Matadors Continue Road Swing in San Jose and Santa Clara

Sept. 8, 2010

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Cal State Northridge (2-4, 0-0 Big West) continues its tour of California as the Matadors head to the Bay Area to take on Seattle, Santa Clara and Portland State this weekend. Northridge, which has played tournaments in San Diego and Sacramento, takes on Seattle (2-5) Friday morning as part of the San Jose State Tournament before traveling to take on Santa Clara (4-2) Friday evening in the Santa Clara Tournament. The Matadors then return to San Jose on Saturday to take on Portland State (3-3). Northridge is looking to build on its weekend in Sacramento where the Matadors won two of three matches but lost in the tournament championship to the host Sac State Hornets.

Both matches of the San Jose State Tournament (Seattle, Portland State) will feature live stats at All 11 Northridge home matches will be streamed live via BigWest.TV (http:///allaccess) as well as feature live stats via Gametracker.

Freshman Natalie Allen put down a match-high 20 kills and junior Puneet Pataria added 13 as Cal State Northridge claimed its first win of the season with a come-from-behind five set win over Elon Friday at the Sacramento State Invitational. Allen, who hit .366, completed her first collegiate double-double by adding 10 digs. Sophomore Monica McFarland also posted a double-double with 11 kills (.211) and a season-high 20 digs while Pataria, who came on for an injured Lynda Morales, had 13 kills (.524), two aces and nine assisted blocks. Junior setter Sam Orlandini had a solid all-around match with 42 assists, eight digs and six blocks. The Matadors made it two straight behind 18 kills from Allen, 13 from McFarland and 10 from Pataria as Northridge topped UTSA 17-25, 25-18, 25-16, 25-18. Allen again led the way with a match-high 18 kills. She hit a season-best .405 with just three hitting errors in 37 swings and also added a pair of aces and six digs. McFarland, who had 20 digs for the second straight match, posted her third double-double of the season with 13 kills (.407). With the Sacramento State Invitational title on the line, the host Hornets defeated the Matadors, 25-22, 25-20, 29-31, 25-18. McFarland, who along with Allen, was named to the All-Tournament Team had a career-high 19 kills (.349) and 17 digs. Allen added 16 kills (.176) and 13 digs while Mahina Haina had the best match of her young career with 13 kills (.394).

The Matadors' three opponents at this weekend's Sacramento State Invitational are a combined 9-11 after two weeks of the season. Northridge's first opponent on Friday, Seattle University, is 2-5 after falling in five to #19 Oregon on Monday. After opening 2-1, the Redhawks dropped all three matches at the Arizona State Tournament last weekend. The Matadors and Seattle have met just once when Northridge swept the Redhawks at the Bronco Invitational in Boise, Idaho in 2008. Santa Clara is 4-2 this season after splitting two matches at the Bankers Classic at Pacific. The Broncos defeated Idaho in four sets before falling to the host Tigers in five. Northridge and Santa Clara have met nine times but not since the 1998 season when the Broncos won in straight sets in Northridge. The Vikings of Portland State are 3-4 after falling in five sets to #19 Oregon on Wednesday. The Vikings have now dropped four of their last five with their lone win coming over Gonzaga in five sets. Northridge leads the all-time series with Portland State 11-10. The two teams have not met since 2000 when the Matadors claimed a 3-1 win in Northridge.

Freshman Natalie Allen (Murrieta, Calif.) and Monica McFarland (Riverside, Calif.) both continued their impressive early season play as both were named to the Sacramento State Invitational All-Tournament Team. Allen averaged 4.15 kps while hitting .302 as Northridge won its first two matches of the season. She also averaged 2.23 digs and 0.85 blocks per set. McFarland continued her recent run of double-doubles as she doubled up in all three matches in Sacramento giving her four consecutive double-doubles. She averaged 2.69 kills and 3.56 digs per set in three matches.

When senior Lynda Morales (Fallbrook, Calif.) went down with an injury in the opening set against Elon, head coach Jeff Stork turned to junior Puneet Pataria (San Jose, Calif.). Pataria, who played outside hitter most of her first two seasons, spent time as a middle in high school as well as last spring. She made the most of the opportunity as Pataria pounded 13 kills while hitting a match-high .524 to go with two aces and nine assisted blocks in the Matadors' first win of the season. She then added 10 kills hitting .368 with four digs and three blocks in the win over UTSA.

After six matches in 2010, the Matadors have found themselves in an all-too familiar position, having to come from behind. Northridge has dropped the opening set in five of their first six matches but still has a 2-3 record when losing set one. The Matadors took the opening set against Northern Colorado but wound up losing in five.

By missing the UTSA match, Morales snapped a streak of 92 consecutive appearances in a Matador uniform. The last time she missed a match was the opener of her redshirt freshman season in 2007. Since then Morales has appeared in 92 straight matches, starting 74 of those matches ... After serving nine aces in three matches at the season-opening Aztec Invitational, the Matadors cranked out 13 aces in three matches in Sacramento. Northridge had six aces against UTSA, three coming from Sam Orlandini, which approached the season-high seven aces the Matadors served against Northern Colorado ... Northridge has out-blocked five of their first six opponents but have a 1-4 record in those matches ... Allen currently leads the Matadors in kills, total attacks and aces and is second in blocks and third in digs.

Matador head coach Jeff Stork came into the 2010 season, his ninth on the bench, with 94 career wins. With wins last week over Elon and UTSA, Stork is now within four victories of the century mark. He now has 118 career coaching wins which includes 22 wins as the interim head coach of the Pepperdine men's team in 2000. In his ninth season at Northridge, Stork owns a school record of 96-140 (.407) and is 118-146 (.447) overall. Stork is 21 wins away from passing Dr. Lian Lu (1994-01) and moving into second place on the all-time Matador coaching wins list. Walt Ker (1979-92) amassed 401 wins in his 14 seasons at Cal State Northridge.

Following this weekend's trip to the Bay Area, the Matadors will open this home season as well as encounter their first ranked team of the 2010 season. Northridge and No. 13 UCLA meet in The Matadome next Tuesday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. The Matadors have never beaten the Bruins in 12 previous meetings.