Matadors Open NCAA Tournament Thursday vs. Colorado State
NCAA TOURNAMENT - FIRST ROUND:
Cal State Northridge Matadors (23-6, 13-3 Big West) vs. Colorado State Rams (28-1, 19-1 Mountain West)
Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013 - 5:00 p.m. PST
Galen Center (10,258) - Los Angeles, CA
Live Stats: usctrojans.com
Streaming Video: Pac-12 Network web stream
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors
Cal State Northridge (23-6, 13-3 Big West), Tri-Champions of the Big West Conference, travels to USC's Galen Center to open NCAA Tournament first round action against the Colorado State Rams (28-1) Thursday at 5 p.m. CSUN, which claimed a share of its first-ever Big West crown with a five-set comeback win at UC Davis, is making its fifth appearance in the NCAA Tournament while the Rams have earned their 20th consecutive trip to the field of 64. The Matadors and Colorado State will play the opening match on Thursday followed by sixth-seeded USC taking on New Hampshire at 7:30 p.m. The two winners will meet Friday at 7:00 p.m. for a spot in the Sweet Sixteen.
NORTHRIDGE ON THE NET
All three first round matches from Galen Center will be streamed live. Thursday's CSUN-Colorado State first round match will be streamed live on the USC channel at pac-12.com and will also have live stats (link available at GoMatadors.com). Casey Moran and Alex Jones will provide the call on CSUN's web broadcast at GoMatadors.com. Friday's second round match will be available through the Pac-12 Network. Post-match press conferences will also be streamed at pac12.com and will also be available on the Trojans YouTube page. The tournament host USC has a tournament central page set up at USCTrojans.com.
A FAMILIAR SITE
The Matadors are now stranger to playing postseason matches at USC although this will be CSUN's first NCAA match at Galen Center. The Matadors made their NCAA Tournament debut in 1992 falling to the host Trojans 16-14, 15-8, 15-10. In both 2003 and 2004, CSUN received an at-large berth into the tournament and each time played at USC's Lyon Center. The Matadors dropped a 30-21, 30-22, 30-26 decision to Loyola Marymount in the first round in 2003 and fell to Kansas State 30-20, 30-23, 30-25 in the opening round in 2004. CSUN played three regular season matches at Galen Center in 2007, the second season of the arena's existence. The Matadors played fourth-ranked USC, Mercer and No. 14 Duke as part of the USC Classic.
• The Matadors will be making their fifth NCAA Tournament appearance since joining the Division I ranks in 1990. CSUN has actually made eight postseason appearances in 23 seasons which includes this year's NCAA at-large berth. The Matadors qualified for the National Invitational Volleyball Championship (NIVC) three times, winning the NIVC title in 1994 (the team's first Division I championship), earning runner-up honors in 1990 and tying for fifth-place in 1991. CSUN reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 1992 and made return trips in 1996, 2003 and 2004. Overall, the Matadors are heading to postseason play for the 23rd time in the program's 38-year history with a 57-24 (.703) record. As an NCAA Div. II institution, Cal State Northridge won three national championships (1980, 1983, 1987). In Division I postseason play, Northridge holds an all-time record of 18-10 (.642).
• Colorado State enters the NCAA Tournament with an overall record of 28-1 and a No. 12 national ranking. The Rams, who won the Mountain West title with a 19-1 conference slate, suffered their only loss of the season in their penultimate match to San Diego State (3-2) before bouncing back to sweep UNLV in their regular season finale. Redshirt junior Marlee Reynolds leads the Rams offensively averaging 3.12 kills per set while hitting .221 on the season. Sophomore Adrianna Culbert and junior Kelsey Snider add 2.62 and 2.57 kills per set respectively for Colorado State which hit .298 as a team during the regular season. The Matadors and Rams have three common opponents this season, Cal Poly, UC Santa Barbara and San Diego State. Colorado State finished 3-1 while CSUN was 3-2.
• After defeating UC Davis in its regular season finale, Cal State Northridge remained just outside of the AVCA Coaches Top-25 for the third straight week. The Matadors received 23 points this week and are ranked 26th, the top 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. Four weeks ago, the Matadors ranked 23rd with 196 points and were 21st with 309 points three weeks ago. Northridge has now been ranked or has received votes in 14 straight AVCA Top-25 polls for the first time in school history.
HAINA, ALLEN BOTH REACH 1,000 KILLS CLUB
Senior Mahina Haina joined the exclusive group of CSUN hitters earlier this season and has since moved into sixth place on the all-time Cal State Northridge list with 1,165 kills. Haina, who also moved into sole possession of fourth place in school history with 3,312 total attacks, is just 31 kills behind Alexis Cormier who ranks fourth with 1,196 kills from 1998-2001. Junior Natalie Allen became the second Matador in 2013 and 10th player all-time to reach 1,000 career kills and now has 1,025 as a Matador. Allen, who ranks eighth with 2,785 career attacks, moved past Ana Kristich who had 1,004 from 1991-94.
MATADORS CAPTURE FIRST BIG WEST CROWN
By pulling out a five-set win at UC Davis on Saturday, the Matadors claimed a share of their first-ever Big West Championship. Saturday's victory improved CSUN to 13-3 in conference play which matched both UC Santa Barbara and Hawai'i. The Gauchos however had the tiebreaker over both teams to gain the conference's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. The Matadors' 13 Big West wins is the most by a CSUN team since 1996 when the Matadors finished a perfect 16-0 to capture its one and only Big Sky championship.
CSUN WELL REPRESENTED ON ALL-BIG WEST TEAM
Cal State Northridge had four players as well as Head Coach Jeff Stork honored as the conference announced the 2013 All-Big West teams on Monday, Dec. 2. Stork, who guided the Matadors to their first Big West Conference crown, was named Co-Coach of the Year alongside UC Santa Barbara's Nicole Lantagne Welch. Stork, who was also the conference's Coach of the Year in 2011, has led CSUN to a 23-6 overall record this season and a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the third time in his 12 years. With 23 regular season wins, the 2013 Matadors have matched the 1994 CSUN squad for third-most wins in the school's Division I era. Three CSUN players were named to the first team led by three-time selections Sydney Gedryn and Casey Hinger. Natalie Allen was also named to the first team for the second time in her career while Mahina Haina was named honorable mention for the third consecutive season.
MATADORS: WEEK 14 THIS & THAT
With a team-high 329 kills this season, Casey Hinger has easily established a new career for kills in one season. The junior All-American had a previous career-high 277 kills last season while hitting .248 but has upped her hitting to a career-high .339 this season. Hinger's 405 points this season is the second-most by a Matador player since 2004, Allen had 420.5 points as a freshman in 2010 ... With 23 wins in the regular season, the 2013 Matadors have tied for the third-most wins with the 1994 squad that finished 23-8. Walt Ker's 1990 still holds the CSUN Div. I record for most wins with 29 while Ker's 1992 team finished 27-8 ... Saturday's five-set win at UC Davis was CSUN's ninth in 11 matches that have gone the distance this season. The Matadors are now 14-5 in five set matches over the last two seasons ... CSUN scooped up a season-high 89 digs against UC Davis.
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