November 3, 2009

Matadors Host UC Santa Barbara Tuesday Before Heading Back on the Road This Weekend

Nov. 3, 2009

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FOR STARTERS Cal State Northridge (7-16, 3-6 Big West) wraps up its season-long four-match homestand Tuesday as the Matadors host UC Santa Barbara (18-5, 8-3 Big West) before heading back out on the road for two matches this weekend. Northridge travels to UC Riverside (4-17, 2-9 Big West) on Friday followed by a match Saturday at UC Irvine (17-6, 7-4 Big West). The Matadors, who have just seven matches remaining in the regular season (three home, four road) dropped their lone match last week falling to CSU Bakersfield in five sets on Oct. 30.

MATADORS FALL TO ROADRUNNERS IN FIVE After winning three of their last four matches, the Matadors dropped their second straight with another tough five-set loss to CSU Bakersfield on Friday. Northridge also lost in five in Bakersfield on Sept. 30 and now has dropped six of its eight five-set matches this season. Junior Brittany Williams had a season-high 21 kills while committing just five errors in 38 swings to hit a solid .421. Northridge's leading hitter Angela Hupp added 13 kills but hit just .184. Hupp also added 16 assists, eight digs and seven blocks. Puneet Pataria also reached double figures in kills with 10 (.053). Sam Orlandini notched a double-double with 25 assists and 15 digs and Monica McFarland had a team-high 17 digs.

"I think our players just need to find out a way to make their contact successful," said Head Coach Jeff Stork. "Each contact the players make is important and they know this, they just need to go out an execute it. Right now we're not executing."

NORTHRIDGE HITS THE ROAD FOR FOUR OF SIX Following Tuesday's match with UC Santa Barbara, the Matadors will hit the road for four of its last six matches beginning Friday at UC Riverside. Northridge has struggled away from home having won just four of 13 matches and the Matadors are 2-8 this season on the opposition's home court.

"UC Riverside came out with a win at Pacific which is pretty significant," said Stork. "I think they're playing pretty well right now and I've seen some improvements in trying to develop their system.

"UC Irvine lost two last weekend which is a little bit of a surprise," said Stork. "But they're a tough team and we'll have a challenge in both matches this weekend.

CAREER RECORDS UPDATE With seven matches to go in the regular season, several Matadors have made inroads on the Northridge career leaders list. Senior Angela Hupp currently ranks 10th in sets played (406), sixth in kills (1,094), fourth in attempts (3,148), ninth in assists (1,526), sixth in block assists (331) and eighth in total blocks (345). Junior Lynda Morales is currently ninth in total blocks (333) and is seventh in block assists (310). Fellow junior Brittany Williams ranks 10th in total attempts (2,307) and sophomore Sam Orlandini is already seventh in assists with 1,565.

MATADOR LINEUP CHANGES  With freshman outside hitter Britney Graff day-to-day with an injury, the Matadors have had to utilize different personnel in the last two matches. Sophomore Puneet Pataria earned the first start of her career at outside hitter against CSU Bakersfield on Friday and responded with a season-high 10 kills in a season-high 38 swings.

"We tinker with our parts and we're trying to find the right combination especially in the season that we've had," said Stork. "We've got to give people shots to see who can come through.

"I thought Puneet played very well against Bakersfield," said Stork. "She hit very well and I thought she was carrying the passing load very well and made some better blocking moves."

MATADORS MAKE "DIG PINK" A SUCCESS Northridge had a successful "Dig Pink" day with its Oct. 24 match against UC Davis. Since the match, the Matadors have raised over $2,100 for the Susan G. Koman For the Cure Foundation and breast cancer awareness. Fans interested in continuing the effort can still donate on Northridge women's volleyball's behalf by visiting the Matadors' Dig Pink website at: https://www.side-out.org/application/teams/team_page/2101.

NORTHRIDGE NOTES Middle blocker Chelsea Johnson has already set career-highs in several categories in her junior season. Johnson, who played sparingly in her first two seasons, ranks fourth on the team in total blocks (54) and is tied for second with seven solo stuffs. She has also established new career-bests in kills, total attacks, aces, digs and points ... Brittany Williams' 21 kills against CSU Bakersfield is a new season-high and equals Angela Hupp for the Northridge season-high. Williams' 21 kills approaches her career-high of 24 set during her freshman season ... The Matadors need two more wins to equal their win total from 2008 ... October turned out to be Northridge's best month in terms of wins as the Matadors went 3-5 during the month. Northridge went 2-1 in August and 2-10 in September ... Currently in seventh place in the Big West standings, the Matadors are in the exact position they were predicted to finish in the Big West Preseason Coaches Poll.

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.

UP NEXT Following this weekend's matches at UC Riverside and UC Irvine, the Matadors return home for their final homestand of the season. Northridge hosts Long Beach State on Friday, Nov. 13 before wrapping up the home schedule on Saturday, Nov. 14 against Cal State Fullerton. Saturday's match against the Titans will be senior night as the Matadors honor their two seniors Angela Hupp and Tela Burnett.

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