Matadors Host Pacific and UC Davis in Two-Match Homestand

Oct. 27, 2010

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MATADORS HOST PACIFIC, UC DAVIS IN TWO-MATCH HOMESTAND
Cal State Northridge (9-15, 2-7 Big West) looks to continue its recent run of home success this weekend as the Matadors play host to Pacific (13-8, 5-4 Big West) on Friday and UC Davis (15-7, 6-3 Big West) on Saturday. Both matches begin at 7 p.m. in The Matadome. Despite dropping road matches at Cal Poly (3-2) and UC Santa Barbara (3-0) last week, Northridge has won three of its last six matches with all three wins coming at home.

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 win over Cal Poly in five years, Cal State Northridge's upset big came up just short as the Mustangs held off the Matadors in five sets, 25-15, 23-25, 27-29, 25-16, 15-12 Friday at Mott Gym. Northridge was looking to knock off the Mustangs for the first time since 2005 and had a two sets to one lead after a 29-27 win in set three. But Cal Poly claimed the final two sets to pull out the win at home. Freshman Natalie Allen led the Matadors with 14 kills (.111) while junior Una Siljegovic added 11 kills (.152). Freshman Sydney Gedryn came off the bench to post her first collegiate double-double with 38 assists and 10 digs and narrowly missed a triple-double after posting eight blocks. Libero Cindy Ortiz also had a team-high 16 digs in the loss. On Saturday, Northridge wrapped up a two-match trip to the central coast with a 25-19, 25-13, 26-24 loss to UC Santa Barbara. Allen led the Matadors with 12 kills but no other CSUN hitter had more than six. The Matadors (9-15, 2-7 Big West) got 12 kills from Allen who hit .206 to go with four digs and one ace. Junior Una Siljegovic added six kills (.000) and three blocks and Sydney Gedryn, earning her first start since the second match of the year, had 21 assists, six blocks, two kills and two digs. Ortiz had a match-high 16 digs in the loss. The Matadors, who hit .031 (34-30-127) in the match, were stifled in the first two sets as CSUN hit .000 in the opening set and -.077 in the second.

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE OPPONENTS
Pacific (13-8, 5-4) comes into Friday's match on the heels of a pair of 3-0 sweeps over San Jose State and UC Riverside. The Tigers have won three straight overall and six of their last nine. Senior OH Svenja Engelhardt had 31 kills in the two wins last week to earn Big West Player of the Week honors. For the season, Engelhardt averages a team-high 4.58 kps which leads the conference. The Tigers hold a 12-8 lead in the all-time series with the Matadors and have won five of the last seven matches between the two teams including a 3-0 win in Stockton on Oct. 2. UC Davis, which travels to UC Irvine on Friday, is 15-7 (6-3 Big West) has won three straight after winning at San Francisco (3-2) and at home over UC Riverside (3-0) last week. The Aggies are 8-5 this season away from home and 2-2 in Big West road matches. Sophomore OH Allison Whitson leads UC Davis averaging 3.35 kills per set which ranks sixth in the Big West. The Aggies hold a slight 8-7 lead in the all-time series with the Matadors and have won three straight and five of the last six over CSUN which includes a four-set win in Davis on Oct. 1.

MATADORS LOOK TO CONTINUE HOME RUN
With a win over Pacific on Friday, Northridge can put together its longest home win streak in five years. The Matadors come into Friday's match on the heels of home wins over CSU Bakersfield (Oct. 6), UC Riverside (Oct. 9) and UC Irvine (Oct. 16). Four straight wins at home would match the 2004 Matador squad that had three-match and four-match home win streaks that season. The 2003 team that also went to the NCAA Tournament had six straight home wins on their way to a 9-4 home record.

MORALES UP TO THIRD IN BIG WEST BLOCKING
Senior middle blocker Lynda Morales (Fallbrook, Calif.) had a solid weekend at the net against Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara. Morales, who put up eight blocks (one solo) at Cal Poly and seven (all assisted) at UCSB, moved up to third in the Big West in blocking at 1.14 blocks per set. Morales is slightly higher in Big West matches as the senior is averaging 1.29 blocks per set. Morales has now moved up to the top of the Northridge career list in block assists with 414 and ranks second in total blocks with 446.

BIG WEST RACE TIGHTENS
The Matadors can insert themselves right into the thick of the conference race with a pair of home wins this week. Only five games separate Northridge (2-7) from UC Santa Barbara (7-2) and the top of the conference. Cal State Fullerton (6-2) and Long Beach State (6-2) currently share second place with Cal Poly (7-3) in third. UC Davis (6-3) and Pacific (5-4) occupy the middle spots (5-6) followed by Northridge, UC Irvine (1-8) and UC Riverside (0-9). Long Beach State was the preseason favorite to win the conference race with UC Irvine predicted second and UCSB third. Pacific and UC Davis have proven to be the upstarts after being selected seventh and fifth respectively in the preseason poll.

MATADORS LOOK FOR 10TH WIN
With their next win, the Matadors will reach double figures in wins for the sixth time in nine seasons under Jeff Stork and first time since 2007. Northridge averaged nearly 15 wins per season over Stork's first three seasons (2002-04) which included 17 wins and an NCAA Tournament berth in 2004. The Matadors also had 16 wins in 2006 and 13 in 2007.

MATADORS IN THE RPI
Through matches of Oct. 24, Northridge ranks 161st out of 328 schools in the NCAA women's volleyball RPI. The Big West Conference has six teams (Long Beach State - 24, Cal State Fullerton - 36, UC Santa Barbara - 51, Cal Poly - 80, UC Davis - 85, Pacific - 92) ranked among the top-100 in the nation. UC Irvine (159) is just two spots in front of the Matadors while UC Riverside ranks 247th out of 328 Division I schools.

NORTHRIDGE NOTES
Freshman middle Nicole Jarvis made a return to the starting lineup against UC Santa Barbara after a solid performance at Cal Poly the night before. Against the Mustangs, Jarvis had five kills and seven blocks for her best point performance since the third match of the season ... Freshman setter Sydney Gedryn also started against UC Santa Barbara after a 38 assist-10 dig-eight block outing off the bench against Cal Poly. Gedryn had not started since the second match of the season against Cincinnati (Aug. 28).

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

On last week's matches at Cal Poly and UCSB:
"We played well at Cal Poly especially the sets we won. The sets we're losing we're making a few too many errors but we are playing real well at times. Against Santa Barbara we played pretty well in set three and played OK in set one with the exception of the errors that we're making. We're scoring enough points, we're just making too many errors and Santa Barbara was not making the errors that we were. The positive side of things is that we're scoring the same as our opponent."

On the play of freshman setter Sydney Gedryn:
"Sydney played quite a bit and did a real good job. She is a dynamic net player and with her jumping and blocking is certainly a force at the net. She has a lot of confidence in herself as a net player. The change in setter was more based on the rhythm of the first set at Cal Poly."

On hosting Pacific and UC Davis this weekend:
"We've got two good teams coming in. We've had some success against Pacific here and Davis is obviously playing very well. They've challenged some good teams in the last couple of weeks. It's a new weekend so we'll rally the troops again and try to give them something to sink their teeth into."

On the overall state of the team:
"The team is still fighting, we've got a couple issues here and there but overall the team is still fighting. I think the players understand that each position is competitive and that they need to come to practice ready to go. You've got to shine during the week so that you can be great on the weekend."

UP NEXT
Following this week's home matches against Pacific and UC Davis, the Matadors open a four-match road trip which will take them to Bakersfield (Nov. 2), Riverside (Nov. 5), Long Beach (Nov. 11) and Irvine (Nov. 13). The four matches are Northridge's final regular season road contests of the season.

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