NORTHRIDGE, Calif - Big West Tri-Champions Cal State Northridge is returning to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2004 as the Matadors will take on Colorado State in the first round Thursday at USC's Galen Center.
CSUN will be making its fifth appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 1991, the school's first season at the Division I level. The Matadors reached the tournament for the first time as an at-large selection in 1992 when CSUN finished 27-7 under Walt Ker before falling at USC in straight sets (16-14, 15-8, 15-10).
The Matadors won the Big Sky Conference's automatic berth in 1996 after defeating Sacramento State in the conference championship. CSUN then took host Kansas State to four sets before falling 15-12, 14-16, 15-11, 15-13.
CSUN took the at-large route in both 2003 and 2004 when Jeff Stork took the Matadors to the postseason twice in his first three seasons on the bench. In 2003, finished the regular season at 16-12 but tied for second in the Big West at 12-6. CSUN then dropped a 30-21, 30-22, 30-26 decision to Loyola Marymount at USC's Lyon Center.
It was back to the Lyon Center again in 2004 as the 17-10 Matadors wound up losing to Kansas State by the score of 30-20, 30-23, 30-25 in the first round.
CSUN is 1-4 all-time against its first round opponent Colorado State. The two teams last met in 2005 when the Rams swept the Matadors 30-28, 30-20, 30-26 at the Pepperdine Classic in Malibu.
First round a matches at the Galen Center will feature the Matadors and Rams Thursday at 5 p.m., followed by New Hampshire and No. 6 seed USC at approximately 7:30 p.m. Winners will advance to face each other in a second round match Friday at 7 p.m.
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