Matador Home Stretch Begins With UC Davis and Pacific This Week

Match #23 (Big West Match #11):

UC Davis Aggies (20-6, 6-5 Big West) at Cal State Northridge Matadors (11-11, 5-5 Big West) 

Friday, Nov. 4, 2011 - 7 p.m. PDT
The Matadome (1,600) - Northridge, Calif.
Streaming Video: BigWest.TV
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors

Weekly Match Notes (PDF)

Match #24 (Big West Match #12):

Pacific Tigers (15-9, 6-5 Big West) at Northridge Matadors (11-11, 5-5 Big West) 

Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011 - 7 p.m. PDT
The Matadome (1,600) - Northridge, Calif.
Streaming Video: BigWest.TV
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors


Cal State Northridge (11-11, 5-5 Big West) opens up a stretch where they will play four of their final six conference matches at home beginning Friday against UC Davis (20-6, 6-5 Big West). The Matadors will also host Pacific (15-9, 6-5 Big West) on the two-match homestand. Northridge earned a crucial road split last week, sweeping Cal State Fullerton in straight sets before falling to conference-leading Long Beach State in three sets.


All Matador home matches and conference road matches will be featured as part of the Big West live streaming package. TBoth matches this week will also feature live stats at 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.


Behind a combined 23 kills from Natalie Allen and Mahina Haina, Cal State Northridge swept Cal State Fullerton for the second time this season 27-25, 25-23, 25-20 Friday night at Titan Gym. Allen led the Matadors with 12 kills (.216) and 11 digs, her team-leading seventh double-double of the season. Haina added 11 kills (.167) and three blocks while Casey Hinger chipped in eight kills (.375) and six blocks in her return to her hometown. Gedryn posted 35 assists and nine digs while libero Cindy Ortiz dug a match-high 15 balls. Northridge also got important contributions off the bench from Nicole Jarvis and Una Siljegovic as the Matadors hit .236 as a team and limited Fullerton to an .083 hitting clip. Following a solid night of hitting at Cal State Fullerton on Friday, Cal State Northridge saw its offense stifled on Saturday as the Matadors fell in straight sets (25-18, 25-13, 25-19) at Long Beach State. After hitting .236 in a straight set sweep at Fullerton, the Matadors (11-11, 5-5 Big West) hit just .064 as a team against the 49ers while committing 23 hitting errors. Haina and Hinger each had a team-high eight kills for Northridge with Hinger adding two digs and a pair of blocks. Siljegovic came off the bench to put down five kills while hitting a team-high .300. The Matadors had no answer for Long Beach State (16-6, 10-2 Big West) which hit .322 on its way to its 10th straight win.


As the Big West season heads into the homestretch, conference matches become more and more important and the Matadors are in the enviable position of playing four of their final six Big West matches on their home floor. CSUN will play host to UC Davis and Pacific this week and UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly on Nov. 18-19. The Matadors (5-5), Aggies (6-5) and Tigers (6-5) are all separated by one-half game heading into this week's matches making it a crucial week for all three teams. Long Beach State (10-2) is comfortably in first place while as many as six teams are within one game of each other ... UC Davis comes into Friday's match after snapping a three-match losing streak with home wins over UCSB (3-1) and Cal Poly (3-2) last weekend. The Aggies have had the better of the series with the Matadors of late winning four of the last five including a 3-0 win in Davis on Oct. 8 ... Pacific, which travels to UC Riverside on Friday, enters the week at 15-9 overall after splitting a pair of home matches against Cal Poly (3-0) and UCSB (2-3). The Tigers have won three straight and five of the last six matches over the Matadors including a 3-1 win in Stockton on Oct. 7.


Sophomore Mahina Haina continues to lead the Matadors in kills averaging 3.34 kps which ranks ninth in the Big West. Freshman Casey Hinger is the conference's 10th-leading hitter at .269. Allison Whitson paces UC Davis averaging 3.63 kps which ranks seventh in the Big West while Player of the Week Betsy Sedlak is fourth in hitting at .330. For Pacific, Samantha Misa averages a team-high 3.99 kills per set which is good for second in the conference. CHICK-FIL-A FRIDAYPrior to Friday's match, all fans are invited to the Matador Spirit Plaza for a free pre-match sandwich courtesy of Chick-fil-A. Friday is also a Red Rally event as the first 100 CSUN students w/I.D. will receive a free Red Rally t-shirt.


Sophomore outside hitter Mahina Haina is within 10 points of her first 300-point season for the Matadors. Haina, who leads the Matadors with 267 kills, has added two solo blocks, 42 assisted blocks and one ace to her season tally. Haina, who struggled in two matches last weekend hitting .167 at Cal State Fullerton and .097 at Long Beach State, is averaging almost identical numbers on the road and at home this season. In six home matches, she is averaging 3.14 kps while hitting .206 while Haina is averaging 3.17 kps on the road while hitting .213. Hinger's numbers at home are staggering compared to the road. At The Matadome, the freshman middle is hitting .366 while averaging 2.81 kps. On the road, Hinger is hitting .257 while averaging 2.49 kps.


After being pegged to finish eighth in the preseason Coaches poll, the Matadors have so far exceeded the conference coaches expectations with a 5-5 Big West record and a fifth-place standing. With five wins in their first 10 conference contests, Northridge is off to its best start since 2007 when the Matadors also started 5-5. CSUN's best-ever 10-match start in the Big West came in 2004 when Northridge won eight of its first 10 conference matches.


Through matches of Oct. 31, the Matadors rank 135th out of 327 schools in the NCAA women's volleyball RPI. Last week's split at Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State not only improved Northridge to 11-11 but also jumped the Matadors five additional spots in the RPI from a week ago. The Big West ranks among the top-10 conferences in the country again this season while five conference teams currently rank inside the top-100: Long Beach State (50th), UC Santa Barbara (59th), UC Davis (70th), Pacific (77th) and Cal Poly (91st).


Prior to Saturday's match, the Matadors will host their third and final free youth clinic. CSUN has hosted two previous youth clinics this season and attendance grew each time. This Saturday's clinic, prior to the Matador-Pacific match at 7 p.m., will run from 3-4:30 p.m. in the CSUN Activity Center ... With last Friday's 3-0 sweep at Cal State Fullerton, the Matadors have now won six times this season in straight sets. Following Saturday's straight set loss at Long Beach State, CSUN has now been swept six times as well ... the win at Cal State Fullerton was Northridge's second 3-0 win over the Titans this season, the first time since 1992 that a Matador team has swept Fullerton twice in one season ... Monica McFarland leads the Matadors in serve reception percentage this season. McFarland has been aced just six times in 230 attempts for a .974 reception percentage. Natalie Allen ranks second at .964 with 13 errors in a team-high 421 attempts.


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

On last week's split at Fullerton and Long Beach:

"Long Beach has some good personnel and when they put it together it's a good team so you have to give them some credit. Fullerton is lacking a little bit here and there and we were able to exploit those weaknesses more than we were able to exploit any weaknesses that Long Beach may have had."

On the difference in the two matches:

"Long Beach forced us to play catch-up volleyball and we weren't really catching up. At Fullerton we dictated more of the play and they were playing catch-up to us. So if you look at who had control of each of those two matches those were the teams that won."

On using key substitutions down the stretch this season:

"We've definitely settled into a rotation which includes our starting lineup. Obviously I'm looking to win matches and when player X is not playing well we have a plan to modify and distribute the ball a little differently. Nicole (Jarvis) and Una (Siljegovic) had five kills in eight swings against Fullerton which is awesome. If our bench players can do that I'll probably wind up substituting more often. We've seen it time and time again that people coming off the bench are making important contributions."

On playing four of the final six Big West matches at home:

"I like our schedule from here on out having four of six conference matches at home. It's a good position to be in. We had two sets up at UC Davis that were real tight. They played with a lot of tempo but my hope is that the environment that we can create in The Matadome will help our players. Same thing with Pacific, I thought we let that match slip away. I think the match-up is good for us so I'm looking forward to this weekend."


Following two home matches this weekend, the Matadors play their final two road matches of the regular season next week. CSUN will visit UC Santa Barbara (Nov. 9) and UC Irvine (Nov. 11) before returning home for the final three regular season matches.


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