Matadors Seek First Win of 2010 at Sacramento State Invitational

Aug. 31, 2010

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Cal State Northridge (0-3, 0-0 Big West) heads to the California State Capitol this weekend to compete in the Sacramento State Invitational. The Matadors open their second tournament of the season on Friday at 5 p.m. against the Elon Phoenix (4-0) at Sac State's Hornets Nest. Tournament action continues on Saturday as Northridge takes on the University of Texas-San Antonio (1-2) at 10 a.m. and the host Sacramento State Hornets (2-1) at 7:30 p.m. The Matadors are looking for their first win of the 2010 season after dropping three matches at the Aztec Invitational at San Diego State last weekend.

All matches of the Sacramento State Invitational will feature live stats at In addition, Northridge's match against Sacramento State will feature free live video as well as live stats. All Northridge home matches will be streamed live via BigWest.TV (http:///allaccess) as well as feature live stats via Gametracker.

Cal State Northridge battled but dropped its 2010 season opener to San Diego State at the Aztec Invitational at Peterson Gym. Monica McFarland and Natalie Allen each had nine kills as the Matadors hit .250 as a team. McFarland (.333) and Allen (.333) each had identical statlines with nine kills one error in 24 swings. Janet Alvarado added eight kills while hitting .412 and Sydney Gedryn had 32 assists in her first collegiate start. In Saturday's morning match, Northridge dropped its second match as the Cincinnati Bearcats swept the Matadors 25-17, 25-19, 25-22. Allen paced Northridge with nine kills for the second match in a row. The freshman had nine kills against Cincinnati hitting .227 while fellow freshman Mahina Haina added six kills (.250). The Matadors' best chance for a win came Saturday evening as Allen pounded a team-high 16 kills but Northridge dropped the final two sets, including a 19-17 decision in the fifth set, as Northern Colorado topped the Matadors 22-25, 25-23, 21-25, 25-23, 19-17. Allen had the best offensive match of her young Matador career as she pounded 16 kills, hitting .317 to go with five aces. She also added nine digs and four blocks. McFarland also had a solid match as she posted a double-double with 14 kills (.306) and 15 digs. Senior Lynda Morales also reached double figures with 11 kills (.208) to go with four blocks.

The Matadors' three opponents at this weekend's Sacramento State Invitational are a combined 7-3 this season. Northridge's first opponent, Elon University on Friday, is a perfect 4-0 after winning the Hilton RTP/NCCU Tournament last weekend. The Phoenix defeated George Washington, North Carolina Central, UTEP and Charleston Southern dropping just two sets in the process. Elon takes on High Point Tuesday night before heading west. The Matadors and Phoenix have never met. Texas San-Antonio is 1-2 this season after taking its season opener over Mississippi before falling to Rice and Texas Tech at the Rice Invitational. Northridge and UTSA met one other time with the Matadors taking a 3-1 decision in Las Vegas, Nev. in 1997. The host Hornets of Sacramento State are 2-1 after defeating Oregon State and Portland and falling to Illinois State at the Corvallis Invitational last weekend. Northridge leads the all-time series with Sacramento State 26-21. The Matadors claimed the last meeting in straight sets in 2008 in Sacramento.

Freshman Natalie Allen (Murrieta, Calif.) had an impressive opening weekend in San Diego. Allen led the Matadors with 34 kills (3.09 kps) and six aces (0.55 saps) and after the first weekend of action ranks among the top-10 in the Big West in both categories. Despite her numbers over the weekend, Allen was not among the seven players named to the Aztec Invitational. By comparison, recent graduate Angela Hupp opened her Matador career in the same tournament in San Diego in 2006 and had 27 kills (2.25 kps) over three matches while serving four aces.

Despite dropping all three matches in San Diego, the Matadors out-blocked all three opponents, led by senior Lynda Morales' (Fallbrook, Calif.) team-high 15 total stuffs. Freshman Nicole Jarvis (Oxnard, Calif.) also did a nice job in her first collegiate action collecting 10 total blocks (two solo) while Allen added nine total. After three matches, Northridge ranks third in the conference in blocking and is second in hitting at .263. The Matadors are hitting nearly 100 points higher than last season when they checked in at .174 for the season.

Five of the six players new to the roster in 2010 saw action in the opening three matches of the season. Allen and Jarvis started all three matches while setter Sydney Gedryn (San Jose, Calif.) started the first two matches. Mahina Haina (Honolulu, Hawai'i) appeared in two matches, starting against Northern Colorado while Una Siljegovic (Simi Valley, Calif.) came on as a sub against Cincinnati. Freshman defensive specialist Megan Kirkpatrick (Downey, Calif.) did not appear in the three matches. Head coach Jeff Stork utilized three different starting lineups in the three matches last weekend.

Libero turned outside hitter Monica McFarland (Riverside, Calif.) turned in the first double-double of her collegiate career with 14 kills and 15 digs against Northern Colorado. McFarland, who had double figure dig totals 21 times last season to lead the Matadors, averaged 2.73 kills and 2.36 digs last weekend ... the last time Matadors opened the season with three straight losses was 2004. That 2004 squad however won seven of their next eight matches and eventually earned the second of back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths. A Stork-coached Northridge team has never lost four straight to open a season. The last Matador team to open with four straight losses was the 1996 team under Dr. Lian Lu that ultimately finished 22-11 ... the Matadors dropped their first five-set match of the season after finishing 3-7 in five-set decisions last year ... after taking on teams from the Mountain West, Big East and Big Sky last weekend, the Matadors will encounter teams from the Southern Conference (Elon), Southland Conference (UTSA) and another from the Big Sky (Sacramento State) this weekend.

Matador head coach Jeff Stork comes into the 2010 season, his ninth on the bench, with 94 career wins. Stork has 116 career coaching wins which includes 22 wins as the interim head coach of the Pepperdine men's team in 2000. In eight seasons at Northridge, Stork owns a record of 94-136 (.409) and is 116-142 (.450) in nine seasons overall. Stork is 23 wins away from passing Dr. Lian Lu (1994-01) and moving into second place on the all-time Matador coaching wins list. Walt Ker (1979-92) amassed 401 wins in his 14 seasons at Cal State Northridge.

Seven opponents on Northridge's 2010 schedule received votes in the first AVCA Top-25 poll of the season. UCLA was the highest ranked team on the slate as the Bruins received 625 points and are ranked 14th this week. Long Beach State also cracked the top-25 this week and are 23rd after receiving 241 points. Among the schools "receiving votes" are Cal Poly (31), San Diego State (24), Cincinnati (12), UC Santa Barbara (12) and Santa Clara (3). Northridge and UCLA tangle in the Matadors' home opener on Sept. 14.

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

On the Aztec Invitational last weekend:
"I thought the team played very well. We sided-out at a pretty high percentage, higher than we saw last year. We're blocking better, passing better and got a lot of production out of some young players. One of the things I was most happy with over the weekend is we were beat as opposed to losing. We didn't make that many errors, our opponents just outscored us. We played steady volleyball all weekend long, it's unfortunate that we didn't come away with a couple of wins."

On the play of Natalie Allen and Monica McFarland:
"Natalie is an extremely composed player and is a very good all-around player. She served real well over the weekend and she's blocking a lot of balls, she's very productive. Monica was a libero for us last year and has moved to the outside currently. She's a very steady player."

On what the team needs to improve on:
"The areas we need to improve on are serving and overpasses. Against San Diego State I think we had 15 missed serves and probably five or six overpasses and when you're dealing with two-point games those things really matter. We'll work on a few things and I think the upcoming weekend is going to be good for us."

On this weekend's opponents:
"Sac State did a nice job this past weekend, playing three five-set matches including a win over a ranked team, Oregon State. We don't know much about Elon or UTSA but we'll be getting the video on them and obviously we'll scout them really hard."

Following the Sacramento State Invitational this weekend, the Matadors travel to the Bay Area to take on Seattle, Santa Clara and Portland State as part of the San Jose State/Santa Clara Tournament.


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