists.

The Matadors will have one of their best offensive options returning in junior outside hitter Brandon Lebrock, who had 260 kills last year.

“We want to keep getting better and improve as a team,” said senior middle back Jared Moore, who currently leads the MPSF in hitting percentage at .513 per game. “To do that, we need to work together and do the best we can.”

Campbell thinks the team is much deeper at each position compared to last year. Even with inexperience at the setter, outside and opposite hitter, Campbell feels the team will overcome those hurdles.

“We have more depth in each position,” Campbell said. “I think in the long run that is going to help us out a lot.”

Consistency with their serving, passing and ability to win matches on the road are key areas Campbell wants to focus on.

“Playing on the road is tough in all sports,” Campbell said. “We are a better team at home than the road so we must figure out how to win on the road.”

Last season, Northridge posted a 2-11 record on the road and a 9-6 record in games played at home.

The Matadors opened the season 4-2, suffering a road loss in a tough five set match against UCLA and a home loss against third-ranked UC Irvine.

CSUN was able to bounce back from the home loss against UC Irvine, taking a straight set road win at UC San Diego, their first road win of the season.

Five of the Matadors six wins this season, including preseason, have come by match sweeps.