NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – The CSUN men’s volleyball team was picked to finish third in the inaugural Big West Men’s Volleyball Preseason Coaches Poll announced Thursday.
The Matadors, who open the 2018 season Jan. 4 against Saint Francis at the UCSB Invitational, return five starters and six letterwinners from 2017’s squad that finished 12-15 and tied for ninth the MPSF.
CSUN was pegged third with UC Irvine as each team garnered 21 points in the first-ever Big West poll. Long Beach State was picked to win the Big West as the 49ers earned 34 points including four first-place votes. Hawai’i was slated second with 32 points and a pair of first-place nods. UC Santa Barbara (10 points) was picked fifth followed by UC San Diego (eight points) to round out the poll.
“I think the preseason poll shows what other teams think of us,” said head coach Jeff Campbell who enters his 21st season as CSUN’s head coach. “We have juniors and seniors that have a lot of experience which we haven’t had the past few years but the bottom line is we need to continue to get better and win on the court. Polls don’t mean a lot this time of year so time will tell how it all turns out.”
Key returners for the Matadors in 2018 include seniors Arvis Greene and Josiah Byers along with juniors Dimitar Kalchev, Eric Chance, Sam Porter and Schylar Lillethorup.
Greene, a 2017 AVCA All-American, led the Matadors last season with 359 kills while averaging 3.99 kills per set. Kalchev, an All-MPSF pick in 2017, added 344 kills and 63 aces which set the single season CSUN record. Byers, a 2016 All-MPSF honorable mention selection, had 130 kills while Chance hit a team-high .458 as a sophomore. Porter posted 910 assists in 2017 giving him 1,925 in his CSUN career which ranks 10th in Matador history.
CSUN will also welcome in a host of newcomers in 2018 including 2017 redshirts Domanik Stratford and Lucas Timm. Junior Emmett Enriques, a transfer from Cal Baptist, will provide stability at the libero spot while fellow first-year players Ksawery Tomsia and Paul Rzepniewski figure to make an immediate impact for Campbell’s squad.
In the AVCA Preseason Poll released Dec. 7, the Matadors received a No. 11 national ranking receiving 99 points, its highest preseason ranking since 2010.