Second Place in CSUN's Sight as Matadors Return Home to Face Cal Poly, UCSB

MATCH #25 (Big West Match #13):

Cal Poly Mustangs (3-19, 2-8 BWC) at Cal State Northridge Matadors (16-8, 7-5 BWC) 

Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012 - 7 p.m. PDT
The Matadome (1,600) - Northridge, Calif.
Live Stats:
Streaming Video: BigWest.TV
Audio: (Mark Schuermann - PBP)
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors

MATCH #26 (Big West Match #14):

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (13-12, 6-4 BWC) at Cal State Northridge Matadors

Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012 - 7 p.m. PDT
The Matadome (1,600) - Northridge, Calif.
Live Stats:
Streaming Video: BigWest.TV
Audio: (Mark Schuermann - PBP)
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors

Weekly Match Notes (PDF)

Cal State Northridge can earn its second regular-season sweep in as many weeks with a victory over the visiting Cal Poly Mustangs Thursday night in the first of two Big West home matches scheduled this week. The Matadors will end their weekend two days later against the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos in a crucial conference contest for both teams. The second-place Gauchos will begin its week against league leaders Hawai'i before traveling to the Valley to face the third-place Matadors. With five Big West teams jockeying for second place within one win from each other, two victories will help Northridge separate itself from the pack and secure second place heading into the final weeks of the season.


Mark Schuermann will call the action for Northridge women's volleyball this season on, including both of this week's matches versus Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara. All Matador home matches, and conference road matches will be featured as part of the Big West's live streaming package. BigWest.TV brings together live and on-demand video from each of the Big West's 10 member institutions. Now in it's eighth year, BigWest.TV covers Big West sports, press conferences, interviews and features, including every home and conference contest in women's volleyball this season.


Twenty-four hours after falling to UC Irvine in the first of back-to-back Big West road matches, Cal State Northridge rebounded to defeat Long Beach State in another five-set thriller. With its 25-22, 25-23, 19-25, 15-25, 15-12 win over the defending Big West champs, Northridge secured its first-ever season sweep over the 49ers and emerged victorious from the Walter Pyramid for the first time since 2004. Led by Casey Hinger, who tied her season-high with 17, three Matadors recorded double-digit kills against the 49ers. Mahina Haina and Britney Graff added 13 and 10 apiece to aid CSUN's cause. Graff also earned 12 scoops to record her sixth double-double of the season. In the decisive fifth set, the Matadors hit .500 by recording 13 kills in 24 attempts, with Haina responsible for the swing that clinched the victory for the Matadors. Six tied scores took place throughout the final frame; once CSUN took a 9-8 lead on Graff's second of three fifth-set kills, the Matadors held the lead for good and were able extend its cushion as the set progressed.


Cal State Northridge earned its first sweep of the season with a win at Long Beach State last weekend, and can add another team to that list if victorious against Cal Poly Thursday evening. The Matadors snapped their seven-match slide inside Mott Gymnasium with their three-set sweep in San Luis Obispo earlier this season; a victory against the Mustangs inside the Matadome will be the second in as many years for CSUN, and the team's third at home against Cal Poly in the last eight seasons. Junior outside hitter Holly Franks leads the Mustangs with 2.73 kills per set, followed by senior outside hitter Molly Pon with 2.33 k/s and junior outside hitter Chelsea Hardin with 2.21 k/s. Libero Steffi Sooter leads Cal Poly with 3.05 digs per set, narrowly trailing her teammate is libero Nicole Kessler with 2.97 digs.

Beginning the week in second and third place in the Big West respectively, UC Santa Barbara and Northridge will face one another in a match that could potentially determine second place outright in the conference standings to the winner. The Gauchos have a tough week ahead of them as they will begin action at Hawai'i Thursday evening before facing the Matadors. In addition to snapping its current slide, a victory will help Northridge earn a split of its season series against the Gauchos. Led by junior outside hitter Leah Sully, three Gauchos are averaging two or more k/s. Combined with the efforts of junior outside hitter Katey Thompson and freshman middle blocker Britton Taylor, the trio is averaging 3.88, 2.94 and 2.29 k/s, and are responsible for two-thirds of their team's kills total. Junior middle blocker Jenna Wilson leads all Gauchos with 114 total blocks and 1.14 blocks per set for a team that is eighth in the conference with its 2.14 b/s average. Even though Santa Barbara is eighth in the Big West with its .171 hitting percentage, the Gauchos have held their opponents to a .171 clip, the third-lowest opponent hitting percentage in the conference.


Cal State Northridge head women's volleyball coach and former U.S. National Team setter Jeff Stork was among six volleyball legends who were inducted on Oct. 20, in Holyoke, Mass., as part of the Volleyball Hall of Fame's Class of 2012. Notified of his selection by USA Volleyball CEO Doug Beal, Stork joined fellow inductees Peter Blange of Netherlands, Mauricio Lima of Brazil, Georgiy Mondzolevski of Russia, women's volleyball player Lyudmila Buldakova of Russia and men's beach volleyball player Mike Dodd of the United States.

Stork was the starting setter for the United States during its gold-medal performance at the 1988 Olympic Games. He followed that up with the bronze medal at the 1992 Olympic Games and competed in the 1996 Olympics. Stork helped the U.S. dominate the international scene in the 1980s with gold medals at the 1985 NORCECA Championship, the 1985 FIVB World Cup, the 1986 FIVB World Championship, the 1987 Savvin Cup and the 1987 Pan American Games. He played a number of years in Italy and was named the Italian Serie A most valuable player in 1993 while setting for Mediolanum. Stork was also selected to USA Volleyball's All-Era Team for the 1978-2002 time period. 


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

Battle for second place:

"The players understand where we are in relation to the other teams in the conference; with a majority of our remaining matches at home, that will help us tremendously beginning Thursday against Cal Poly."

Last Saturday's win at Long Beach State:

"While we know that Long Beach State is a good team, we also realize that we are a team that matches up well against them. We have now won half of our games against them throughout the last five years."

Northridge offense:

"We are still working on the finer details of getting everyone to execute their role with extreme precision. Unlike other teams that play a more traditional style of volleyball, we think we are doing things a little differently with our system. When we see it work from first contact to the third contact, it works well."

Senior libero Cindy Ortiz:

"She has been playing extremely well, I think the is one of the top liberos in the conference from both a passing and defending standpoint. Anytime we can get her on the first contact, we are confident about the eventual outcome of that point. I think she has done a tremendous job this season."


In addition to claiming the top spot all-time in the Cal State Northridge women's volleyball record books with 1,343 career digs (and counting), libero Cindy Ortiz is also ascending CSUN's single-season digs list for the third time in her career. She has already etched her name in fifth and seventh place with 452 digs earned last season and 444 digs earned throughout the 2010 season, and enters Thursday's match versus Cal Poly in eighth place with 443 digs.


Entering this week's matches with a team-high 898 assists, Sydney Gedryn has a chance to finish the season with a top-five assists total if she continues at her current pace. CSUN's primary setter is averaging 37 assists per match, a figure that will also give Gedryn a chance to crack the single-season top 10 list as well. If she maintains her current average throughout the final seven matches of the season, Gedryn will obliterate her current single-season career high of 967 assists (2011). With 2,095 career assists to her credit, she currently sits in 6th place all-time in the Northridge women's volleyball record books. 


With its 25-22, 25-23, 19-25, 15-25, 15-12 win over the defending Big West champions last Saturday, Northridge secured its first-ever season sweep over Long Beach State and emerged victorious from the Walter Pyramid for the first time since 2004. 


Northridge enters this week's action alongside some of nation's most elite women's volleyball programs in a number of statistical categories. CSUN leads the conference with its 2.94 blocks per set average, a total also ranks the Matadors No. 16 nationwide. Casey Hinger is 67th in the nation with her 1.23 b/s figure, with teammates Sydney Gedryn and Sam Kaul ranked 103rd and 133rd with 1.13 and1.09 b/s. Also earning a national ranking this week is Cindy Ortiz, the senior libero is No. 70 averaging 4.87 digs per set.


Of the six five-set matches that CSUN has competed in this season, the Matadors have won all but one of those contests. In addition to defeating Long Beach State in five last Saturday, Northridge also went the distance and defeated Arizona (Aug. 24), LIU (Sept. 8), UC Riverside (Sept. 22) and Pacific (Oct. 18). The Matadors' triumph over the Tigers was the first five-set occasion to take place this season inside the Matadome, the others were earned at the Arizona Wildcat Classic, USF Asics Powerade Challenge and in Riverside and Long Beach respectively. CSUN now holds the highest five-set winning percentage (.833) in the Big West, Pacific leads the conference with six wins out of its 10 five-set matches.


Five of CSUN's seven contests scheduled throughout the month of October took place on the road; however, the Matadors will experience a reversal of fortune in November when the team will host five of its final seven matches of the season. A season-long three-match homestand will begin this week against Cal Poly (Nov. 1), continue against UC Santa Barbara this Saturday and end the following week against Loyola Marymount (Nov. 10). CSUN will end its 2012 schedule at home against UC Riverside (Nov. 21) and Cal State Fullerton (Nov. 24).


Now in the 38th 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, 2011. With 722 wins in 37+ years, the program is averaging roughly 19 wins per season, a figure that was largely influenced throughout the program's 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 328 wins, including 29 in Ker's first Division I season (1990). 

With a win over Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 1, 2011, the Matadors reached 250 conference wins in 30 seasons as a conference member. CSUN has 77 Big West wins; combined with 47 Big Sky wins, 100 CCAA wins and 37 SCAA wins, CSUN stands at 261 all-time conference victories. 


Cal State Northridge women's volleyball was picked to finish third in the 2012 Big West Preseason Coaches Poll as announced by the conference office on Aug. 7. The Matadors received a total of 72 points from the conference's head coaches, the most for a CSUN team in 12 years as a member of the Big West. The previous best preseason ranking for a Matador squad came in 2007 when Northridge was picked to finish fifth before finishing in a tie for fifth at the conclusion of the season. Hawai'i, ranked eighth in the AVCA national preseason poll, was picked to win the Big West after earning nine of 10 first place votes and 99 total points. Defending conference champions Long Beach State was second with 88 total points followed by the Matadors with 72. UC Santa Barbara (60) and Pacific (60) tied for fourth with Cal State Fullerton (46) sixth, Cal Poly (43) seventh, UC Davis (37) eighth, UC Irvine (31) ninth and UC Riverside (14) 10th. Cal Poly earned the lone remaining first place vote.

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