November 27, 2013

Big West Championship Up In the Air as Matadors Head to UC Davis

MATADORS THIS WEEK:

MATCH #29 (Big West Match #16):

Cal State Northridge Matadors (22-6, 12-3 Big West) at UC Davis Aggies (14-14, 6-9 Big West)

Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013 - 7:00 p.m. PST
The Pavilion (8,000) - Davis, CA
Live Stats: ucdavisaggies.com
Streaming Video: BigWest.TV
Audio: none
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors 


Weekly Match Notes      


FOR STARTERS

Cal State Northridge (22-6, 12-3 Big West) concludes the 2013 regular season this Saturday as the Matadors travel to UC Davis to take on the Aggies (14-14, 6-9 Big West). CSUN, sitting second in the Big West standings at 12-3, can still win the conference's regular season title outright and NCAA automatic berth with a win on Saturday and a pair of losses by UC Santa Barbara and one loss by Hawai'i. The Gauchos are in the drivers seat at 12-2 but have road matches at Long Beach State and UC Irvine this week. Hawai'i is also on the road at UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton. If UCSB wins its final two matches the Gauchos will claim the automatic berth at 14-2 with the Matadors and Rainbow Wahine fighting for at-large berths into the field.


NORTHRIDGE ON THE NET

The CSUN-UC Davis match will be streamed live on BigWest.TV and will also have live stats (link available at GoMatadors.com). 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

After Hawai'i and Cal State Northridge staged a nearly three hour, five-set battle in The Matadome one month ago, the 12th-ranked Rainbow Wahine made quick work of the Matadors Saturday at the Stan Sheriff Center winning 25-19, 25-20, 25-21. In dropping two straight matches for just the second time this season, the Matadors were stymied on offense hitting just .152 (34-17-112) as a team. The Rainbow Wahine wound up hitting .252 (48-16-127) and had at least 15 kills in each of the three sets. CSUN managed 13 kills in set two which turned out to be its high for the match. Natalie Allen had a solid match for the Matadors as the junior put down a team-high 11 kills while hitting .429 on 21 attacks. Allen also had 10 digs for her team-leading 13th double-double of the season. Libero Kelcie Randazzo scooped up a match-high 21 digs in the loss. Playing in front of family and friends, senior Mahina Haina added eight kills (.156) but CSUN's other big guns Casey Hinger and Cieana Stinson combined for just 10 kills. Hinger hit .095 on 21 swings but did have nine digs, four blocks and one ace. Stinson hit -.050 on 20 attacks while setter Sydney Gedryn matched Hinger with four blocks and also had 28 assists and three digs.


STORY LINES

• Despite falling in straight sets on the road at No. 12 Hawai'i on Saturday, the Matadors are still in the thick of the Big West regular season title chase. Saturday's loss dropped CSUN to 12-3 in conference play while UC Santa Barbara (12-2) overtook the Matadors by one-half game after winning at Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside last week. Hawai'i (11-3) remains third with two matches yet to play. CSUN needs a win at UC Davis on Saturday and one loss by the Gauchos to earn a share of the conference crown. UCSB, which travels to Long Beach State and UC Irvine this week, holds the tiebreaker over the Matadors based on winning both matches between the two teams. Hawai'i takes on UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton on the road for their final two regular season matches.

• After falling at No. 12 Hawai'i, Cal State Northridge remained just outside of the AVCA Coaches Top-25 for the second straight week. The Matadors received 13 points this week and are ranked 29th, the fourth team listed in "Others Receiving Votes" section. CSUN moved into the AVCA Top-25 on Oct. 28 for the first time since 1992 after ranking 24th with 135 points. Three weeks ago, the Matadors ranked 23rd with 196 points and were 21st with 309 points two weeks ago. Northridge has now been ranked or has received votes in 13 straight AVCA Top-25 polls for the first time in school history. 

• Saturday's match will be the 22nd meeting all-time between the Matadors and UC Davis with the Matadors leading 12-9 in the series. CSUN, 4-5 all-time in Davis, won this season's first meeting between the two teams behind 19 kills from Cieana Stinson and has now won four of the last six in the series.


ALLEN IS THE 10TH pLAYER iN CSUN 1,000 KILLS CLUB, HAINA CONTINUES TO CLIMB THE LADDER

With her fourth of 10 kills against Hawai'i, junior Natalie Allen became the second Matador in 2013 and 10th player all-time to reach 1,000 career kills in CSUN history. Allen, with 1,007 career kills, moved past Ana Kristich who had 1,004 from 1991-94. Senior Mahina Haina also joined the exclusive group of CSUN hitters earlier this season and has solidified her hold on sixth-place on the all-time Cal State Northridge kills list with 1,156. Haina has also moved into sole possession of fourth place in school history with 3,276 total attacks. Allen now has 2,742 career attacks playing in 360 sets.


MATADOR SOLID IN NCAA RPI

Should the season come down to at-large possibilities to reach the NCAA Tournament, CSUN's current ranking (38th) in the Ratings Percentage Index is favorable. The Matadors finished 21-10 last season but fell short of a tournament berth because no team lower than 44th received an at-large berth into the field, CSUN was 76th. Head Coach Jeff Stork kept that in mind this season challenging the current squad with a difficult schedule which would not leave the Matadors at-large chances up in the air. The NCAA Selection Show will take place Sunday, Dec. 1 at 6:30 p.m.


HINGER AN ALL-AROUND FORCE  

Junior Casey Hinger began her Matador career as strictly a middle blocker but has since added significant responsibilities to her resume. Hinger is the team leader in five statistical categories including kills (322), kills per set (2.93), hitting pct. (.339), points (405) and blocks (117). Further signifying her all-around importance is the fact that she ranks second in aces (18) and is now fifth in digs (125) despite playing in the backrow for only the last several weeks. Hinger's .339 hitting (.345 in conference play) would prove to be the highest by a CSUN hitter since Getty Dimitrova's .357 clip in 1996. The junior from Fullerton has also led the Matadors in kills in eight of the last nine matches. 


MATADORS: WEEK 13 THIS & THAT

With 11 kills and 10 digs at Hawai'i, Allen posted her team-leading 13th double-double this season and 38th of her CSUN career ... Fellow junior Kelcie Randazzo has now dug at least 20 balls in three of the last five matches which included a career-high 28 at Long Beach State on Nov. 9. Randazzo continues to rank fifth in the Big West at 3.75 digs per set ... Some random numbers following the loss at Hawai'i: CSUN dropped to 11-2 on Saturday, 1-4 against ranked teams and 0-4 when hitting less than .150 as a team. The Matadors remain a perfect 17-0 this season when winning the opening set ... Back-to-back losses to UCSB and Hawai'i marked just the second time this season that CSUN has dropped consecutive matches ... Saturday's regular season finale will mark the final regular season match for Matador seniors Sydney Gedryn, Britney Graff and Mahina Haina. All three players were honored prior to the CSUN's home finale against UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 16 ... The last time the Matadors played a regular season match the Saturday after Thanksgiving was 2011 when CSUN hosted Air Force. The last time CSUN played into December was the 2003 and 2004 seasons which was also the last time the Matadors reached the NCAA Tournament. Both seasons, CSUN played in the NCAA first round at USC which is hosting a regional round this season. 

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