Matadors Set to Open Big West Conference Play Saturday vs. UC Davis

MATADORS THIS WEEK:

MATCH #14 (Big West Match #1):

UC Davis Aggies (8-5, 0-0 Big West) at Cal State Northridge Matadors (10-3, 0-0 Big West)

Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013 - 7:00 p.m. PDT
The Matadome (1,600) - Northridge, CA
Live Stats: GoMatadors.com
Streaming Video: BigWest.TV
Audio: GoMatadors.com (Casey Moran - PBP)
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors
Promotions:  


Weekly Match Notes  


FOR STARTERS

Cal State Northridge (10-3, 0-0 Big West) returns to The Matadome for just the second time this season as the Matadors open Big West Conference play Saturday against UC Davis (8-5, 0-0 Big West) at 7 p.m. CSUN kicked off the home schedule in successful fashion last week sweeping Seattle and will look to get the conference schedule off to a good start against the Aggies on Saturday.


NORTHRIDGE ON THE NET

Saturday's match against UC Davis will be broadcast live at GoMatadors.com with Casey Moran providing play-by-play. The match will also be broadcast live on BigWest.TV and will have live stats. 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 ninth year, BigWest.TV covers Big West sports, press conferences, interviews and features, including every home and conference contest in women's volleyball.


TO RECAP

A four-match week opened for the Matadors in impressive fashion Tuesday as CSUN swept the visiting Seattle Redhawks 25-23, 25-18, 25-18 in a non-conference match. A trio of Matadors, led by sophomore Cieana Stinson's match-high 13, finished with double figures in kills. Stinson hit .348 on 23 attacks while Mahina Haina added 12 kills (.421) and Casey Hinger chipped in 11 kills while hitting a solid .500 in 20 swings. CSUN wound up hitting .370 (48-14-92) as a team as setter Sydney Gedryn posted 29 assists, four kills and three digs. Senior Britney Graff had another nice match from the service line, tallying two of the Matadors' three aces in the win. Next up was three matches in Seattle as Natalie Allen pounded a match-high 14 kills as Cal State Northridge opened with a straight-set (25-16, 25-22, 25-17) victory over Coppin State. Allen hit a season-high .650 on a team-high 20 attacks while Casey Hinger also reached double figures with 10 kills in 19 errorless attacks (.526). Then behind Britney Graff's season-high 13 kills, CSUN defeated Coppin State for the second straight day, this time 25-15, 25-19, 25-16. The win was the fourth straight for the Matadors. The Matadors played third-ranked Washington even through two sets, but the Huskies won the final two sets to seal a 25-13, 21-25, 25-14, 25-21 victory. Haina had a solid night on the outside connecting for a season-high 17 kills on 36 attacks to hit .333 while Stinson added 13 kills (.200) but CSUN's other main threats, Hinger and Allen combined for 12 kills in 45 swings to hit a combined .089.


STORY LINES

• The Matadors have been successful in conference openers but even more successful in conference home openers. CSUN brings an all-time record of 19-10 (.655) in conference openers into Saturday's match against UC Davis. The Matadors are one win better in conference home openers, posting a record of 20-9 (.690). In last seasons home and conference opener, CSUN battled 7th-ranked Hawai'i through five grueling sets before the Rainbow Wahine pulled out a 19-17 win in the fifth set.

• Saturday's match will be the 21st match all-time between the Matadors and Aggies. The series has been fairly even with CSUN holding a slim 11-9 edge. The two teams split the two matches last season with each team winning on its home floor. The Matadors won in four (25-15, 23-25, 25-18, 25-23) on Oct. 20 in Northridge while the Aggies won in five (25-19, 25-19, 17-25, 23-25, 18-16) in Davis on Nov. 16 as the Matadors nearly overcame a two-set deficit.

• The Matadors are receiving votes in the AVCA Top-25 poll for the fourth straight week. After winning three of four matches last week, Cal State Northridge received six points (ranked 36th) in the fourth poll of the 2013 season. Two weeks ago (Sept. 9), the Matadors earned a season-high 14 points which at the time was their highest point total since 1992. CSUN has now received votes in four consecutive AVCA Top-25 polls for the first time in school history.


HAINA SET TO JOIN SELECT GROUP OF MATADORS

Senior Mahina Haina had 33 kills in three matches last week, including a season-high 17 against No. 3 Washington, which moved her closer to 1,000 kills for her Matador career. With 995 career kills, Haina should expect to reach the milestone against UC Davis on Saturday. Only eight players in the 38 years of Matador women's volleyball have reached 1,000 career kills, the last being Angela Hupp (1,122) in 2009. Haina, a senior from Honolulu, Hawai'i, currently ranks fourth in rally scoring history and 10th in all eras. The two-time All-Big West selection has appeared in 100 matches and 346 sets during her three-plus year Matador career. Junior Natalie Allen is also fast approaching 1,000 career kills as she has 863 career kills including a team-high 164 this season.


MATADOR DEBUTS

True freshman Julie Haake and Stephanie Serna each made their Matador debut last week. Consecutive matches against Coppin State gave head coach Jeff Stork the ability to experiment with different lineups with Haake and Serna both receiving extended playing time for the first time in 2013. Haake, a 6-0 outside hitter from Keller, Texas, had nine kills in two matches against the Eagles while hitting .200 in 25 swings. She also added her first collegiate ace in Thursday's 3-0 win. Serna, a 6-2 middle from Ontario, Calif., notched her first collegiate kills in her first start against Coppin State on Friday. She responded with five kills with just one hitting error in seven attacks (.571). Serna also came  off the bench against No. 3 Washington recording a pair of block assists.  


HEAD OF STEAM HEADING INTO CONFERENCE PLAY

The last time a CSUN team opened up conference play with as many as 10 wins was 1989 when the Matadors opened up CCAA play with an 11-5 record. At 10-3, Northridge is off to its best 13-match start since 1986. The Matadors' three losses this season have come to teams ranked in the AVCA Top-25. CSUN fell to No. 24 Creighton (3-0), No. 11 UCLA (3-2) and No. 3 Washington (3-1). After opening the season with six consecutive victories, the Matadors have won four of their last five since losing back-to-back to Creighton and UCLA. CSUN has evenly distributed its wins, winning in straight sets four times, twice in four and four times in five sets. As with any team, hitting percentage has been a huge factor this season as the Matadors are a perfect 10-0 when out-hitting their opponents while CSUN is 0-3 when being out-hit percentage-wise.


RANDAZZO DIGS IN

Junior libero Kelcie Randazzo had big shoes to fill this season when stepping in for all-time digs leader Cindy Ortiz who graduated after last season. Randazzo has proven up to the task through 13 matches as she has a team-high 181 digs (3.48 dps) which ranks fifth in the Big West. After posting seven digs in the season-opener vs. Santa Clara, the junior from Whittier, Calif., has posted double figure dig totals in 10 of the next 12 matches. Her season-high is 19 against Rice and she has 18 on three different occasions most recently at No. 3 Washington on Saturday. 


NORTHRIDGE NOTES

Senior Britney Graff, who has played primarily in the back row this season, got her first chance to attack against Coppin State and responded with a match-high 13 kills while hitting .478 on 23 swings. Graff, who has 781 career kills in her Matador career, ranks fourth on the team this season with 69 digs (1.33 dps) while also serving 10 aces which is second on the squad ... A pair of sophomores, Steffi Miller and Marissa Boyd also received extensive playing time against Coppin State. Boyd recorded a pair of assists to go with three digs and her first collegiate ace against the Eagles. Miller, who started the second match against Coppin State, had 30 assists in the two matches while also posting two blocks and serving the first three aces of her CSUN career.


UP NEXT

Following this week's lone match against UC Davis, Cal State Northridge is on the road for its next two Big West matches at UC Riverside (Oct. 4) and Cal State Fullerton (Oct. 5). The Matadors then return home to host Long Beach State (Oct. 10) and UC Irvine (Oct. 12).

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