Pacific, UC Davis Head to The Valley as Matadors Open Up Four-Match Homestand
Oct. 20, 2009
FOR STARTERS Cal State Northridge (6-14, 2-5 Big West) returns home to open up a season-long four-match homestand this Friday against the Pacific Tigers (15-4, 5-3 Big West). The homestand continues Saturday against UC Davis (15-7, 6-2 Big West) as the Matadors prepare for two of the Big West's top teams.
TO RECAP Cal State Northridge ran its Big West win streak to two matches and won its first conference road match in the process as the Matadors defeated Cal State Fullerton 25-23, 25-23, 18-25, 25-18 Friday at Titan Gym. Senior Angela Hupp's 14 kills (.182) and junior Brittany Williams' 13 (.114) paced the Matadors (6-13, 2-4) who won their second straight overall after snapping a five-match skid. Then after a disastrous opening set on Saturday, Northridge played even with No. 25 Long Beach State before the 49ers prevailed in three sets 25-12, 27-25, 28-26. Williams had a team-high 11 kills on a night that the Matadors struggled to get much going on offense. Williams hit .226 and also added five digs and a pair of blocks.
NORTHRIDGE SPLITS ROAD TRIP TO CAL STATE FULLERTON AND LONG BEACH STATE The Matadors ran their Big West win streak to two straight after opening the week with a four-set upset over Cal State Fullerton. The loss was just the second in 11 home matches for the Titans. The two-match road trip concluded on Saturday as Northridge fell to 25th-ranked Long Beach State in three sets.
"The match against Fullerton was a good match for us," said Head Coach Jeff Stork. "One of the things we've done in the past is hold our opponents to a low hitting percentage and most of that has to do with our serve-block defense. But offensively is always the thing that's held us back a little bit and against Fullerton we were actually fairly steady.
"Going into Long Beach we really had nothing to lose against No. 25 in the nation," said Stork. "We got blown out in the first set but we had our chances in the final two sets. We've got to get the players to believe that they can finish.
"We had three set points in the third game but in the end we're hurting ourselves," said Stork. "We've got to get over that hump of hurting ourselves and believing in our ability to play the game."
MATADORS CLAIM FIRST ROAD WIN SINCE AUGUST The Matadors claimed their first win on an opposing teams' court since Aug. 29 when they knocked off Cal State Fullerton in four sets. Northridge's first true road win came 49 days earlier when the Matadors swept Boise State at Bronco Gym in their third match of the season. Northridge is now 4-11 in all road contests which includes a 2-3 record on neutral site courts.
GRAFF SURPASSES 200 KILLS, APPROACHES 200 DIGS FOR THE SEASON Freshman Britney Graff had 14 kills in two matches last week to go over 200 kills as a true freshman. Graff, who has led the Matadors in kills in five matches this season, is also closing in on 200 digs for the season as she has 194 in her first 20 collegiate matches. After posting double figures in kills in nine of her first 11 matches, Graff has reached double figures just three times her last nine matches. She still ranks second to Angela Hupp in kills and is second to Monica McFarland in digs.
PATARIA SEES FIRST ACTION OF 2009 Sophomore Puneet Pataria got her first taste of court action Saturday at Long Beach State. After suffering an injury early in the season, Pataria, who played in 14 matches as a true freshman in 2008, had not played in the first 19 matches of the season but was called off the bench and responded with four kills in seven swings against the 49ers.
"Puneet played mostly because we decided to switch it up based on the number of errors coming from our outsides in set one," said Stork. "It actually worked quite well as she was one of our better outsides hitting nearly .430 which is pretty good on only seven swings."
DIG PINK NIGHT Saturday's match against UC Davis will be "Dig Pink" night as the Matadors raise money for breast cancer awareness. Fans who wear pink to Saturday's match will receive complimentary admission to the match. There will also be donation cans available for donations throughout the match. Fans can also make an online donation by visiting:
NORTHRIDGE NOTES Saturday's announced attendance of 1,165 at Long Beach State was the Matadors' largest crowd of the season ... Senior Tela Burnett has moved up to second in the Big West in blocking at 1.18 per set ... With a team-high 24 aces this season, sophomore Sam Orlandini vaulted back into the top-10 in the conference averaging 0.30 aces which ranks 10th. Orlandini also ranks ninth in assists at 7.96 ... Freshman Cindy Ortiz has appeared in each of the last five matches after sitting out the first 15 ... Saturday's loss at No. 25 Long Beach State dropped the Matadors to 0-2 this season against teams ranked in the AVCA Top-25. Northridge dropped a four-set match to No. 23 UC Irvine at home on Oct. 6 ... The Matadors hold a .500 record (4-4) in matches where they win set one. Additionally, Northridge is 6-1 when they out-kill their opponent and 0-12 when they don't ... The Matadors have already matched their best win total for any month this season with their second win in October. Northridge went 2-1 in three matches in August before enduring a 2-10 month of September.
NORTHRIDGE ON THE NET All Cal State Northridge home matches will be available via Gametracker at GoMatadors.com and will also be available via live video streaming at BigWest.TV. Get exclusive coverage of Big West Conference action by logging on to BigWest.TV! Now in it's fifth year, BigWest.TV gives fans on-demand access to Big West sports as well as press conferences, features and Big West Conference Championships. If you can't make it to the gym or the field, head to www.BigWest.TV to catch up on your favorite team.
SCOUTING PACIFIC The Tigers come into Friday's match with an overall record of 15-4 and are 5-3 in the Big West. Pacific has won four of its last five and 12 of its last 15 matches after splitting at UCSB (2-3) and Cal Poly (3-2) last week. Junior OH Svenja Engelhardt (3.36 k/s) and senior OH Mallori Gibson (3.23 k/s) lead the Tigers' offense.
SCOUTING UC DAVIS The Aggies (15-7, 6-2), who are in second place in the Big West, have won three straight after winning at Cal Poly (3-2) and at UCSB (3-2) last week. UC Davis is led by freshman OH Allison Whitson who averages 3.46 k/s which ranks sixth in the Big West.
SERIES HISTORY Northridge trails 11-7 in the all-time series with Pacific and holds an 8-5 advantage in 13 meetings all-time with UC Davis. The Matadors lost in three sets on Sept. 26 at Pacific and nearly upset UC Davis before falling in five sets on Sept. 25.
UP NEXT The season-long homestand continues next week as the Matadors host CSU Bakersfield in a non-conference match on Friday, Oct. 30.
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