Matadors Take Two-Match Win Streak To Cal State Fullerton Thursday

Oct. 12, 2010

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Cal State Northridge (8-12, 1-4 Big West), looking to extend its current two-match win streak, travels to Big West front-running Cal State Fullerton (15-4, 4-1 Big West) on Thursday before hosting UC Irvine (5-13, 1-4 Big West) on Saturday. The Matadors claimed their first two home wins last week and also picked up their first conference win of the season as CSUN defeated CSU Bakersfield and UC Riverside.

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 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!

Behind a season-high 15 kills from senior Lynda Morales and 13 kills from Natalie Allen, Cal State Northridge notched its first home win of the season with a 25-13, 25-20, 19-25, 25-19 non-conference victory over CSU Bakersfield. Morales was virtually unstoppable for the Matadors as she knocked down 15 kills with just one error in 18 swings to hit an impressive .778. The senior also added seven blocks (one solo), five digs and one ace. Allen also hit well as she notched 13 kills in 28 attacks with three hitting errors to hit .357. Janet Alvarado and Una Siljegovic helped the Matador offense with eight kills apiece and Sam Orlandini also posted a double-double with 31 assists and 10 digs. CSUN hit .328 (56-14-128) as a team while CSUB hit .164 (41-19-134). On Saturday, Allen knocked down a match-high 16 kills and fellow freshman Mahina Haina added 10 as Cal State Northridge notched its first Big West Conference win with a 25-21, 24-26, 25-15, 25-18 decision over UC Riverside. Allen also added five digs, four blocks and a pair of aces while hitting .306. Haina came off the bench to put down 10 kills (.238) while Siljegovic chipped in nine kills (.273) to go with four digs. Libero Cindy Ortiz had a match-high 19 digs and three aces while Orlandini posted 27 assists and eight digs. As a team, the Matadors hit .239 (56-24-134) and had 10 aces to just one for UC Riverside. The Highlanders were out-blocked by CSUN 9.0-8.0.

Cal State Fullerton (15-4, 1-4) comes into Thursday's match as one of the hottest teams in the Big West. The Titans have won 11 of their last 12 matches after opening the season 4-3. Fullerton defeated Pacific (3-0) and previously unbeaten in conference UC Davis (3-2) last week at home to improve to a perfect 10-0 at Titan Gym. Senior OH Erin Saddler leads Fullerton averaging 4.41 kps which ranks second in the Big West. The Matadors hold a 22-9 lead in the all-time series with the Titans but Fullerton has won three of the past four meetings. Northridge has won three of the last four matches in Fullerton. UC Irvine, which travels to Long Beach State on Friday, is 5-13 (1-4 Big West) after splitting a pair of matches last week. The Anteaters defeated UC Riverside fell in four sets before dropping a non-conference match to Loyola Marymount in five. Senior OH Kari Pestolesi leads UCI averaging 3.23 kills per set. UC Irvine holds a slim 20-19 lead in the all-time series with the Matadors and the Anteaters have defeated CSUN six straight times dating to 2007.

Wednesday's 3-1 non-conference win over CSU Bakersfield gave the Matadors their first win in The Matadome this season and Saturday's 3-1 win over UC Riverside gave Northridge its first Big West win of the season. With eight wins, the Matadors have already equaled the 2009 Northridge team that finished 8-22 overall and 4-12 in conference. With five home matches yet to come, the Matadors have a chance to post a winning record at The Matadome for the 12th time in the last 15 seasons.

A slew of Matadors posted season-highs during last week's action. Senior Lynda Morales (Fallbrook, Calif.) pounded a season-high 15 kills while hitting an impressive .778 against CSU Bakersfield. It marked the first time this season, that Morales led the team in kills. She also tied for match-high honors with 12 kills at Santa Clara on Sept. 10. Junior Una Siljegovic (Simi Valley, Calif.), who earned her first two starts of the season, also matched her season-high with nine kills against UC Riverside and her 22 attacks was a season-high. Siljegovic also had six digs vs. CSUB which matched her season-high. Sophomore Cindy Ortiz (Los Angeles, Calif.) notched a career-high three aces and also had a career-best eight assists in the 3-1 win over the Highlanders.

Natalie Allen (Murrieta, Calif.) and Sam Orlandini (La Cañada, Calif.), two of the team leaders in double-doubles, each added to their total last week. Orlandini, who ranks second on the team with five double-doubles this season, had 31 assists and 10 digs against CSU Bakersfield for her third double dip in the last six matches and 21st of her Matador career. Allen, who is third on the squad with four, also doubled up against the Roadrunners with 13 kills and 10 digs. It was Allen's first double-double since posting 11 kills and 12 digs at Santa Clara on Sept. 10. With 20 points against UC Riverside on Saturday, she also had her highest point total in a match since tallying 20.5 points against UTSA on Sept. 4. Sophomore Monica McFarland currently leads the team with five double-doubles this season but missed the last two matches with an injury.

After five Big West matches, Northridge leads the conference in aces, averaging 1.53 aces per set. The Matadors, with a conference-best 103 aces overall this season, have 29 aces in five Big West matches. The Matadors also improved to fifth in the Big West in hitting at .218, but remain ninth in opponent hitting percentage (.234). Orlandini, the team leader with 22 aces, ranks third in the conference averaging 0.31 per set.

A win at Cal State Fullerton would give the Matadors their second three-match win streak of the season. CSUN also won a season-best three in a row at the UNLV Classic on Sept. 17-18 when the Matadors topped UNLV, Xavier and San Jose State in succession. Northridge has not had a win streak longer than three since 2006 when the Matadors won six straight from Sept. 15-Sept. 30 ... Seeing limited playing time while recovering from an injury suffered at the tail end of the 2009 season, senior Brittany Williams (Chino Hills, Calif.) had a season-high four kills in 12 swings against CSU Bakersfield on Wednesday. Williams also had a pair of digs in both matches last week and also served an ace in each match. The senior now has 811 kills in her Matador career ... UC Davis, the last team undefeated in conference play, is undefeated no more after falling in straight sets at Long Beach State last week. Six of the nine conference teams now have double figure win totals, led by Fullerton's 15, with the Matadors within striking distance just two wins away from 10 on the season.

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

On defeating CSU Bakersfield and UC Riverside:
"Anytime you get wins, it's a very good week. The team is playing very well offensively. We sided-out at an extremely high level two matches in a row and we're doing some good things offensively. We also continue to block at a good rate."

On different players stepping up:
"We're getting a lot of help when a player is not playing well having somebody come in and contribute. Everybody in our program understands that they're going to get opportunities and my hope is that when given the chance they are able to perform."

On team leadership:
"The leadership has also gotten better over the last couple of weeks within the team. We're getting more focus and accountability from more senior members on the team. We're also getting a lot of good production out of some younger players but the leadership is stepping up more and more."

On upcoming matches at Cal State Fullerton and at home against UC Irvine:
"I think this week is certainly going to be a test for us. I think Fullerton is a solid team and Irvine is also a very good team so we have two good tests this week. This Matador team is not afraid to play anybody, but obviously we have to come in with a certain attitude and focus that says we need to compete for each point, each set and each match."

Following this week's road match in Fullerton and home match against UC Irvine, the Matadors open the second half of the Big West Conference season next week with road matches at Cal Poly (Oct. 22) and UC Santa Barbara (Oct. 23). Northridge lost in three to Cal Poly in The Matadome on Sept. 25 following a tough five-set loss to UCSB the night before (Sept. 24). The Matadors return home Oct. 29 when they host Pacific.