Northridge Starts Three-Match Road Swing at UCSB, Cal Poly

MATCH #18 (Big West Match #6):

Cal State Northridge Matadors (12-5, 3-2 BWC) at UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (8-9, 1-2 BWC)

Friday, Oct. 5, 2012 - 7 p.m. PDT
The Thunderdome (5,600) - Santa Barbara, Calif.
Live Stats:
Streaming Video: BigWest.TV
Audio: (Mark Schuermann - PBP)
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors

MATCH #19 (Big West Match #7):

Cal State Northridge Matadors at Cal Poly Mustangs (1-14, 0-3 BWC)

Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012 - 7 p.m. PDT
Robert A. Mott Gymnasium (3.032) - San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Live Stats:
Streaming Video: BigWest.TV
Audio: (Mark Schuermann - PBP)
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors

Weekly Match Notes (PDF)


Cal State Northridge (12-5, 3-2 BWC) will begin its three-match road swing this week during the team's annual Central California road trip. The Matadors will face the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (8-9, 1-2 BWC) and Cal Poly Mustangs (1-14, 0-3 BWC) in back-to-back Big West events this Friday and Saturday evening, both matches will start at 7 p.m. CSUN will compete its slate of road contests next Friday, Oct. 12, at Hawai'i. Following this portion of CSUN's schedule, seven of the Matadors' final 11 matches will take place inside the Matadome. 


Friday's match at UC Santa Barbara, and Saturday's contest at Cal Poly will be broadcast live with Mark Schuermann calling all the action at All Matador home matches and conference road matches will be 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.


CSUN participated in a brief two-match homestand against Long Beach State and UC Irvine, and ended its weekend with a split of those contests. Last week began on a positive note as the Matadors earned their fourth win out of their last five head-to-head home matches against Long Beach State. In addition to forcing the 49ers to record their lowest attack percentage of the season (.120, 51-31-167), Matador middle blocker Cieana Stinson also led all players with her match-high 18 kills - a new career high. CSUN outside hitter Mahina Haina chipped in 13 kills, with middle blocker Casey Hinger responsible for eight of the Matadors' 23 blocks earned that evening.

The win extended CSUN's win streak to three matches, a mark that lasted only two days as Northridge fell to UC Irvine in four sets the very next match. Led by Britney Graff with 14 kills and 18 digs, her third double-double of the year, a total of four Matadors finished with 10 or more digs. Included in that list was Haina, as she also recorded 10 kills to earn her first collegiate double-double.


Cal State Northridge will venture on its annual Central Coast conference road trip to face the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos and Cal Poly Mustangs. The Matadors will look to rebound from last Saturday's loss against UC Irvine in Santa Barbara's conference home opener Friday evening.

Santa Barbara sports an 8-9 overall record, picking up its first Big West win of the season at Cal Poly last Saturday. The Gauchos have one win in their three conference games played, currently sit in seventh place two spots behind CSUN, and are 2-1 inside The Thunderdome this season. Northridge had dropped its last eight straight matches against Santa Barbara, and has not defeated the Gauchos on their home floor since its five-set triumph on Sept. 21, 2007.

UCSB is averaging 12.25 kills and 2.16 blocks/set, and is ranked No. 4 in the Big West with 1.24 serves aces/set. As a team, the Gauchos enter this week's action hitting .164, the eighth-highest percentage in the conference, and have allowed opponents to record a .174 attack percentage (narrowly trailing CSUN's third-ranked opponent hitting percentage of .164). Led by outside hitter Leah Sully and opposite Katey Thompson, the pair are the only Gauchos who are averaging more than three kills/set at 3.78 and 3.04 respectively. Middle Blocker Jenna Wilson leads all Santa Barbara blockers with her 1.15 b/s mark, and has recorded 78 total blocks this year.

Cal Poly is currently 1-14 overall under first-year head coach Sam Crosson, and is winless in its three Big West matches played. Earning its only victory of the season against Idaho in their home opener, the Mustangs field a team that is missing two of its key players from last season. Two-time All-American middle blocker Jennifer Keddy is recovering from surgery, former outside hitter and Cal Poly standout Catie Smith graduated last year.

The Matadors snapped their 12-match overall losing streak against Cal Poly with a three-set sweep last year in their final Big West home match of the 2011-12 season, but have not defeated the Mustangs at Mott Gymnasium since Oct. 1, 2004. A Matadors victory Saturday night will snap its seven-match losing streak in San Luis Obispo. 


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

On upcoming Central California road trip:

"We are going to play two good teams in their homes. Santa Barbara has always been a difficult team to play, and in recent years, Cal Poly has also been a touch team to face. The Mustangs have not performed up to their standards, but I know that team will be ready to play us when we come to town." 

Playing in road conference matches:

"We are going to have targets on our backs because we were picked third (Big West Preseason Poll) in our conference. Anytime we come into somebody's gym, we know opposing teams will be ready to face us. It will be up to us to control our emotions in those situations and play the type of volleyball that we have been playing."

On this week's opponents:
"Santa Barbara is a solid team, we have to be ready to compete. Cal Poly is a team that lost two of their best players (Jennifer Keddy and Catie Smith), they have not had they season they wanted up to this point. But I do know that they are well-coached, and have a strong desire to compete at a high level."

Keys to victory:

"Most of volleyball has to do with offensive rhythm. We have always been a very good serve and block defensive team. During this week, we are going to try and find a better rhythm off our pass, set tempo and rhythm of our hitters. We are looking more on the offensive side compared to the defensive side this week."


Last Saturday's match against UC Irvine was the fourth time this season that four Matadors ended their evening with double-digit dig totals. Led by Britney Graff with 18, Cindy Ortiz recorded 12 scoops, with Mahina Haina and Monica McFarland each ending with 11. In the Matadors' inaugural Big West road match of the season at Cal State Fullerton (Sept. 21), Ortiz recorded a match-high 21 digs, followed by McFarland (20), Graff (11) and Alia Casino who earned 12 digs to record her first double-dig match in Northridge colors. Other quadruple-double dig matches include efforts from McFarland (18), Graff (12), Sydney Gedryn (11) and Ortiz (10) vs. James Madison (Sept. 1) at the Long Beach Mizuno Classic, and totals turned in by Ortiz (20), Gedryn (15), Graff (13) and Natalie Allen (12) at Arizona (Aug. 24) in CSUN's second match at the Wildcat Classic. The Matadors earned a win in three of those four matches, suffering their only blemish against the Anteaters last week.


Even though the result earned by CSUN last Saturday was not the outcome the team desired, the Matadors' still had a chance to end its brief homestand against the Anteaters with a victory by capturing the third set thanks to the efforts of Britney Graff and Mahina Haina. In that match Graff led all Matadors with 14 kills, followed by Haina's 10. Combined, the duo were responsible for 45 percent of CSUN's points scored. Also finishing with 18 and 11 digs respectively, the pair each finished with a double-double. That was Graff's third of the season, 16th of her career, and Haina's first-ever double-double as a Matador.


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, the program is averaging roughly 19 wins per season, a figure that was largely influenced throughout the program's 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 75 Big West wins; combined with 47 Big Sky wins, 100 CCAA wins and 37 SCAA wins, CSUN stands at 259 all-time conference victories. 


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.