Matadors Open 2009 Volleyball Season at Bronco Invitational in Boise, Idaho

Aug. 26, 2009

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FOR STARTERS Cal State Northridge (0-0 0-0 Big West) opens up its 35th season of women's volleyball (20th at the Division I level) this weekend as the Matadors open the 2009 season in exactly the same place they opened 2008, Boise, Idaho. Northridge will open the Bronco Invitational against Tulsa (0-0) Friday at 5 p.m. before taking on former Big Sky foe Northern Arizona (0-0) Saturday at 10 a.m. and the host Broncos Saturday at 7 p.m. The Matadors, who return five starters and eight letterwinners from a year ago, finished 2-1 at the Bronco Invitational last season with wins over Boise State and Seattle after a tough season-opening, five-set loss to Washington State.

MATADORS IN SEASON OPENERS Since 1978, Cal State Northridge is 19-12 (.613) all-time in season openers. The Matadors are 4-3 (.571) in seven previous season openers under Head Coach Jeff Stork. This weekend's opener against Tulsa in Boise, Idaho marks the fourth time in Stork's eight seasons that Northridge has played its season opener on the road. The Matadors dropped their 2008 season opener to Washington State in five sets also in the Bronco Invitational but won prior to that won two straight road season openers.

NORTHRIDGE TABBED SEVENTH IN BIG WEST Cal State Northridge earned 26 points and was picked to finish seventh in the 2009 Big West Women's Volleyball Preseason Coaches Poll released by the conference office on July 28. The Matadors, who finished tied for eighth in the Big West last season, return four starters in 2009 led by senior outside hitter Angela Hupp. Hupp was a first team All-Big West selection in 2008 after leading Northridge in kills (323) and kills per set (2.86) while also posting 248 digs (2.19 dps), 86 blocks (0.76 bps) and 21 aces. Also returning to the starting lineup this season is 2008 Big West All-Freshman Team setter Sam Orlandini, junior outside hitter Siara Grayson and junior middle blocker Lynda Morales. Long Beach State was selected to defend its 2008 conference crown as the 49ers earned four first-place votes and 75 total points. UC Irvine was tabbed second after picking up three first-place votes and 73 total points. Cal Poly earned the final two first-place votes and 62 points to take third followed by Pacific (54 points), UC Santa Barbara (48), Cal State Fullerton (36), the Matadors (26), UC Davis (16) and UC Riverside (15).

TOURNAMENT PLAY DOMINATES EARLY SEASON SCHEDULE The Bronco Invitational in Boise, Idaho is the first of three tournaments the Matadors will participate in to kick-off the 2009 season. After three matches in Boise, Northridge returns to California to compete in the USF Asics/Coca-Cola Challenge in San Francisco the weekend of Sept. 4-5. The Matadors will square off with San Francisco, Rice and San Diego State in the Bay Area. Tournament play wraps up in the Northwest as Northridge takes on Washington State and Idaho as part of the Nike Cougar Challenge in Pullman, Wash. In a scheduling quirk, the Matadors will play the host Cougars twice in the two-day tournament. Northridge then plays a single match at Loyola Marymount on Sept. 15 before hosting Fresno State in its home opener on Sept. 18. n

SEVERAL NEW FACES JOIN EIGHT LETTERWINNERS FOR MATADORS IN 2009 Among the returners to the Matador squad in 2009 are All-Big West selections Angela Hupp and Sam Orlandini. Hupp was a first team selection as an outside hitter last year while Orlandini was named to the seven-player All-Freshman Team as a setter. Juniors Lynda Morales, Chelsea Johnson, Siara Grayson and Brittany Williams also return with substantial experience under their belts. Senior Teal Burnett returns in the middle and sophomore Puneet Pataria at the outside after their first Northridge seasons in 2008. The Matadors will hopefully get a full season from redshirt freshman libero Monica McFarland who sat out the 2008 season with an injury. Northridge also welcomes in several new faces, including Britney Graff (Temescal Canyon HS) who Stork signed to an Letter of Intent last fall. The Matadors also welcome in Janet Alvarado (LA Pierce JC), Jaymie Jimenez (Santa Monica JC), Cindy Ortiz (Bishop Conaty-Loretto HS), Cecily Houston (Sheridan HS) and Karina Woehrstein (El Camino JC).

ROBINSON JOINS MATADOR COACHING STAFF With the addition of Alicia Robinson as an assistant coach, the Matadors will have their first change to the coaching staff in six years. Robinson brings several years of coaching experience along with a wealth of playing experience with her to Northridge. She enjoyed a stellar collegiate playing career at USC as the Trojans won National Championships in 2002 and 2003. Robinson was an honorable mention All-American in 2001 and was also a three-time Pac-10 All-Academic selection (2002-04) before earning her bachelor's degree from the Annenberg School of Communications in 2005. Her coaching resume includes Harvard-Westlake High School (2005), L.A. Pierce College (2006), Marlborough School (2008) as well as the Santa Monica Beach Club 17-1's.n

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

SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION The Matadors come into this weekend's Bronco Invitational having had success against the host Broncos, moderate success against Northern Arizona and have never met Tulsa. Boise State: Northridge is 3-1 all-time against Boise State and have won three straight over the Broncos. The two teams last met in Boise last season when the Matadors came away with a four-set win. Northern Arizona: Northridge is 8-10 all-time against Northern Arizona whom the Matadors competed against when both schools competed in the Big Sky Conference. From 1996-2000, Northridge went 6-7 against the Lumberjacks and in one stretch lost seven straight to NAU. Tulsa: The Matadors and Golden Hurricane have never met in women's volleyball. Tulsa finished 22-11 last season and returns four starters from last season's squad.

UP NEXT Following the Bronco Invitational, Northridge returns to California to compete in the USF Asics/Coca-Cola Challenge in San Francisco the weekend of Sept. 4-5. The Matadors will square off with San Francisco, Rice and San Diego State in the Bay Area.

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