NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Cal State Northridge women's volleyball and head coach Jeff Stork have finalized their 2013 schedule. The Matadors, who finished the 2012 season with a 21-10 overall record, will play 13 non-conference matches before opening Big West play Sept. 28 against UC Davis.
CSUN, which finished last season with an RPI of 76, will face one if its most challenging schedules in 2013. Six teams that reached the NCAA Tournament and eight teams that finished with an RPI of 90 or better are among the teams the Matadors will encounter in 2013.
Furthermore, the 12 non-conference teams on CSUN's 2013 schedule averaged nearly 20 wins last season with six of the 12 winning 20 or more matches and 10 of the 12 posting winning records. Add in Big West foes, including Hawaii and Long Beach State which won 27 and 18 matches respectively last season, and the winning percentage of Matador opponents in 2013 is nearly 60% from a season ago.
"We knew that we would be upper-classmen heavy this season," said Stork. "So we consciously went after a tougher schedule. In some ways we were disappointed that we weren't considered for the NCAA Tournament last season and the strength of schedule we have this season, based on RPI, will only help us in that situation this year."
The Matadors open the 2013 season Aug. 30 with three matches at the Bulldog Classic at Fresno State. Santa Clara (20-11 in 2012) will be CSUN's season opener on Friday with matches against Rice (19-12) and host Fresno State (18-13) the following day.
Northridge travels to Flagstaff, Ariz. the following weekend (Sept. 6-7) to take part in the Northern Arizona tournament. Former Big Sky foe Idaho (17-14) will be the Matadors' lone Friday match with CSUN then taking on San Diego State (23-8) and the host Lumberjacks (24-7) on Saturday.
Tournament play concludes Sept. 13-14 as CSUN heads to Colorado for the two-day Denver Invitational. The Matadors open with Creighton (29-4) and UCLA (23-8), both NCAA second round teams in 2012, before playing the host Pioneers (17-13).
CSUN opens the home schedule Sept. 17 as the Matadors host Seattle (9-19), one of just nine home matches for Northridge in 2013. The Matadors complete the non-conference portion of the schedule Sept. 19-20 taking on Coppin State (11-14) twice and Washington (25-7) in Seattle.
CSUN kicks off the Big West season Sept. 28 at home against UC Davis. A road trip to UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton (Oct. 4-5) follows before Long Beach State and UC Irvine come to The Matadome Oct. 10 and 12.
The first half of the conference season concludes with the Matadors traveling to UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly (Oct. 18-19) before hosting Hawai'i (Oct. 24) which begins a season-long three-match homestand. A Halloween night match against Cal State Fullerton and a Nov. 2 match with UC Riverside conclude the homestand.
A stretch that concludes the regular season sees CSUN play four of six on the road beginning Nov. 8 at UC Irvine. The Matadors will also travel to Long Beach State (Nov. 9), Hawai'i (Nov. 23) and UC Davis (Nov. 30) sandwiched around home matches with Cal Poly and UCSB (Nov. 14, 16).
"We have two new coaches in the conference this season (UCR, UCSB) so you never know what kind of style those teams will play," added Stork. "But the Big West is the Big West and we need to be ready to play each and every night.
"We're biting off a lot this season and the girls are going to have to come prepared," said Stork. "We lost two significant players but we believe we have a strong team who can handle this type of schedule."
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