Home Opener Against No. 13 UCLA Opens Busy Week For Matadors

Sept. 14, 2010

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After playing its first nine matches on the road, Cal State Northridge (3-6, 0-0 Big West) plays its first home match of the season Tuesday (Sept. 14) against the 13th-ranked UCLA Bruins (7-1). The week continues for the Matadors Friday and Saturday as Northridge heads to Las Vegas to compete in the UNLV Classic. The Matadors will meet the host UNLV Rebels (3-6) Friday at 7 p.m. and take on Xavier (5-4) Saturday at 10 a.m. and San Jose State (4-6) Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday's match against UCLA will be the first home match available as part of the Big West live streaming package will be free of charge as a home-opener special for Matador fans. The Big West Conference and the CBS College Sports Network are partnering to bring fans exclusive coverage of Big West sports, press conferences, interviews and features into your home via the Internet! Now in its sixth year, BigWest.TV covers every home and conference contest in women's volleyball. A monthly subscription of $9.95 or an annual subscription of $79.95 delivers exclusive cover age to you. If you can't make it to the gym, you can still catch all the action on BigWest.TV!

Trailing two sets to one, Seattle University won the final two sets to hand Cal State Northridge a 25-19, 24-26, 17-25, 25-17, 17-15 loss in the opening match of the SJSU Tournament at Spartan Gym. The Matadors held a two sets to one lead but could not close the match and dropped their second five-set match of the season. Natalie Allen led Northridge with 13 kills (.225) to go with seven digs and five blocks. Sophomore Monica McFarland added 11 kills but struggled on offense hitting a season-low .054. Setter Sam Orlandini posted her second straight double-double with 43 assists and 11 digs while Cindy Ortiz posted a career-high 14 digs. Orlandini then had 42 assists and four aces to lead Northridge to a 25-22, 25-22, 14-25, 25-23 win over Santa Clara Friday night at the Leavy Center. Orlandini, who leads CSUN with 10 aces on the season, added four to her total. Mahina Haina (.258), McFarland (.205) and Lynda Morales (.400) each had 12 kills to lead the Northridge offense. Against Portland State, Cal State Northridge had trouble getting on track Saturday in a straight set (25-18, 25-19, 25-22) loss at Spartan Gym. The Matadors were held to a .120 hitting clip and had 38 kills while committing 23 hitting errors in 125 swings. Junior Puneet Pataria's eight kills (.250) were enough to lead the team.

The 13th-ranked UCLA Bruins bring a 7-1 mark and a five-match winning streak into Tuesday night's match in Northridge. UCLA's lone loss of the season came at No. 5 Hawai'i on Aug. 29 but the Bruins have since won five straight dropping just one set in the process. The Matadors have never beaten the Bruins in 12 matches. The last time the teams' met in Northridge was the 2008 season. The Matadors' three opponents at this weekend's UNLV Classic are a combined 12-16 after three weeks of the season. Northridge's first opponent on Friday, UNLV, is 3-6 after defeating Eastern Kentucky (3-0) and falling in straight sets to Cal State Fullerton and Pepperdine at its own UNLV Invitational. The Matadors lead 2-1 in the all-time series with the Rebels and the two teams last met in 2006 with UNLV winning in three. Xavier is 5-4 this season despite dropping two of three at its own Xavier Invitational last weekend. Northridge and Xavier have met just once in their history, at the same UNLV Invitational in 2006 when the Matadors came away with a 3-0 win. The Spartans of San Jose State are 4-6 winning all three of their matches at its own SJSU Tournament last weekend. Northridge leads the all-time series with San Jose State 6-4. The two teams have not met since 2006 when the Matadors claimed a 3-2 win in San Jose.

Freshman Natalie Allen (Murrieta, Calif.) picked up her second straight all-tournament accolade by being the lone Matador named to the SJSU Tournament All-Tournament team. Allen, who was also named to the Sacramento State Invitational All-Tournament team two weeks ago, averaged 2.50 kills and 2.17 digs per set in three matches last weekend.

With her lone kill against UTSA on Sept. 4, senior Lynda Morales (Fallbrook, Calif.) reached the 600 career kills plateau. However, she would miss the rest of the UTSA match as well as the next two with an injury before returning to the starting lineup last weekend in San Jose. She then added 29 kills to her career total as well as 10 total blocks which gives her 383 total blocks in her Matador career which is sixth all-time. Also notable on the career records list is junior setter Sam Orlandini has passed the 1,900 career assists plateau and now ranks sixth with 1,911 career helpers.

After hitting .262 as a team over the first two weeks of the season, the Matadors saw their season hitting percentage dip to .228 after hitting .136 against Seattle and .120 against Portland State ... The Matadors have played 20 ranked teams since the 2005 season and are 2-18 in those matches. Northridge defeated No. 25 Pepperdine in Malibu in 2005 and upset No. 23 Long Beach State in the 2008 regular season finale. Then No. 4 UCLA also came to Northridge in 2008 and swept the Matadors in three sets (25-15, 25-16, 25-21) ... Northridge has yet to win a three-set match in 2010. The Matadors have lost in straight sets to San Diego State, Cincinnati and Portland State ... Northridge's win over Santa Clara was its first in three matches over a California school in 2010. The Matadors fell to San Diego State and Sacramento State earlier this season.

Matador head coach Jeff Stork came into the 2010 season, his ninth on the bench, with 94 career wins. With a win at Santa Clara, Stork is now within three victories of the century mark. He now has 119 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 97-142 (.406) and is 119-148 (.446) overall. Stork is 20 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.

Matador head coach Jeff Stork shares his thoughts each week on the team, this week's opponents and other topics.

On last weekend's result in the Bay Area:
"We had a great win against Santa Clara, I think all three of the teams we played last weekend were very good teams. Santa Clara, in particular, was much more physical than us yet we controlled ourselves and also the tempo of the game. Unfortunately we let one slip away with Seattle, but did beat Santa Clara on their home court. Portland State came out very aggressive against us and I don't think we responded well enough on our offensive side of the game. I think at critical times we need to make a few more plays. Had we done that we would have been 2-1 rather than 1-2. Overall I think we're siding-out real well and passing much better."

On Tuesday's home opener against No. 13 UCLA:
"We can't look back too long because we've got UCLA on Tuesday night. We're looking forward to having that first home game and hopefully the support of the student body here. UCLA is a very good team, we don't doubt that, but my main focus with this team is to look at our performance as opposed to the outcome. When UCLA comes in, I want to play at a high level both on the offensive side and defensive side."

On the play of sophomore libero Cindy Ortiz:
"Cindy has been doing an outstanding job. She's digging a lot of balls and playing with more confidence. She's one of our top passers and came up with some critical digs against Santa Clara when we really needed it. She has the second highest percentage of perfect passes on the team and doesn't get aced that many times. Also serving-wise she's putting a lot of pressure on our opponents with her strong jump serve."

Following this week's home opener against UCLA and the final tournament of 2010 in Las Vegas, the Matadors will open a season-long, three-match homestand against Loyola Marymount on Sept. 21. The remainder of the homestand marks the beginning of Big West play as UC Santa Barbara (Sept 24) and Cal Poly (Sept. 25) visit The Matadome.