October 5, 2010

Matadors Look For Home Success Against CSU Bakersfield and UC Riverside This Week

Oct. 5, 2010

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MATADORS RETURN HOME TO FACE CSU BAKERSFIELD AND UC RIVERSIDE
Cal State Northridge (6-12, 0-4 Big West) looks to get back on the winning track this week as the Matadors return home to face CSU Bakersfield (0-20) and UC Riverside (2-14, 0-2 Big West). Wednesday's match against the Roadrunners is a non-conference tilt before Northridge returns to the conference slate against the Highlanders on Saturday. Both matches begin at 7 p.m. The Matadors slipped to 0-4 in the Big West with road losses at UC Davis (3-1) and Pacific (3-0) last weekend. Northridge is also seeking its first win in The Matadome this season.

NORTHRIDGE ON THE NET
Both matches this week will be available as part of the Big West live streaming package. Both matches will also feature live stats via Gametracker at GoMatadors.com. 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 coverage to you. If you can't make it to the gym, you can still catch all the action on BigWest.TV!

TO RECAP
Looking for its first Big West win of the 2010 season, Cal State Northridge came up short in four sets as UC Davis defeated the Matadors 25-18, 25-21, 23-25, 25-20 Friday night at The Pavilion. Senior Janet Alvarado put down a team-high 12 kills (.281) while Monica McFarland (.241) and Natalie Allen (.211) each added 10 kills on a night the Matador offense struggled. As a team, CSUN had just 39 kills (eight kills in the opening set, 13 in set two, nine in set three and nine in set four) compared to 65 for the Aggies. The Matadors' leading hitter Mahina Haina never got untracked and had no kills and two errors in four swings. Sophomore libero Cindy Ortiz led CSUN with 14 digs. Cal State Northridge dropped its fifth straight match Saturday night as the host Pacific Tigers swept the Matadors, 25-15, 25-18, 25-20 at the Spanos Center. Allen and Una Siljegovic each had six kills to lead CSUN. The Matadors (6-12, 0-4 Big West) hit a season-low .027 in the match as Allen and Siljegovic paced the team with six kills. Allen hit just .038 while Siljegovic hit .000. Senior Janet Alvarado earned the start at outside hitter and added five kills (.000) and three digs. Libero Cindy Ortiz was a bright spot for Northridge with a team-high 10 digs.

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE OPPONENTS
CSU Bakersfield (0-20) remained winless in 2010 after falling in straight sets at UC Riverside last Saturday. The Roadrunners have definitely been road warriors this season playing 18 of their first 20 matches away from home, where they are now 0-18. Junior OH Lindy DeGeare leads CSUB averaging 2.84 kps while hitting .096. The Matadors hold a 28-8 lead in the all-time series with the Runners which dates back to 1979. CSUB however has won three of the last four meetings. UC Riverside, which travels to UC Irvine on Tuesday and Cal Poly on Friday, is 2-14 (0-2 Big West) after splitting a pair of non-conference matches last week. The Highlanders fell in three sets at No. 24 San Diego before snapping a seven-match winless streak with a 3-0 win over CSU Bakersfield. Senior OH Kelly Simpson leads UCR averaging 2.79 kills per set. CSUN leads 41-19 in the all-time series with the Highlanders but UCR has claimed three of the last four matches between the two teams.

HOME NOT-SO SWEET HOME
The Matadors head into this week's matches against CSU Bakersfield and UC Riverside still seeking their first home victory. The Roadrunners and Highlanders come in a combined 0-17 on the road this season. Of course the strength of opponent over the first four home matches had something to do with Northridge's struggles on the home court this season. The four teams who have beaten Northridge in The Matadome this season (UCLA, Loyola Marymount, UCSB, Cal Poly) are a combined 42-21 (.667). The Matadors are the lone remaining Big West team without at least one home victory. Following this week, Northridge has home matches remaining against UC Irvine (Oct. 16), Pacific (Oct. 29), UC Davis (Oct. 20), Long Beach State (Nov. 19) and Cal State Fullerton (Nov. 20).

A FIRST SET WIN GOES A LONG WAY
The Matadors are 3-2 this season when winning the opening set of the match, but just 3-10 when dropping set one. Northridge won the opening set twice during the UNLV Classic but wound up winning all three matches and also won set one in a four-set win at Santa Clara (Sept. 10). The lone losses for the Matadors this season when winning set one came against Northern Colorado (lost in five) and No. 13 UCLA (lost in four). Defense, specifically digs, has played in role in Northridge's success. The Matadors are 3-1 when putting up more digs than their opponents and 3-11 when they don't. Blocking has been another story. CSUN has out-blocked 11 of their 18 opponents this season but are just 4-7 in those 11 matches. When the Matadors have fewer blocks, they are 2-5.

DIFFERENT PLAYERS STEP UP ON OFFENSE
The Matadors have had six different players lead the team in kills over the first 18 matches this season. Freshmen Natalie Allen (Murrieta, Calif.) and Mahina Haina (Honolulu, Hawai'i) each have had a share of the team lead in kills a team-high seven times. Sophomore Monica McFarland (Riverside, Calif.) has led on three occasions while Janet Alvarado (Los Angeles, Calif.), Lynda Morales (Fallbrook, Calif.) and Puneet Pataria (San Jose, Calif.) each have led once. Alvarado became the sixth different player to lead the team when she put down 12 kills at UC Davis on Friday.

NORTHRIDGE NOTES
Mahina Haina's team-best streak of seven straight matches with double figures in kills came to an end at UC Davis on Friday. Haina still has put down double figures in kills nine times in her last 13 matches. Natalie Allen and Monica McFarland each had streaks of six straight matches earlier this season ... Freshman Nicole Jarvis (Oxnard, Calif.) made her first appearance in seven matches when she came off the bench against Pacific. Jarvis, who started the first seven matches of the season, has 32 kills (0.89 kps) and 26 blocks (0.72 bps) this season ... After averaging 1.17 digs per set over the first six matches of the season, sophomore Cindy Ortiz is averaging 4.07 digs since assuming the starting libero spot. Ortiz has led the Matadors in digs 11 times this season ... Sydney Gedryn (San Jose, Calif.) had eight assists off the bench against Pacific on Saturday, the most she's dished out since handing out eight against Cincinnati on Aug. 28. Gedryn posted a personal season-high 32 assists to go with five blocks in the season-opener at San Diego State on Aug. 27 ... In addition the season-low hitting percentage the Matadors hit against Pacific, setter Sam Orlandini (La Cañada, Calif.) had a single match season-low 15 assists and Allen had a single match season-low six kills ... With six wins in 18 matches this season, the Matadors are ahead of last season when they were 5-13 after 18 matches ... Northridge has 893 kills (12.76 kps) as a team compared to 960 (13.71) for the opponents in 18 matches. In four Big West matches, the disparity is greater as the Matadors have 169 kills (11.27) to 200 (13.33) for their opponents ... CSUN is still out-serving the opponents, 88-80 overall this season but is being out-aced 25-19 in conference matches.

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

On matches at UC Davis and Pacific last weekend:
"We're just not generating enough kills and we need to increase our production on positive points. We did a very good job at Davis of minimizing our errors but we weren't producing the points we needed and a majority of that is attacking."

On playing four tough teams to open Big West:
"In the four matches, when we're getting it up to 13-15 kills per set we're competitive. When we're down around eight we aren't. I think we had a shot at Santa Barbara and did a real good job of making some adjustments and played really well. Cal Poly is obviously a pretty good team which beat Long Beach convincingly last week. Davis is moving up, they're doing some simple things and doing them well. Pacific has strong players but that might have been the worst loss of them all. This conference is tough top to bottom. Every night you've got to come to play."

On Sydney Gedryn's contributions:
"Sydney coming in during the third set against Pacific gave us a real boost. She did some terrific things with her blocking and I thought the change in rhythm she gave the offense was a good thing. She's a very physical setter and she can incorporate that into her play much more."

On upcoming matches against CSU Bakersfield and UC Riverside:
"Bakersfield has had a tough time based on some injuries. Riverside is well coached and they're still trying to find a rhythm in that system. I think they have some good players. Certainly these two matches will be a test for us just based on where our confidence is. We need to create some wins and boost our confidence."

UP NEXT
Following this week's home matches with CSU Bakersfield and UC Riverside, the Matadors have a home and home next week as they travel to Cal State Fullerton (Oct. 14) before hosting UC Irvine on Oct. 16. The second half of Big West play opens Oct. 22 as Northridge travels to Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara. The Matadors will not have their first encounter with Long Beach State until Nov. 11 and will play two of their final four matches against the 49ers.

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