September 30, 2009

Matadors Travel to Bakersfield for Non-Conference Match Wednesday

Sept. 30, 2009

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FOR STARTERS Cal State Northridge (4-10, 0-2 Big West) takes a brief break from the Big West schedule as the Matadors travel to CSU Bakersfield for their only match of the week. Northridge returns to conference play next week as the Matadors host UC Irvine (Oct. 6) and Cal Poly (Oct. 9). Northridge is 28-6 all-time against the Roadrunners of CSU Bakersfield who come into Wednesday's match with a record of 7-10. This will be the first home match after 17 road matches for the Roadrunners this season. The Matadors have struggled on the road this season having dropped six of their seven matches away from home.

TO RECAP The Matadors opened Big West play last week with another tough five-set loss as Northridge came away empty at UC Davis before being blanked in three by Pacific. Angela Hupp led Northridge with 18 kills (.333) while adding 14 digs, three blocks, six assists and one ace. against the Aggies. Britney Graff also posted double figures with 12 kills but hit just .167. Junior Lynda Morales added nine kills (.240) and a season-high nine blocks. On Saturday, Northridge had trouble getting anything going on offense as the Matadors hit just .114 (27-17-88) as a team. Hupp had a team-high eight kills and hit .438 while dishing out a season-high 14 assists. Brittany Williams added seven kills (.143) and Graff chipped in five kills (.111).

MATADORS DEALT A PAIR OF BIG WEST LOSSES The Matadors opened Big West play with a tough five-set loss to UC Davis before falling to Pacific in three. After splitting the first four sets against the Aggies, the Matadors came up short 15-9 in the decisive fifth set. The straight set loss at Pacific marked just the second time in Jeff Stork's eight seasons that the Matadors opened Big West play 0-2.

"The girls really played hard and stuck with each other against UC Davis," said Head Coach Jeff Stork. "The critical factor in the fifth set was simply errors. We scored nine points, they scored eight points and we gave them seven points.

"Pacific did it mostly with arms, they have four or five really good arms," said Stork. "We just need to keep our focus on things we have control over which is our training and how we react to adverse situations."

STAT SHEET DOESN'T TELL ENTIRE STORY Despite dropping 10 of their first 14 matches, the Matadors are nearly equal in every statistical category. Northridge trails slightly in kills (643-631), assists (595-584), digs (761-746), blocks (118.0-112.0) and total points (832-813). The area that stands out is serving. Typically one of the stronger serving teams in the Big West, the Matadors have been out-aced by a lim 71-70 margin but have committed 54 more service errors than their opponents (144-90).

"For the most part we want to serve tough and we're sacrificing some of the service errors to tough serving," said Stork. "Our tough serving is what has given us the edge in some matches, the sacrifice is that you're going to miss a few."

NORTHRIDGE LOOKS TO REVERSE TREND IN FIVE-SET MATCHES After winning their first five-set match of the year over Northern Arizona on Aug. 29, the Matadors have dropped their last three matches that have gone the distance. The closest Northridge has some to winning one of its last three five-set matches was a 15-11 setback at Loyola Marymount on Sept. 15. Since then the Matadors fell 15-8 at home to Fresno State and 15-9 to UC Davis.

"We're right there in all these games, LMU, Davis, Fresno State," said Stork. "We talk it about it a lot and we do things in practice. Certainly you want to deal with pressure situations. We've had several of those over the course of our season.

MATADORS TAKE ON A FACE FROM THE PAST Wednesday's match at CSU Bakersfield reunites past and present for Cal State Northridge volleyball. Roadrunner head coach John Price coached the Matador women for one interim season in 1993 but was a mainstay on the bench for the Northridge men from 1986-1997. Bakersfield is in its final year of transitioning to full NCAA Division I status and brings a 7-10 record into Wednesday's match.

"John Price does a good job up there," said Stork. "He maximizes opportunities for his players and they serve very well across the board. I think they have four or five really good servers.

"We need to concern ourselves with how we're trying to get better and the improvements we're trying to make system-wide."

NORTHRIDGE NOTES Senior Angela Hupp's streak of double figure scoring matches ended at 13 when she had eight kills and nine points against Pacific on Saturday. Hupp, however took on a dual role as the Matadors employed a 6-2 lineup against Pacific in which Hupp dished out a season-high 14 assists. The senior from Acton is still on pace to establish season-high's in kills per set (3.48) and digs per set (2.41) ... Junior Siara Grayson returned to the lineup against UC Davis after sitting out the previous six matches due to injury. Grayson had eight digs and one ace against UC Davis and did not play in Saturday's loss to Pacific ... Junior Lynda Morales posted a season-high 9.0 blocks against UC Davis and is now second in the Big West in blocks in conference-only matches. Morales is averaging 1.38 blocks per set in two Big West matches ... Freshman Britney Graff had a season-low five kills and five points in the loss to Pacific. She did however have a team-high seven digs ... With a pair of losses last week, the Matadors have now dropped five of their last six matches ... The three-set sweep at the hands of Pacific was the fourth time this season that Northridge has been shutout ... The Matadors last opened 0-2 in the Big West in 2008 and also dropped their first two conference matches in Stork's first season (2002).

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 ROADRUNNERS:CSU Bakersfield, which is playing its first home match after 17 on the road to open the season, brings a 7-10 record into Wednesday's match. The Matadors and Roadrunners have four common opponents this season, Fresno State, Pacific, Loyola Marymount and San Francisco. CSUB is led by sophomore OH Lindsay DeGeare who averages 3.58 k/s while sophomore MB Alysia Baker adds 2.37 k/s and 1.26 d/s.

SERIES HISTORY: Northridge holds a commanding 28-6 lead in the all-time series with CSU Bakersfield. The two schools competed primarily when both were members of the Division II California Collegiate Athletic Association. 28 of the 34 matches came between 1979 and 1989. The Matadors are 5-1 against CSUB since going Division I in 1991.

UP NEXT:The Northridge-Bakersfield match wraps up a three-match road trip for the Matadors who return to Big West play as they open up a three-match homestand Oct. 6 against No. 24 UC Irvine. Northridge will also host Cal Poly (Oct. 9) and UC Riverside (Oct. 10) during the homestand.

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