Matadors Open Season-Long Four-Match Homestand Thursday vs. Cal State Bakersfield

Matadors Open Season-Long Four-Match Homestand Thursday vs. Cal State Bakersfield

This Week's Matador Women's Volleyball Release


Match #25: Cal State Bakersfield at Cal State Northridge * Thursday, Nov. 1 * The Matadome * 7:00 p.m.
Match #26: Long Beach State at Cal State Northridge * Saturday, Nov. 3 * The Matadome * 7:00 p.m.

Cal State Northridge (9-15, 6-6 Big West) opens a season-long, four-match homestand this week with a non-conference match on Thursday against Cal State Bakersfield (6-17). The Matadors and Roadrunners have not met in 13 years. Northridge returns to Big West action on Saturday as the Matadors host Long Beach State (15-6, 9-2). Both matches begin at 7 p.m. The Matadors, 3-2 in five home matches this season, are a perfect 13-0 all-time against Cal State Bakersfield in The Matadome and 2-7 in nine matches vs. Long Beach State in Northridge.

All Matador home matches will webcast live on the official website of Northridge Athletics, with Sam Farber handling the play-by-play. Farber will be joined occasionally by former Winthrop assistant coach Paul Duchesne. And for the second straight season, the Big West Conference and CSTV are partnering to bring LIVE Big West Conference volleyball home to you. A monthly subscription of $9.95 or an annual subscription of $79.95 gets you exclusive coverage of Big West women's volleyball delivered right to your computer. If you can't make it to the gym, you can still watch all the action on BigWest.TV!

Junior Val Kepler along with freshmen Alex Johnson and Brittany Williams each had 10 kills apiece as Cal State Northridge defeated UC Riverside, 30-20, 30-27, 30-28 in a Big West Conference match on Friday. Kepler hit a team-high .500 on her way to 10 kills while Johnson hit .280 and Williams hit at a .214 clip. On Saturday, junior Jenn Probert tallied a team-high 11 kills but it wasn't enough as UC Irvine defeated Cal State Northridge 25-30, 30-17, 30-20, 30-26 on Saturday at UCI's Crawford Court.

Thursday's non-conference match with Cal State Bakersfield opens up a month of home cooking for the Matadors. After playing 19 of its first 24 matches on the road this season, Northridge will play six of its final seven regular season matches in the comforts of The Matadome. In addition to Thursday's match with the Roadrunners, the Matadors will host Long Beach State, Pacific and UC Davis in Big West play and wrap up the regular season by hosting Fairfield and Idaho in the Fremont Investment and Loan Invitational. Northridge has won three of its last four home matches heading into this week's action. n

Between them, junior Val Kepler (Simi Valley/Simi Valley HS) and redshirt freshman Lynda Morales (Bakersfield/Centennial HS) have started 23 of 24 matches together in the middle. Kepler is the lone Northridge player this season to start all 24 matches and appear in all 92 games. Morales has started 23 matches while appearing in 87 games. The duo have also combined for 217 total blocks and both rank among the top 10 in the Big West in individual blocks. Both have been impressive on the offensive end as well as the two have combined for 357 kills while hitting .247. n

If the Big West preseason poll proves correct, the Matadors are right were they should be heading into the home stretch of the conference season. Northridge was picked to finish fifth in the preseason coaches poll and is currently sixth at 6-6. Cal State Fullerton (5-4) is currently fifth and Pacific (6-3) is currently in fourth-place. Cal Poly, the preseason pick to win the conference, has a one-game lead over second-place Long Beach State heading into this week's matches. UC Irvine is also proving the preseason predictions accurate as the Anteaters are in third place after being picked third by the conference's coaches.

Freshman Brittany Williams (Chino Hills/Ayala HS) is averaging a team-high 3.09 kills per game in conference matches ... After 24 matches last year the Matadors had served 164 team aces, the top total in the Big West. This season after 24 matches, Northridge has dropped 52 aces off that pace with 112 to rank sixth in the conference ... After posting records of 2-3 (.400) in August and 3-8 (.273) in September, Northridge won four and lost four in the month of October for its first .500 or better month of the season ... The four-set loss to UC Irvine dropped the Matadors to 0-6 in four-game matches this season.

Head coach Jeff Stork had this to say about last week's matches at UC Riverside and UC Irvine:

"Once again it's the consistency of play and minimizing the errors," said Stork. "We played well at UC Riverside and we were able to sideout at a pretty good number."

"We continue to give up points in bunches which happened at UC Irvine," added Stork. "At this point of the season, the time to significantly improve in the areas we need is not there."

On hosting Cal State Bakersfield and Long Beach State this week which begins a stretch of six of the final seven matches at home:

"Hopefully the girls will settle in a little bit with some many home matches coming up," said Stork. "We played Cal State Bakersfield in the spring and have a good idea what to expect. Sarah Norman gets most of the kills but I think if we can get our blocking going early we can give them trouble. I'd like to see our team sideout steady"

"Long Beach has narrowed what they've done," Stork added. "We expect them to go to Crimes and Verdin and do some of the same things defensively."

Eight Matador opponents (the most of any team in the Big West) are named in the CSTV/AVCA Coaches Top 25 poll this week. Washington (20-1) is the highest ranked Northridge opponent this week at No. 4. USC (19-3) is ranked sixth this week followed by ninth-ranked UCLA (16-6). Duke (18-4) is ranked 14th this week followed by 15th-ranked San Diego (16-6). Cal Poly (16-7) ranks 23rd this week while Big West rival Long Beach State (15-6) and Sacramento State (22-4) both received votes in this week's top 25 poll.

The Roadrunners bring a 6-17 overall record into Thursday's match in Northridge. Cal State Bakersfield, playing this season as an NCAA Division I Independent, has dropped eight of its last 10 matches with both wins coming over Fresno State. The Roadrunners opened the season 3-2 before losing seven straight matches. Junior Sarah Norman, who transferred from UC Irvine, averages a team-high 4.79 kills per game while junior Rosemary Stribling is second at 2.64 kpg. Junior setter Gabe Curtis averages 11.93 assists per game while Bakersfield is hitting .212 as a team. The Runners are being out-blocked 2.43 to 1.31 per game. Head coach John Price (Cal State Northridge, 1983) is in her 11th season with the Roadrunners and sports a 198-103 school record.

The 49ers, who host Cal State Fullerton on Tuesday and Cal State Bakersfield on Friday before traveling to Northridge on Saturday, are 15-6 overall (9-2 Big West) heading into this week's action. Long Beach State has won nine of its last 10 matches including a pair of 3-0 sweeps over UC Irvine and UC Riverside last week. Senior Alexis Crimes , who had a team-high 13 kills in the win over UC Irvine, leads the 49ers averaging 4.40 kills per game. Junior Quincy Verdin ranks second at 3.47 kpg. Junior setter Nicole Vargas averages 11.75 assists per game while Long Beach State is hitting .260 as a team. Head coach Brian Gimmillaro (Long Beach State, 1970) is in his 23rd season with the 49ers and sports a 619-147 career and school record.


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