Matadors Host No. 7 Hawai'i as Big West Season Gets Underway Wednesday

MATCH #13 (Big West Match #1):

No. 7 Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine (7-2) at Cal State Northridge Matadors (9-3)

Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012 - 7 p.m. PDT
The Matadome (1,600) - Northridge, Calif.
Live Stats: GoMatadors.com
Streaming Video: BigWest.TV
Audio: GoMatadors.com (Mark Schuermann - PBP)
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors


MATCH #14 (Big West Match #2):

Cal State Northridge Matadors (9-3, 0-0) at Cal State Fullerton Titans (6-7, 0-0)

Friday, Sept. 21, 2012 - 7 p.m. PDT
Titan Gym (4,000) - Fullerton, Calif.
Live Stats: GoMatadors.com
Streaming Video: BigWest.TV
Audio: GoMatadors.com (Mark Schuermann - PBP)
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors


MATCH #15 (Big West Match #3):

Cal State Northridge Matadors (9-3, 0-0) at UC Riverside Highlanders (5-8, 0-0)

Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012 - 7 p.m. PDT
Student Rec Center (1,922) - Riverside, Calif.
Live Stats: GoMatadors.com
Streaming Video: BigWest.TV
Audio: GoMatadors.com (Mark Schuermann - PBP)
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors

Weekly Match Notes (PDF)


FOR STARTERS

Cal State Northridge welcomes Hawai'i back to the Big West Conference Wednesday as the Matadors (9-3, 0-0 Big West) host the No. 7 Rainbow Wahine (7-2, 0-0 Big West) at 7 p.m. CSUN continues its Big West opening schedule this weekend as the Matadors head to Cal State Fullerton on Friday and UC Riverside on Saturday. CSUN and Hawaii have not met since the 2009 season when the Rainbow Wahine swept the matadors in 2005.   

NORTHRIDGE ON THE NET

Wednesday's match against No. 7 Hawai'i will be broadcast live with Mark Schuermann calling all the action at GoMatadors.com. Schuermann will also have the call of both conference matches this weekend. All Matador home matches and conference road matches will be streamed for free and featured as part of the Big West live streaming package. BigWest.TV brings together live and on-demand video from each of the Big West's ten member institutions.  Now in it's eighth year, BigWest.TV covers Big West sports, press conferences, interviews and features, including every home and conference contest in women's volleyball.

TO RECAP

Cal State Northridge didn't drop a set the entire weekend as the Matadors swept their way to the Rice Invitational II crown after topping Houston Baptist 25-14, 25-23, 25-18 Saturday at Tudor Fieldhouse. CSUN has now won seven of its last eight matches as the Matadors prepare to open Big West Conference action next Wednesday against seventh-ranked Hawai'i at The Matadome. Britney Graff capped a solid weekend putting down a team-high 10 kills (.296) as she led the Matadors in kills in each match in Texas. Graff, who also matched her career-high with 14 digs, was named tournament MVP with all-tournament honors going to teammates Sydney Gedryn and Cindy Ortiz. Casey Hinger added nine kills (.333) while Mahina Haina chipped in seven kills (.115), two aces and four digs. In also earning all-tournament accolades, Gedryn had 26 assists, five digs and four blocks including three solo stuffs. Ortiz had a match-high 16 digs giving her 43 digs in three matches this weekend.

SCOUTING THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS

Cal State Northridge will face its first ranked opponent this season in the seventh-ranked Rainbow Wahine on Wednesday. The Matadors dropped straight set decisions to both No. 9 USC and No. 6 UCLA last season and are now winless in their last four against teams ranked in the AVCA Top-25. The last time Northridge defeated a team ranked in the Top-25 was the 2008 season-finale when the Matadors upset Long Beach State in five sets (19-25, 25-22, 25-23, 18-25, 15-10). Hawai'i comes in with a 7-2 record having played its first nine matches at home. Junior OH Emily Hartong leads the Rainbow Wahine as well as the Big West Conference averaging 4.30 kills per set. Cal State Fullerton is 6-7 on the young season with Kayla Neto putting down a team-high 3.93 kps which ranks fifth in the conference. UC Riverside, which hosts Hawai'i on Friday, is 5-8 in 2012 and is led by Amanda Vialpando who averages 3.24 kps which is also among the top-10 in the Big West.

MATADORS IN BIG WEST OPENERS

Northridge carries an overall record of 19-9 (.679) in conference openers intoWednesday's match against Hawai'i. The Matadors have had some success in Big West openers under Jeff Stork where CSUN has won five openers in 10 seasons. In all, Northridge is 5-6 in 11 previous Big West openers. Last season, the Matadors swept UC Riverside on the road (27-25,25-16,25-20) and in 2010, CSUN nearly overcame a two-set deficit at home to UC Santa Barbara before falling 15-10 in the fifth set. Last season's win over UC Riverside snapped a string of three straight five-set Big West opening losses, to UCSB in 2008 and 2010 and UC Davis in 2009. The Matadors finished third in the Big West last season, the best in Stork's 10 seasons.

GRAFF PUTS TOGETHER AN IMPRESSIVE WEEKEND

Junior OH Britney Graff put together a solid weekend in Houston to earn MVP of the Rice Invitational. Graff propelled the Matadors to the Rice Invitational championship as CSUN swept all three opponents. She led the Matadors in kills in all three matches accounting for 4.11 points per set while hitting .255 in 98 swings. Graff also had her second double-double of the season against Houston Baptist with 10 kills and a career-high 14 digs. The all-tournament award was the first for Graff since being named to the Bronco Invitational team in Santa Clara as a freshman in 2009.

NORTHRIDGE NOTES

The Matadors are off to their best start in 12 years after winning nine of their first 12 matches. The 2000 CSUN squad also opened 9-3 on its way to a 16-10 overall finish ... A pair of Matadors were also named to the all-tournament team at Rice last weekend as senior Cindy Ortiz and junior Sydney Gedryn were named to the seven-player team. It marked the third time in as many tournaments that Gedryn was named all-tournament after the setter also earned accolades at the season-opening Wildcat Classic in Arizona and the Asics Powerade Challenge in San Francisco ... Northridge now has two tournament wins under its collective belt this season winning the Wildcat Classic and the Rice Invitational. CSUN finished second at the Asics Powerade Challenge at USF ... A win over Hawai'i would give the Matadors their second four-match win streak this season. CSUN has had just two such streaks in the last five seasons ... By out-blocking all three opponents at the Rice Invitational last weekend, CSUN has now won the net battle against 11 of its 12 opponents this season. The Matadors are now 9-2 when posting a team blocking advantage, the only losses coming to Utah Valley and San Francisco. Wisconsin is the lone team this season to claim a blocking advantage over the Matadors this season.

COACHES CORNER

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

On the teams' success at the Rice Invitational:

"Going into a tournament like last weekend at Rice we were playing very well. The fact that we're incorporating new offensive and defensive systems, the more training we get will make us better as well as being able to fine tune some things. But overall I thought the team performed very well in all three matches last weekend."

On the play of junior Britney Graff:

"Brit is playing a complete game right now. She is serving very well, her first contact on serve-receive is very good and is steady enough. In terms of her attacking, our offensive systems are fitting in nicely with her abilities. She is attacking with range and good vision and Sydney (Gedryn) has a lot of confidence in her attacking. Overall she is playing very well and with a lot of confidence."

On opening the Big West season against No. 7 Hawai'i:

"Hawai'i has good all-around players and they're well-trained so it will be a handful for our team. Obviously I think we can beat this team but we need to play more error-free than they do which is not a concern but we need to compete at a high level. We had a young team last season and now our team is becoming more and more seasoned. We're looking forward to the challenge. As far as the weekend, we've seen a little bit of Fullerton and Riverside. They are both well-coached teams, but right now our main focus is Hawai'i."

MATADORS NOTCH 700TH PROGRAM WIN, 250TH CONFERENCE WIN

Now in the 38th season of women's volleyball at Cal State Northridge, the Matadors reached the 700-win plateau with their 3-0 win over Fresno State on Sept. 3, 2011. Now with 722 wins in 37+ years averages out to roughly 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 328 wins, including 29 in Ker's first Division I season (1990). With a win over Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 1, 2011, the Matadors reached 250 conference wins in 30 seasons as a conference member. CSUN has 73 Big West wins and combined with 47 Big Sky wins, 100 CCAA wins and 37 SCAA wins, CSUN stands at 257 all-time conference victories. 

MATADORS PICKED THIRD IN BIG WEST PRESEASON POLL

The Cal State Northridge women's volleyball was picked to finish third in the 2012 Big West Preseason Coaches Poll as announced by the conference office on Aug. 7. The Matadors received a total of 72 points from the conference's head coaches, the most for a CSUN team in 12 years as a member of the Big West. The previous best preseason ranking for a Matador squad came in 2007 when Northridge was picked to finish fifth before finishing in a tie for fifth at the conclusion of the season. Hawai'i, ranked eighth in the AVCA national preseason poll, was picked to win the Big West after earning nine of 10 first place votes and 99 total points. Defending conference champions Long Beach State was second with 88 total points followed by the Matadors with 72. UC Santa Barbara (60) and Pacific (60) tied for fourth with Cal State Fullerton (46) sixth, Cal Poly (43) seventh, UC Davis (37) eighth, UC Irvine (31) ninth and UC Riverside (14) 10th. Cal Poly earned the lone remaining first place vote.

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