Matadors Wrap Up Tournament Schedule at USD Tournament

Matadors Wrap Up Tournament Schedule at USD Tournament

This Week's Matador Women's Volleyball Release


Match #10: Northridge vs. #5 UCLA * Friday, Sept. 14 * Jenny Craig Pavilion * 5:00 p.m.
Match #11: Northridge at San Diego * Saturday, Sept. 15 * Jenny Craig Pavilion * 10:00 a.m.
Match #12: Northridge vs. Pittsburgh * Saturday, Sept. 15 * Jenny Craig Pavilion * 5:00 p.m.

Playing its fourth and final tournament before Big West play begins next week, Cal State Northridge (3-6) heads south this weekend to compete in the USD Tournament at Jenny Craig Pavilion. The Matadors open the tournament against fifth-ranked UCLA (7-1) on Friday at 5 p.m., followed by matches with No. 18 San Diego (5-3) and Pittsburgh (5-5) on Saturday. The Matadors, who have finished with identical 1-2 records in three previous tournaments, are 5-30 all-time against UCLA (0-10 since 1982), 8-11 all-time against San Diego and 1-0 all-time against Pittsburgh.

Follow all matches at the USD Tournament via Gametracker at Northridge's match against the host Toreros will also feature a live video stream free of charge.

Northridge continued its 14-match road stretch to open the 2007 season with a win and two losses at the Sacramento State Invitational last weekend. The Matadors opened the tournament with a 3-2 come-from-behind win over Manhattan as Lynda Morales tallied a career-high 17 kills. Junior Val Kepler added a season-high 15 kills and Angela Hupp had a triple-double in the 28-30, 28-30, 30-23, 30-27, 15-9 win. On Saturday morning, the Matadors dropped a 22-30, 26-30, 30-23, 23-30 decision to Oregon State as Morales was the leader in kills with 17 and true freshman Brittany Williams added a career-high 14 kills. Hoping to wrap the tournament on a winning note, Northridge came away disappointed after a 20-30, 9-30, 31-29, 20-30 loss to the host Hornets.

Redshirt freshman middle blocker Lynda Morales (Bakersfield, CA/Centennial HS) was the lone Matador to be named to the Sacramento State Invitational All-Tournament team. In addition, Morales was named Athlete of the Week for her performance last weekend. Morales averaged 3.46 kills per game while hitting an impressive .323. She knocked down a career-high 17 kills to go with six blocks in Northridge's 3-2 win over Manhattan and also matched her career-high with 17 kills against Oregon State on Saturday.

Harkening back to the 2005 season when a solid group of freshmen led the Matadors, a pair of freshmen have stepped to the forefront this season. True freshman Alex Johnson leads the Matadors in kills (90), kills per game (2.65) and total attempts (260), while Morales ranks second in kills per game (2.37) and has the fourth-most kills (71) on the squad. The two have combined to lead Northridge in kills in five out of nine matches (Johnson - 3, Morales - 2) and each have reached double figures in kills a team-best five times this season.

Sophomore Angela Hupp posted 11 kills, 32 assists and 11 digs against Manhattan last Friday to nail down her second triple-double of the season. The setter/outside hitter also registered a triple-double with 11 kills, 23 assists and 13 digs in the Matadors' five-game loss to San Francisco on Aug. 25. Hupp now has seven triple-doubles in her Matador career and also leads the team with four double-doubles this season. She is the lone player in the Big West this season with a triple-double.

The blocking disparity took a turn for the worse last weekend in Sacramento. The Matadors headed into the Sacramento State Invitational being out-blocked 63.5 to 45.5 for the season. Then in succession, Northridge was out-blocked 10.0 to 9.0 by Manhattan, 13.0 to 6.0 by Oregon State and 24.5 to 7.5 by Sacramento State. Northridge is now on the short end of a 111.0-68.0 blocking tally, including a 33-8 disadvantage in solo stuffs. For the season, the Matadors are 1-1 in matches when they out-block their opponent but 2-5 when they are out-blocked.

Head coach Jeff Stork had this to say about last weekend's tournament at Sacramento State:

"With two injured players, we were limited in what we could with our lineup," said Stork. "It was nice see Lynda (Morales) do very well in the first two matches and earn All-Tournament honors."

"Again, we're stressing consistency over sets, matches and tournaments but we're still not playing as consistently as I'd like."

On this weekend's USD Tournament where the Matadors will meet another pair of ranked teams, No. 5 UCLA, No. 18 San Diego:

"We should be used to the tough schedule by now and there should be maturing at this point of the season," said Stork. "We're learning but unfortunately we're playing some really tough teams."

Seven Teams on the 2007 Matador schedule are named in the CSTV/AVCA Coaches Top 25 poll this week. USC, which defeated the Matadors on Aug. 20, are the highest ranked Northridge opponent this week at No. 4. UCLA, which will take on the Matadors on Friday in San Diego, is ranked fifth this week followed by eighth-ranked Washington which beat Northridge 3-0 on Aug. 25. Big West foe Cal Poly (Sept. 22, Oct. 19) is ranked a season-high 14h this week followed by Duke at No. 16. San Diego, which hosts the Matadors on Saturday, is 18th this week while another Big West rival Long Beach State (Oct. 6, Nov. 3) received votes in this week's top 25 poll.

The Matadors have yet to string together two wins this season, but have been the victims of one three-match skid as well as their current two-match skid... This weekend will give Northridge another chance at a win over a ranked team. The Matadors last win over a ranked team came at the beginning of the 2005 season when Northridge upset No. 25 Pepperdine in five games. If the Matadors are to pull of an upset this weekend they will have to win a game, something they haven't done in three previous matches against ranked squads ... Northridge has won the opening game in a match just twice this season; vs. San Francisco and vs. Mercer .... Friday's five-set win over Manhattan was the Matadors' second five-game win in three tries this season.

The Matadors open the USD Tournament against fifth-ranked UCLA (7-1) on Friday at 5 p.m. The Bruins have won six straight matches since dropping their lone match of the season to top-ranked Nebraska on Aug. 25. Junior Ali Daley leads UCLA averaging 3.75 kpg while senior Rachell Johnson is second at 3.70 kpg. The Bruins are hitting .250 as a team. Head coach Andy Banachowski is in his 41st season at UCLA and sports a 1,044-271 school record. No. 18 San Diego comes into the weekend's action with a 5-3 record after claiming their own Univ. of San Diego Invitational last weekend. On their way to the tournament crown, the Toreros defeated UC Santa Barbara (3-1), Virginia (3-1) and Oklahoma (3-1). Sophomore Amy DeGroot (4.13 kpg) and WCC Player of the Week Laurel Abrahamson (4.10) lead the San Diego offense. Head coach Jennifer Petrie is in her ninth season with the Toreros and sports a 153-64 school record. Northridge's third opponent, Pittsburgh is currently 5-5 and has won four straight. The Panthers are led by the duo of senior Diana Andreyko who averages 4.22 kills per game and junior Kelly Campbell who averages 4.22 kpg. Head coach Chris Beerman is 122-70 is in his seventh season at Pitt (212-106 overall in his 12th season).