Matadors are, officially, No. 1

Victor Corona

Road wins over two of the nation top teams last week have earned the Matadors the No. 1 spot in the latest national poll.

The Matadors (13-2) jumped to the top ranking in the Bison/AVCA national poll released Monday after impressive road wins over then-No. 1 Pepperdine and No. 5 USC, earning 10 of a possible 16 first-place votes.

‘It’s always nice to be recognized by other coaches and is nice for our program to be No. 1,’ CSUN Head coach Jeff Campbell said. ‘But we don’t really put much stock into that. What we need to do is get ready for BYU and beat BYU.’

The No. 1 national ranking is the first this season and second in school history. The previous time the Matadors held the spot was last year during the third week of March.

‘We are No. 1 right now, but that doesn’t mean that there are teams out there that can’t beat us,’ CSUN sophomore Tanner Nua said. ‘We need to not have a feeling of invincibility but rather that we deserve this spot and show people why we deserve it.’

The team wasn’t alone in receiving honors this week; Senior All-American Eric Vance and junior middle blocker Jacek Ratajczak received individual awards. Vance was named Sports Imports/AVCA National Player of the Week while Ratajczak was chosen as the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation player of the week.

Vance was given the award after pounding out 41 kills and 18 digs against the Waves and Trojans. For Vance, it marks the second this season he’s received the award, third in his career. Ratajczac’s honor came after getting 28 kills and seven blocks against two of the nation’s best teams. Ratajczac becomes the third player this season to receive the conference weekly award, with Vance and freshman Matt Stork being the other two who have also received the honors.

‘I was surprised,’ Ratajczac said of his own award. ‘Because I taught (Vance) was going to get it. Then he told me he got National Player of the Week and I was like ‘okay he deserves it.”