August 30, 2011

Matadors Continue Tournament Action in the State Capitol

NORTHRIDGE'S SECOND TOURNAMENT TAKES THEM TO SACRAMENTO
Cal State Northridge (1-2, 0-0 Big West) continues tournament action this weekend as the Matadors venture to the State Capitol to play in the Sacramento State Invitational. Northridge opens the tournament Friday against the Marist Red Foxes (1-2) before taking on Fresno State (1-2) and the host Hornets (2-1) on Saturday. The Matadors finished with one win in three matches last weekend at the Utah Classic after topping Weber State in five sets on Saturday. CSUN has played in the Sacramento State Invitational in three of the last four years, finishing 1-2 in 2007, 2-1 in 2008 and 2-1 in 2010.

NORTHRIDGE ON THE NET
Fans can follow all three of the Matadors' matches of the Sacramento State Invitational via live stats at hornetsports.com. There will also be live video of the Northridge-Sacramento State match Saturday night. All Matador home matches will be part of the Big West live streaming package and will also feature live stats via Gametracker at GoMatadors.com. The Big West Conference and the CBS College Sports Network are partnering to bring fans exclusive coverage of Big West sports, press conferences, interviews and features into your home via the Internet. Now in its seventh year, BigWest.TV covers every home and conference contest in women's volleyball.

TO RECAP
Sophomore Mahina Haina pounded a career-high 28 kills to lead Cal State Northridge to its first win of the 2011 season as the Matadors defeated Weber State in a five-set thriller (25-19, 27-25, 23-25, 21-25, 15-11) Saturday at Utah's Crimson Court. Haina, who's previous high in kills was 19 against Loyola Marymount in 2010, hit an impressive .468 in 47 swings. The sophomore from Honolulu, Hawai'i committed just six hitting errors and also added three digs and one block assist. After struggling on the offensive side over their first two matches, the Matadors also got 16 kills (.083) from senior Una Siljegovic and 12 kills (.118) and 11 digs from sophomore Britney Graff. Freshman Casey Hinger also chipped in nine kills (.115), four digs and four blocks. Earlier on Saturday, the Matador hitters struggled for the second straight match as CSUN dropped a straight set decision (25-18, 25-14, 25-16) to the host Utah Utes. Freshman Casey Hinger's six kills (.188) were enough to lead the Matadors who also got five kills apiece from Haina (.045) and Natalie Allen (-.044). Cindy Ortiz and Sydney Gedryn each had two aces while Ortiz added a match-high 15 digs. The Matadors opened the tournament Friday with a 25-20, 25-22, 25-15 loss to Northwestern.

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE OPPONENTS
The Matadors will meet Marist for the first time in school history on Friday. The Red Foxes, from the Metro Atlantic Conference, are 1-2 after falling to Duquesne (3-0) and Pittsburgh (3-0) and defeating St. Francis (3-1) last weekend at the Pitt-Duquesne Invitational. Marist is at Hartford on Wednesday before heading to the West Coast ... Fresno State is also 1-2 after falling to No. 20 San Diego (3-0) and Cal Poly (3-2) and defeating Long Island (3-0) at its own Fresno State Classic. Junior OH Marissa Brand is averaging a team-high 3.64 kps ... Tournament hosts Sacramento State are 2-1 after topping Murray State (3-1) and Belmont (3-1) and falling to Western Kentucky (3-0) at the Belmont Invitational in Nashville, Tenn. The Hornets, a former Big Sky Conference foe, are led by sophomore OPP Kayla Beal who averages 3.00 kps.

HAINA EARNS ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS
Sophomore outside hitter Mahina Haina (Honolulu, Hawai'i) picked up Northridge's first All-Tournament accolade of the season last weekend at the Utah Classic. Haina, who also earned All-Tournament honors at the UNLV Classic during her freshman season, averaged 3.91 kills per set while hitting .265 over three matches. Her all-tournament performance was capped with a career and tournament-high 28 kills in 47 swings (.468) in the Matadors' 3-2 win over Weber State. Haina's 28 kills are the most by a Northridge hitter since Jen Ryan put down 31 kills at Loyola Marymount on Nov. 23, 2004.

NEW FACES MAKE MATADOR DEBUTS
Several first-year Matadors made their CSUN debut over the weekend. True freshman Casey Hinger (Fullerton, Calif.) started all three matches in the middle and tied for second on the squad with 20 kills in three matches. Hinger also added nine total blocks and eight digs over three matches. Sophomore transfer Kelcie Randazzo (Whittier, Calif.) appeared in two of the three matches and had 12 digs and two aces against Weber State. Fellow true freshmen Sam Kaul (Canyon Country, Calif.) and Mariah Counts (Poway, Calif.) also saw their first collegiate action. Sophomore Britney Graff (Canyon Lake, Calif.) made her return to the lineup after missing the entire 2010 season due to injury. Graff, who was a Big West All-Freshman Team selection in 2009, averaged 2.00 kps in three matches in her return to the court.

MATADORS INCH CLOSER TO 700 PROGRAM WINS
In the 37th season of women's volleyball at Cal State Northridge, the Matadors are now within two wins of reaching 700 wins in program history. 698 wins in 36 years averages out to just over 19 wins per season which was largely achieved during the programs heyday as a Division II school (1975-1989). Under the direction of Walt Ker, the Matadors posted 401 wins from 1979-1992, an average of nearly 29 wins per season. Since moving up to the Division I level in 1990, Northridge has 294 wins, including 29 in Ker's first Division I season (1990).

FIVE RANKED TEAMS HIGHLIGHT MATADOR SCHEDULE
Five opponents on Northridge's 2011 schedule received votes in this week's AVCA Top-25 poll. USC (1-1) is the highest ranked team on the slate as the Trojans received 1356 points and are ranked third this week. UCLA (3-0) received 880 points this week and is ranked 12th followed by Long Beach State (2-1) which received 205 points and is ranked 23rd. Cal Poly (2-1) received six points are listed among the schools "receiving votes" as is Northwestern (3-0) which received defeated the Matadors in straight sets on Friday.

NORTHRIDGE NOTES
As a team, the Matadors are averaging the identical 11.55 kills per set as their first three opponents but are hitting just .092 as a team compared to .203 for the opposition ... typically one of the stronger serving teams in the Big West, the Matadors rank at the top of the conference after one week with 16 aces (1.45 saps). UC Irvine also has 16 aces in 11 matches ... Sydney Gedryn (San Jose, Calif.) has a team-high five aces followed by Cindy Ortiz (Los Angeles, Calif.) with four ... Gedryn started all three matches at setter and posted a career-high 61 assists against Weber State. Gedryn also had a team-high 13 total blocks in the three matches ... Nicole Jarvis (Oxnard, Calif.) matched her career-high with seven kills against Weber State.

MATADORS TABBED EIGHTH IN PRESEASON POLL
Following a 13-19 season in 2010, Northridge was picked to finish eighth by the conference's coaches in the Big West Preseason Poll. The Matadors picked up 20 points to finish ahead of UC Riverside who garnered 11 points. Long Beach State was picked to reclaim the conference championship crown after Cal State Fullerton captured the title in 2010. The 49ers tallied seven first-place votes and 78 points to finish ahead of Cal Poly who garnered a pair of first-place votes and 72 points overall. UC Santa Barbara (53 pts.) was tabbed third followed by Fullerton (52), Pacific (51), UC Davis (38), UC Irvine (30), the Matadors and Highlanders.

COACHES CORNER
Matador head coach Jeff Stork shares his thoughts each week on the team, this week's opponents and other topics.

On the team's performance at the Utah Classic:
"I think the team trained very hard during double days and going into Utah we knew we were going to play two difficult teams in Northwestern and Utah. Those two teams did not allow us to establish any kind of the rhythm that we saw during the preseason. We found out there's some other things we need to focus on and get better at. We were able to regroup and figured out what we wanted to do against Weber State and several players responded in a big way and the team responded in a good way as well."

On the play of sophomore Mahina Haina:
"Mahi was unbelievable against Weber State. Midway through the third set she was hitting around .600 so obviously teams will start to make small adjustments but at the end it was just an unbelievable night for her. Everything she was touching was golden and had it not been for her effort in particular, the outcome may have been different."

On the upcoming tournament in Sacramento:
"We certainly had good play from several different players last weekend but we're still searching for our offensive rhythm. Our serve-block defense, even against Northwestern, was reasonably good and we will need to continue that this weekend. I think the Utah tournament was the strongest tournament we're going to enter into. This weekend at Sac State and the following weekend at UNLV are tournaments that I'm hopeful that this team can excel. We found out a little about ourselves last weekend and we know that the challenges ahead are not going to be easy but I think the girls are up for it."

UP NEXT
The 2011 home opener is on the horizon. Following this weekend's tournament in Sacramento, the Matadors host third-ranked USC on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in The Matadome.

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