Matadors Picked to Finish Fifth in Big West Preseason Poll

Matadors Picked to Finish Fifth in Big West Preseason Poll

IRVINE, Calif. - With five starters and eight letterwinners returning, Cal State Northridge was picked to finish fifth in the 2007 Big West women's volleyball preseason coaches poll conducted on Wednesday, July 31. Cal Poly was the top pick to repeat as Big West champions.

The Matadors, who were picked to finish seventh in the 2006 preseason poll, went on to upend those predictions by finishing in a tie for fourth place in the conference with a 16-12 overall record (7-7 Big West). Northridge was tabbed fifth after receiving 48 points in this season's preseason coaches poll.

This season, the Matadors welcome back five starters, including 2006 All-Big West First Team outside hitter Harmony Burdine, 2006 Big West Freshman of the Year Angela Hupp and 2006 All-Big West Honorable Mention libero Kelley Hanson.

In addition, Northridge returns the services of juniors Amy Hultner, Val Kepler, Jenn Probert and Kayla Wright as well as sophomore Siara Grayson. The 2007 Matadors will also benefit from the addition of several new faces, including freshmen Alex Johnson, Brittany Williams, Chelsea Johnson and Cara Crowder.

Cal Poly, which won the Big West in 2006 with a 13-1 conference mark (23-6 overall), return five starters plus its libero from the team that advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Mustangs received eight first-place votes and 80 points to lead the poll. Long Beach State was picked to finish second after receiving 70 points along with the only other first-place vote. UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara tied for third with 56 points followed closely by the Matadors with 48 points. Cal State Fullerton and Pacific tied for sixth with 33 points, UC Davis (making its Big West debut in 2007) was selected eighth with 19 points and UC Riverside rounds out the poll with 10 points.

Cal State Northridge opens the 2007 season on Friday, Aug. 24 as the Matadors take part in the first of four tournaments to open the season. Northridge will take on Fresno State in the season opener in Seattle, Wash. at 5 p.m.


1. Cal Poly (8), 80
2. Long Beach State (1), 70
T3. UC Irvine, 56
T3. UC Santa Barbara, 56
5. Northridge, 48
T6. Cal State Fullerton, 33
T6. Pacific, 33
8. UC Davis, 19
9. UC Riverside, 10