No. 4 Matadors open five-game homestand

Victor Corona

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After losing two straight games in Hawaii last week and dropping two spots in the national rankings. The No. 4 Matadors get set to open a five-game homestand this weekend with matches against No. 7 Long Beach State on Friday and No. 15 UC San Diego on Saturday.

‘We just need to focus on getting back to playing the way we did the first month, when we went 6-0,’ Head Coach Jeff Campbell said.

CSUN will need to cut down on service errors and work on their blocking game. Against the smaller Warriors, the Matadors committed 59 errors and were out-blocked 36-19.

LBSU’ (4-4, 3-2 MPSF) split two road matches last weekend, losing 3-2 at Stanford on Friday and winning 3-1 at Pacific the next day. Four players had double-figure kills against the Tigers, including junior opposite hitter Dean Bittner, who leads the team with 5.68 per set.

‘(The 49ers) run a really fast back-row attack, so we have got to be ready for that,’ CSUN opposite hitter Tanner Nua said.

UCSD is 1-4 in conference, but went 2-1 last weekend, defeating Princeton and Pacific.

Leading the way for the Tritons are sophomore setter, stat-filler, Phil Bannan, sophomore outside hitter, kill’s leader Will Erhman (3.70 kills per game) and senior libero Eric Lesserman, who leads the team in digs with 2.35 a set.

CSUN (6-2, 3-2 MPSF)

Last game: Lost 3-1 at Hawaii
Kills leader: Eric Vance, (5.61 kpg)
Assists leader: Matt Stork’ (13.16 apg)
Digs leader: Ali’i Keohohou (3.10 dpg)

Matador to watch:
Ali’i Keohohou, junior, libero

Keohohou is on the brink of becoming the 23rd player in CSUN history to record 400 digs. He only needs one more. The 5-foot-7 libero had 33 digs in the two losses against Hawaii. He ranks second in the MPSF and seventh nationally in digs per game.’

vs. Long Beach State (Friday, 7 p.m.)

Series Record: LBSU leads 33-26
Last meeting: April 12, 2008: LBSU 3 @ CSUN 0

49er to watch:
Dean Bittner, junior, opposite hitter

Bittner is the team leader in kills with a total of 159 on the season and an average of 5.68 per game, which ranks him second in the MPSF. He had a career night last season against the Matadors, pounding out 29 kills in a losing effort at the Matadome on Feb. 29.’

vs. UC San Diego (Saturday, 7 p.m.)

Series Record: CSUN leads 46-2
Last meeting: April 11, 2008: UCSD 0 @ CSUN 3

Triton to watch:
Phil Bannan, sophomore, setter

The past couple of matches for Bannan have been outstanding, filling up the stat sheet for UCSD with 141 assists, 16 digs, four blocks and three aces and helping the Tritons to a 2-1 record, including wins over Princeton and Pacific. In his last game, a loss against Stanford, Bannan had 59 assists.

What did he say?

Tanner Nua, CSUN opposite hitter
About the importance of the rankings:

‘It’s apparent that rankings don’t really matter. Going in as the No. 2 team playing No.12 (Hawaii), we lost twice. So rankings have nothing to with it.’