Season's Final Homestand Begins Friday Against UC Santa Barbara

Match #27 (Big West Match #15):

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (16-11, 9-5 Big West) at Northridge Matadors (14-12, 8-6 Big West) 

Friday, Nov. 18, 2011 - 7:00 p.m. PST
The Matadome (1,600) - Northridge, Calif.
Streaming Video: BigWest.TV
Audio: (Mark Schuerman - PBP)
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors

Weekly Match Notes (PDF)

Match #28 (Big West Match #16):

Cal Poly Mustangs (11-16, 6-8 Big West) at Northridge Matadors (14-12, 8-6 Big West) 

Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011 - 7 p.m. PST
The Matadome (1,600) - Northridge, Calif.
Streaming Video: BigWest.TV
Audio: (Mark Schuerman - PBP)
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors


Cal State Northridge (14-12, 8-6 Big West) begins its final homestand of the 2011 season this Friday as the Matadors face UC Santa Barbara (16-11, 9-5 Big West) looking to avenge last week's straight set loss in Santa Barbara. Northridge will also host Cal Poly (11-16, 6-8 Big West) on Saturday in the conference finale. The Matadors, who will conclude the 2011 regular season Friday, Nov. 25 against Air Force, earned a split last week defeating UC Irvine (3-1) after falling in straight sets at UC Santa Barbara.


All Matador home matches and conference road matches will be featured as part of the Big West live streaming package. Both matches this week will also feature live stats (Gametracker) at as well as a live internet broadcast with Mark Schuerman handling the play-by-play. 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.


With sole possession of second-place in the Big West on the line, UC Santa Barbara handed Cal State Northridge a straight set loss (25-16, 25-21, 25-20) Wednesday at the Thunderdome. UCSB stifled the recently-hot CSUN offense as the Matadors were limited to a .116 hitting clip against the Gauchos. Britney Graff was the only Northridge hitter to register double figures in kills as the sophomore from Canyon Lakes, Calif., had a team-high 10 kills while hitting .296. Graff completed her second straight double-double and fourth of the season by adding 10 digs. On Saturday, Northridge nailed down its eighth conference win as the Matadors put together another solid hitting performance in a 22-25, 25-18, 25-20, 25-12 win over UC Irvine at the Bren Center. Northridge hit .319 as a team led by the sophomore trio of Natalie Allen, Graff and Mahina Haina. Allen put down a team-high 13 kills while hitting .355. She also added 18 digs for her team-leading ninth double-double in 2011. Haina added 13 kills while hitting a blistering .419 with no hitting errors in 31 attacks and also matching her career-high with nine digs. Graff also notched 13 kills (.278).


After falling in the battle for second place in the Big West with the Gauchos last week, conference finish is again on the line this week. The Matadors can finish as high as second with a pair of wins this week and a UCSB loss at UC Riverside. Conversely, two losses would drop CSUN to 8-8 where the Matadors could finish in a four-way tie for third. Long Beach State has already clinched the Big West title and the automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. Northridge would also like to see two  streaks end this week as the Gauchos come in having beaten the Matadors seven consecutive times dating back to 2007. Cal Poly comes into Saturday's contest with a 12-match winning streak over Northridge dating back to the 2005 season.


Sophomore Mahina Haina continues to lead the Matadors in kills averaging 3.37 kps which ranks ninth in the Big West. Freshman Casey Hinger is the conference's 10th-leading hitter at .278 and also ranks fourth in the Big West in blocking at 1.15. Stacey Schmidt and Leah Sully pace the UC Santa Barbara offense averaging 2.98 and 2.96 kps respectively while the Gauchos are the conference's best digging team at 18.01 per set. For Cal Poly, Jennifer Keddy averages a team-high 4.00 kills per set which is second-best in the conference and Kristina Graven adds 3.46 kps.


With a pair of wins this week and a little help from some other teams, the Matadors can post their best conference finish in eight years. Not since the 2003 season has a Northridge team finished as high as second in the Big West. The '03 squad finished 12-6 in the Big West and tied for second with both UC Irvine and Long Beach State. The Matadors also made a return trip to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in seven years in 2003.


The Matadors will honor their two seniors, Sam Orlandini and Una Siljegovic on Saturday prior to the Cal Poly match. Orlandini, who was a Big West All-Freshman Team selection in 2008, closes out a four-year Matador career while Siljegovic has been with the Matadors since 2010. Orlandini will statistically go down as one of the top Northridge setters as she ranks third in school history with 2,700 assists (8.85 aps). She set a career-high with 57 assists against Northern Arizona in 2009 and also served a career-high five aces at Boise State in 2009. She currently has 75 aces in her Matador carer. Siljegovic averaged 2.49 kills per set as a junior in 2010 and ranks seventh on the team with 79 kills this season.  


In addition to Orlandini several Matadors are closing in on the top-10 in CSUN history this season. Junior Monica McFarland has 947 career digs which puts her within 68 digs from cracking the CSUN top-10. Fellow junior Cindy Ortiz currently has 857 career digs which is 158 digs away from the top-10. With 409 digs this season, Ortiz is also just three digs away from moving ahead of Jamie Crawford (411) and into the CSUN season top-10. Ortiz already holds down the sixth spot after scooping up 444 digs in 2010. Sophomore setter Sydney Gedryn currently has 1,134 career assists and is now 305 helpers away from the career top-10 in assists. 


Through matches of Nov. 14, the Matadors continue to move up in the NCAA women's volleyball RPI. Last week, CSUN ranked 119th out of 327 Division I schools and after splitting at UC Santa Barbara and UC Irvine last week, the Matadors have moved up to a season-high 118th. The Big West ranks among the top-10 conferences in the country again this season while four conference teams currently rank inside the top-100: Long Beach State (41st), UC Santa Barbara (53rd), Pacific (82nd) and UC Davis (97th).


Sophomore Britney Graff has put together her best stretch of matches over CSUN's last four outings. Although she is hitting .125 for the season from the outside hitter spot, Graff is hitting .295 with 39 kills and just eight errors in 105 swings since Nov. 4 against UC Davis. Graff also has posted three straight double-doubles and the Matadors have won three of those four matches. Natalie Allen also notched a double-double at UCI giving her a team-high nine for the season ... Sydney Gedryn set a career-high with five aces at UC Irvine and reached the stat sheet in every positive category adding five kills, 46 assists, eight digs and two blocks. Gedryn leads the Matadors in aces with 29 which ranks third in the Big West Conference. 29 aces would not rank among the top-10 in a single season in CSUN history with the current top-10 largely made up of players who played in the traditional scoring era as opposed to the rally scoring era of 2001-present. 


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

On splitting the two matches last week:

"The Santa Barbara match was for second-place outright so that was significant. They played a good match against us and we were out of system a large percentage of the time. We weren't able to produce the amount of kills we needed to stay in the match but give Santa Barbara some credit for that. We did a ton of good things in the match against Irvine, the only disappointment might have been giving up the first set. But we were confident we were going to win the match and kind of turned it on in the final three sets."

On the highlights of the UC Irvine win:

"One was the fact that in the fourth set we didn't commit a single error which was indicative of the final score. We didn't give them any points which is important. Another highlight for me was Mahi (Haina) taking 31 swings and didn't make an error which is a real big plus. It was also the second straight match that Britney (Graff) had a solid hitting night and lastly it was a conference road win which we needed."

On this week's final two conference matches:

"We have an opportunity to tie for second or finish third outright, so that's our intent this week. While we have to go through two good teams to do it, being at home will give us some confidence."

On honoring seniors Sam Orlandini and Una Siljegovic on Saturday:

"Sam has always been a court leader and there's a tenaciousness to her that's good to have on a team. She understands volleyball and offenses very well and has always had a terrific serve. Una has been a plus in that she made our outside hitter position stronger. She brought in a very live arm and she was asked to terminate balls, which she did a majority of the time."


Following the conclusion of the conference season this week, the Matadors will complete the regular season by hosting Air Force on Friday, Nov. 25th at noon.