Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton Visit as Matadors Open Big West Home Schedule

Weekly Match Notes (PDF)

Match #14 (Big West Match #2):
Long Beach State 49ers (7-5, 1-1 Big West) at Northridge Matadors (7-6, 1-0 Big West) 
Friday, Sept. 30, 2011 - 7 p.m. PDT
The Matadome (1,600) - Northridge, Calif.
Live Stats: GoMatadors.com (Gametracker)
Live Video: BigWest.TV

Match #15 (Big West Match #3):
Cal State Fullerton Titans (7-7, 2-0 Big West) at Northridge Matadors (7-6, 1-0 Big West) 
Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011 - 7 p.m. PDT
The Matadome (1,600) - Northridge, Calif.
Live Stats: GoMatadors.com (Gametracker)
Live Video: BigWest.TV

Fresh off its first conference-opening win in four years, Cal State Northridge (7-6, 1-0 Big West) returns home this week to host Long Beach State (7-5, 1-1 Big West) and Cal State Fullerton (7-7, 2-0 Big West). On Friday, the Matadors and 49ers renew their rivalry in Northridge where CSUN has beaten Long Beach State three consecutive times dating back to the 2008 season. The Matadors and the defending conference champion Titans tangle on Saturday. Both matches begin at 7 p.m. in The Matadome. CSUN opened the conference season last Saturday with a straight-set (27-25, 25-16, 25-20) win at UC Riverside.

All Matador home matches will be part of the Big West live streaming package and 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 seventh year, BigWest.TV covers every home and conference contest in women's volleyball.

Natalie Allen and Mahina Haina combined for 25 of Cal State Northridge's 46 kills as the Matadors opened Big West Conference play with a 27-25, 25-16, 25-20 win Saturday at UCR's Student Rec Center. CSUN opened the conference season with a win for the first time since 2007 and posts its first straight set win since sweeping Fresno State on Sept. 3. Haina, who has been the Matadors' main offensive threat all season, got some help from her fellow sophomore on Saturday as Allen matched her season-high with 12 kills and hit a season-best .360 in 25 swings. Allen added 10 digs for her sixth double-double of the season. Haina was equally impressive as she tallied a match-high 13 kills while hitting .393 in 28 attacks. Sydney Gedryn also notched a double-double with 38 assists and 10 digs while leading the Matadors to a .240 hitting clip. Libero Cindy Ortiz had a team-high 13 digs while Monica McFarland also had double figures with 10 digs in the win.

Long Beach State (7-5) comes into Friday's match at 1-1 in conference after opening Big West play with a five-set loss to UC Santa Barbara and a five-set win over Cal Poly. The 49ers, who have played only three matches away from Long Beach, are 1-2 on the road with one of the losses coming on No. 10 Hawaii's home floor. Junior OH Janisa Johnson leads the 49ers averaging 3.06 kills per set while sophomore MB Haleigh Hampton adds 2.87 kps. Sophomore OH Delainey Aigner-Swesey, who had a career night with 29 kills against Cal Poly, adds 1.79 kps. The Matadors have won three straight at home over Long Beach State at The Matadome including a 3-1 win last season ... Cal State Fullerton, which travels to UC Riverside on Friday, is unbeaten in conference play after taking care of Cal Poly (3-0) and UC Santa Barbara (3-2) at home last weekend. Junior OH Kayla Neto, who had 33 kills in the two matches, leads the Titans averaging 4.00 kps which ranks second in the Big West. Fullerton carries a three-match win streak over the Matadors into Saturday's match.

With Saturday's victory at UC Riverside, Northridge improved 19-9 (.679) in conference openers. The Matadors also won for the fifth time in 10 Big West openers under Jeff Stork. CSUN would like to improve on its record of 20-7 (.741) in conference home openers when the Matadors host Long Beach State on Friday.

Northridge looks to close a successful month of September against Long Beach State on Friday. After finishing 1-2 in three matches in August, the Matadors have won six of their 10 matches in September heading into Friday's contest. CSUN will finish with an above .500 record in a full month of matches for the first time since October, 2007.   

The freshmen middle blocker duo of Casey Hinger and Sam Kaul has been a bright spot for the Matadors in their six starts together. Hinger teamed up with sophomore Nicole Jarvis for the first five matches of the season while Jarvis and Kaul started against USC and Jarvis and Hinger were in the middle against Eastern Washington. But since then, it's been the true freshmen manning the middle and the Matadors have won four of the six matches. The duo have combined for 86 kills in 211 attacks with 30 errors for a combined .265 hitting clip. Hinger and Kaul had their finest match of the season at UNLV when they combined for 23 kills with just three errors in 52 swings to hit .384. Hinger and Kaul rank second and third respectively on the Matadors in blocks with 43 and 40 respectively.

Whether its starting or coming off the bench, sophomore Mahina Haina continues to spearhead the Matador offense. Haina notched a team-high 13 kills while hitting .389 at UC Riverside, the ninth time in 13 matches she has been CSUN's leader in kills. With a team-high 164 kills (3.42 kps), Haina is on pace to shatter the previous season-best 196 kills she posted as a freshman. After hitting .167 in 582 attacks as a freshman, she is hitting nearly 100 points higher (.267) after 408 swings this season. Haina currently ranks eighth in the conference in kills per game and ninth in hitting percentage.

Natalie Allen bounced back from a pair of sub-par matches to post her top hitting performance of the season against UC Riverside. Allen, who hit a combined -.070 against UCLA and BYU, matched her season-high with 12 kills while hitting .360 against the Highlanders ... Over the last two matches, setter Sydney Gedryn has seven kills in 11 attacks without an error ... After trailing in hitting percentage for much of the season, the Matadors are now out-hitting their opponents .175-.170 ... CSUN remains unbeaten this season when winning the opening set of the match. The Matadors are 6-0 when claiming the first set and 1-6 when losing set one. When Northridge wins the hitting percentage battle, the Matadors are a perfect 7-0 ... With Saturday's win at UC Riverside, CSUN has now one three of its five "true" road matches. The Matadors have wins at Sacramento State, UNLV and UCR and losses at No. 6 UCLA and Utah ... 11.4% (13 of 114) of head coach Jeff Stork's Northridge wins have come against UC Riverside ... six of the nine Big West teams have a +.500 record after the first five weeks of the season.

In the 37th season of women's volleyball at Cal State Northridge, the Matadors reached the 700-win plateau with their 3-0 win over Fresno State on Sept. 3. Now with 704 wins in 36+ years averages out to roughly 19 wins per season which was largely achieved during the programs heyday as a Division II school (1975-1989). Under the direction of Walt Ker, the Matadors posted 401 wins from 1979-1992, an average of nearly 29 wins per season. Since moving up to the Division I level in 1990, Northridge has 297 wins, including 29 in Ker's first Division I season (1990). With their next Big West win, the Matadors will reach 250 conference wins in 30 seasons as a conference member. Saturday's 3-0 win at UC Riverside gave Northridge its 65th Big West win and combined with 47 Big Sky wins, 100 CCAA wins and 37 SCAA wins, CSUN stands at 249 all-time conference victories.

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

On opening Big West play with a win at UCR:
"The Riverside match was a solid match for us. While I thought we were rough around the edges we were in control of the match a majority of the time which is good to see. In particular our passers were rock-solid which enabled Sydney (Gedryn) to run a good offense. We had several hitters hit at a high level and all of that resulted in a real solid match for us."

On Natalie Allen hitting a season-high .360 at UCR:
"Each player has to his a benchmark they set for themselves and also what we set for them individually. Nat is a very good volleyball player and with that being said, Riverside is not the strongest blocking team so I would have expected her to light it up a little bit. Long Beach and Fullerton will be better blocking teams so that will give us an indication of where Nat is right now. But she does so many things on the court, she gives us a calmness and keeps us in system more than not."

On the OH combination play of Britney Graff and Una Siljegovic:
"We may not need as many kills from Britney this year as we needed from her as a freshman. She is doing so many other things well right now that the attacking is a secondary thing. Una is a good outside hitter and was able to give us some important kills against Riverside. She is willing to take swings in tough situations."

On what he expects from Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton:
"Long Beach has had some injury issues lately but still has some really good players. We've had some success against them primarily because I believe they struggle a little playing out of system. Fullerton had two good wins last weekend but I'm confident going into both matches just based on what I've seen conference-wide, it's wide open right now."

Following two home matches this week, the Matadors head back out on the road for their next three matches beginning Oct. 7 at Pacific. Northridge will also face conference-leading UC Davis (Oct. 8) and Cal Poly (Oct. 13) on the three-match road swing.


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