Northridge Continues Tournament Play at USF Asics/Coca-Cola Challenge

Sept. 1, 2009

Weekly Match Notes in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

MATCH #1 (SEASON MATCH #4) Cal State Northridge Matadors (2-1, 0-0 Big West) at San Francisco Dons (1-2, 0-0 WCC) DATE: Friday, September 4 TIME: 7 p.m. LOCATION: War Memorial Gym (1,200) LIVE STATS: Gametracker (USFDONS.COM)

MATCH #2 (SEASON MATCH #5) Cal State Northridge Matadors (2-1, 0-0 BIG WEST) vs. Rice Owls (3-1, 0-0 C-USA) DATE: Saturday, September 5 TIME: 11 a.m. LOCATION: War Memorial Gym (1,200)

MATCH #3 (SEASON MATCH #6) Cal State Northridge Matadors (2-1, 0-0 Big West) vs. San Diego State (2-1, 0-0 MWC) DATE: Saturday, September 5 TIME: 4 p.m. LOCATION: War Memorial Gym (1,200)

FOR STARTERS Cal State Northridge (2-1 0-0 Big West) continues tournament play this weekend as the Matadors head to the Bay Area to participate in the USF Asics/Coca-Cola Challenge in San Francisco. The Matadors will open against the host USF Dons (1-2) Friday at 7 p.m. before taking on the Rice Owls (3-1) and San Diego State Aztecs (2-1) on Saturday. Northridge had a successful season-opening weekend in Boise, Idaho last weekend as the Matadors defeated Northern Arizona (3-2) and Boise State (3-0) after dropping their season opener to Tulsa (3-0). Northridge is 4-2 all-time against San Francisco, 1-0 all-time against Rice and 2-9 against San Diego State.

BRONCO INVITATIONAL GETS SEASON-OPENING ROAD SWING OFF TO A GOOD START Facing a schedule with 10 consecutive road matches to open the season, the Matadors are off to a solid start after picking up two wins in three matches in the season-opening weekend in Boise. Northridge also opened the 2008 season in similar fashion, winning a pair of matches after dropping its opener. The Matadors eventually won five of their first seven matches before seeing the season unravel with a 12-match skid. Northridge, which is 1-1 with three more neutral site matches yet to come, finished 3-4 on neutral courts in 2008.

NEWCOMERS MAKE IMMEDIATE IMPACT A pair of freshman, one true and one redshirt, made an immediate impact in the first weekend of the season. Outside hitter Britney Graff, a true freshman from Canyon Lake, Calif., and libero Monica McFarland, a redshirt freshman from Riverside, Calif., each made their presence known as the Matadors won two of three matches. Graff had an impressive 16 kill-18 dig performance in the win over Northern Arizona and McFarland averaged 3.45 digs per set and had a career-high 23 digs against NAU.

"Britney played outstanding this past weekend," said Head Coach Jeff Stork. "She passed at a real high percentage and has shown that she's our number one outside hitter. She's doing everything that we've asked her to do and I've been really happy with the way she's performed."

"Monica was around last year with us but unfortunately an injury kept her out for the season," said Stork. "So far this season she's done some things that are pretty tremendous. Some of things she does are subtle and I tend to appreciate it a little more when I've watched the video a second time. The plays that she's made with her outstanding coverage and her defensive plays that have turned into points for us have been a big reason we're 2-1 at this point."

DEFENSE STEPS UP IN EARLY SEASON WINS The Matadors used a combination of solid blocking and digging to propel them to their two wins in Boise. Northridge put up a season-high 16.0 total blocks (one solo, 30 assists) to go with a season-high 76 digs in the five-set win over Northern Arizona then had 8.0 total blocks and 35 digs against Boise State. McFarland (3.45) , Graff (2.64) and Angela Hupp (2.27) are all averaging over 2.00 digs per set after three matches while Tela Burnett (1.36) Lynda Morales (1.18) and Hupp (1.18) are all averaging at least one block per set. In addition, the Matadors' play at the net limited Northern Arizona to hit a season-low .074 as a team, while Boise State hit just .112. After three matches, Northridge ranks second in the Big West in opponent hitting.

GRAFF, HUPP NAMED TO ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM Britney Graff and Angela Hupp were both named to the Bronco Invitational All-Tournament Team. The award is the first for both this season and for Hupp it's the fourth time since the beginning of the 2008 season that she has earned All-Tournament honors.

BIG WEST ENJOYS A SUCCESSFUL START TO 2009 Ranked among the top conferences in the country, the Big West had a successful opening weekend of 2009. UC Irvine upset sixth-ranked California to crack the AVCA Top-25 (No. 22), while Cal State Fullerton and Pacific both opened with three straight wins. Six of the nine teams in the conference opened with winning records last weekend with only Cal Poly, Long Beach State and UC Riverside the only squads to post a win. Cal Poly and then-No. 23 Long Beach both fell to ranked teams.

NORTHRIDGE NOTES With Saturday's 3-2 win over Northern Arizona, the Matadors improved to 90-64 (.584) against schools from their former conference, the Big Sky. Northridge spent a total of five season in the Big Sky winning the conference championship in 1996 ... One of the top serving teams in the Big West a season ago, the Matadors used the serve as a weapon against both Northern Arizona and Boise State Northridge had seven aces in each match despite being out-aced 6-3 against Tulsa, had 17 aces in three matches last weekend. The Matadors are ranked second in the Big West in aces per set after three matches ... Setter Sam Orlandini has 116 assists (10.55 per set) and a team-best six aces in the season's first three matches.

NORTHRIDGE ON THE NET All Cal State Northridge home matches will be available via Gametracker at 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.

MATADORS VS... The Matadors head into this weekend's USF Asics/Coca-Cola Challenge having had success against the host Dons and Rice but not a history of success against San Diego State. San Francisco: Northridge is 4-2 all-time against the Dons but have dropped two of the last three meetings. The two teams last met in Seattle, Wash. in 2007 when USF came away with a five-set win. Rice: Northridge is 1-0 all-time against the Owls with the lone meeting taking place in 1992. The two teams met at the New Mexico Domino's Pizza Classic and the Matadors defeated Rice 15-6, 15-3, 15-2 on their way to a 27-8 season under Head Coach Walt Ker. San Diego State: The Matadors and Aztecs have met 11 times with SDSU winning nine of the 11 matches. The teams last met in 2006 with Northridge winning in four sets in San Diego.

UP NEXT The Matadors will wrap up tournament play next weekend (Sept. 11-12) as Northridge heads to the Northwest to battle Washington State and Idaho in the Nike Cougar Challenge in Pullman, Wash.