October 17, 2007

Northridge Returns Home To Host No. 24 Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara


Northridge Returns Home To Host No. 24 Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara
This Week's Matador Women's Volleyball Release





MATADOR VOLLEYBALL THIS WEEK:

Match #21: No. 24 Cal Poly at Cal State Northridge * Friday, Oct. 19 * The Matadome * 7:00 p.m.
Match #22: UC Santa Barbara at Cal State Northridge * Saturday, Oct. 20 * The Matadome * 7:00 p.m.

NORTHRIDGE RETURNS HOME FOR TWO AGAINST NO. 24 CAL POLY, UC SANTA BARBARA
Cal State Northridge (7-13, 4-4 Big West) opens up a brief two-match homestand this weekend as the Matadors host No. 24 Cal Poly (12-7, 6-1) on Friday and UC Santa Barbara (7-12, 2-5) on Saturday. Both matches begin at 7:00 p.m. The Matadors, 2-1 at home this season, will play eight of their final 11 regular season matches in the comforts of The Matadome. Northridge is 10-9 all-time against Cal Poly in The Matadome and 2-8 all-time against UC Santa Barbara in Northridge.

NORTHRIDGE ON THE NET
All Matador home matches will webcast live on the official website of Northridge Athletics, www.GoMatadors.com with Sam Farber handling the play-by-play. Farber will be joined occasionally by former Winthrop assistant coach Paul Duchesne. And for the second straight season, the Big West Conference and CSTV are partnering to bring LIVE Big West Conference volleyball home to you. A monthly subscription of $9.95 or an annual subscription of $79.95 gets you exclusive coverage of Big West women's volleyball delivered right to your computer. If you can't make it to the gym, you can still watch all the action on BigWest.TV!

A BRIEF WEEK IN REVIEW: MATADORS STAVE OFF UC DAVIS' UPSET BID; FALL IN FOUR GAMES AT PACIFIC
Junior Val Kepler pounded a career-high 17 kills to go with 11 blocks to lead Cal State Northridge back from a two-game deficit as the Matadors held off UC Davis' upset bid with a 26-30, 25-30, 30-25, 34-32, 16-14 win last Friday at the Pavilion. On Saturday, Northridge dropped the first two games but battled back to nearly force a fifth game ultimately falling at Pacific 30-15, 30-20, 26-30, 33-31. Freshman Alex Johnson and sophomore Angela Hupp each tallied a team-high 13 kills to lead Northridge.

MATADORS SEEK HISTORIC WIN OVER UCSB
A win over UC Santa Barbara on Saturday would prove historic in more ways than one. The Matadors have never beaten the Gauchos twice in one season dating all the way back to 1978. With Northridge's 3-2 win in Santa Barbara on Sept. 21 the opportunity will present itself on Saturday. The Matadors are also seeking just their third win at home over UCSB in 11 tries. The last win for the Matadors over the Gauchos in Northridge was during the 2003 season when the Matadors used 22 kills, four aces and eight blocks from senior Jennifer Fopma to knock off the 15th-ranked Gauchos in four games.

KEPLER POSTS CAREER-HIGHS AT UC DAVIS
In the midst of a solid junior season, middle blocker Val Kepler (Simi Valley/Simi Valley HS) had a career night in the Matadors' five-set win at UC Davis last Friday. In helping Northridge overcome a two-game deficit, Kepler knocked down a career-high 17 kills in a career-high 32 swings. She also matched her career-high with 11 blocks (one solo) and helped out with a career-best three assists. For the season, Kepler leads the Matadors in kills (177) and hitting percentage (.307), is second in blocks (78) and ranks third in kills per game (2.33). She also ranks eighth in the Big West in hitting percentage (.307).

WRIGHT MOVES INTO FOURTH IN ASSISTS
With 52 assists in two matches last week, junior setter Kayla Wright (Murrieta, CA/Murrieta Valley HS) moved into fourth place on the Cal State Northridge career assists list. Wright now has 1,973 career helpers to move past Heather Zall who had 1,947 career assists from 1999-2000. Fellow junior Amy Hultner (Garden Grove/Rosary HS) moved closer to the Northridge top 10 in career digs. With 32 digs at UC Davis and Pacific last weekend, Hultner now has 820 career digs and is now just 81 digs away from moving past Patty Fitzsimmons (900 career digs from 1989-92) and into 10th place.

MATADORS POST AN INAUGURAL RPI OF 133
In the first Ratings Percentage Index of the 2007 season (released Oct. 12), the Matadors have an RPI of 133 among 324 schools playing NCAA Division I volleyball. Despite a 6-12 record at the time of the poll, Northridge has a strong RPI based on the tough schedule the Matadors have faced in 2007. Cal Poly, at 21, is the highest Big West Conference team followed by Long Beach State at 29. Pacific comes in at 59, followed by UC Irvine at 79. Northridge is next at 133, followed by Cal State Fullerton at 138, UC Santa Barbara at 143, UC Riverside at 248 and UC Davis at 261.

NORTHRIDGE "QUOTABLES"
Head coach Jeff Stork had this to say about last week's matches at UC Davis and Pacific:

"There's only been a few Big West matches where we've won the first game and played well early," said Stork. "We don't start fast enough and that was certainly the case against both UC Davis and Pacific."

"We build into a pretty good team and play better and better as the match goes on," added Stork. "But we're still not getting the positional consistency we would like."

On hosting 24th-ranked Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara this week:

"We hope to have a bit of advantage playing Cal Poly at home," said Stork. "Playing ranked teams hasn't bode well for our win-loss record this year. Santa Barbara is a winnable match for us but again consistency is the key for us."

TOUGH SCHEDULE
Nine Matador opponents (the most of any team in the Big West) are named in the CSTV/AVCA Coaches Top 25 poll this week. USC (16-2) is the highest ranked Northridge opponent this week at No. 4. Washington (17-1) is ranked fifth this week followed by seventh-ranked UCLA (15-3). San Diego (14-5) is ranked 16th this week followed by 17th-ranked Duke (14-4). Cal Poly (12-7) ranks 24th this week while another Big West rival Long Beach State (12-5), Sacramento State (20-3) and Oregon State (9-11) all received votes in this week's top 25 poll. Cal Poly becomes the first ranked opponent to play in The Matadome this season. The last time Northridge hosted a ranked team was the same Mustangs who came to The Matadome last season as the 19th-ranked team in the country and dealt the Matadors a 3-0 setback. In 2003, Northridge hosted top-ranked USC in the regular season finale and lost in four games.

SCOUTING CAL POLY
The 24th-ranked Mustangs bring a 12-7 overall record (6-1 Big West) into Friday's match in The Matadome. Cal Poly has won three straight and seven of its last eight matches including road wins at UC Santa Barbara (3-1) and UC Irvine (3-0) last week. The Mustangs lone conference loss came in four games at Pacific on Sept. 29. Junior Kylie Atherstone averages a team-high 4.36 kpg which ranks fourth in the conference. Co-Big West Player of the Week Jaclyn Houston averages 2.25 kpg and 1.46 bpg. Cal Poly is second in the Big West in team hitting at .237 while averaging a conference-best 3.14 blocks per game. Head coach Jon Stevenson (UC Santa Barbara, 1980) is in his third season with the Mustangs and sports a 54-19 school record.

SCOUTING UC SANTA BARBARA
The Gauchos, who travel to Long Beach State on Friday before venturing to Northridge on Saturday, are 7-12 overall (2-5 Big West) heading into this week's action. UCSB has split its last four matches, sandwiching wins over UC Riverside (3-1) and UC Davis (3-0) around losses to Cal State Fullerton (3-2) and Cal Poly (3-1). Junior Lauren McLaughlin leads the Gauchos averaging 4.62 kills per game which also leads the Big West Conference. McLaughlin tallied 17 kills and 15 digs in the first meeting of the season. Freshman setter Dana Vargas averages 11.81 assists per game while UC Santa Barbara is hitting .215 as a team. Head coach Kathy Gregory (Cal State L.A., 1968) is in her 33rd season with the Gauchos and sports a 791-340 career and school record.

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