Northridge Takes Three-Match Winning Streak to Long Beach State

Nov. 9, 2010

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Cal State Northridge (12-16, 4-8 Big West) wraps up the 2010 road schedule this week as the Matadors travel to Long Beach State (19-6, 9-3 Big West) on Thursday and UC Irvine (6-19, 2-10 Big West) on Saturday. Thursday's match is the first of two matches in eight days between Northridge and Long Beach while Saturday's match at UC Irvine concludes the Matadors' 2010 road schedule. Northridge won a pair of road matches last week, defeating CSU Bakersfield (3-0) in a non-conference match and taking care of UC Riverside (3-1) for the Matadors' first conference road win.

Both matches this week will be available as part of the Big West live streaming package. Both matches will also feature live stats via Gametracker at The Big West Conference and the CBS College Sports Network are partnering to bring fans exclusive coverage of Big West sports, press conferences, interviews and features into your home via the Internet! Now in its sixth year, BigWest.TV covers every home and conference contest in women's volleyball. A monthly subscription of $9.95 or an annual subscription of $79.95 delivers exclusive coverage to you. If you can't make it to the gym, you can still catch all the action on BigWest.TV!

Cal State Northridge won its second consecutive match and improved to 11-16 with a straight set (25-22, 25-16, 25-18) non-conference victory at CSU Bakersfield Tuesday night. Senior Lynda Morales' nine kills led Northridge as the Matadors spread out their attack. Morales hit .500 committing just one error in 16 swings while Natalie Allen (.174) and Una Siljegovic (.375) each added seven kills. The remainder of the Northridge hitters spread 14 kills among them. Setter Sam Orlandini had 24 assists in leading the Matador offense to a .310 hitting clip (37-11-84). Orlandini also served three of CSUN's five aces. On Friday in Riverside, Siljegovic had 16 kills, Morales added 14 and Allen chipped in 12 as Cal State Northridge ran its win streak to three with a 25-27, 25-20, 27-25, 30-28. The Matadors dropped the first set on Friday but came back to win the final three sets, including a 30-28 thriller in the fourth. Siljegovic's team-high 16 kills led the Matadors while Morales hit a match-high .385 committing just four errors in 26 swings. The senior from Fallbrook, Calif., also had six blocks and two digs. Allen had 12 kills (.175) and added a career-high 16 digs for her eighth double-double this season. Libero Cindy Ortiz posted a match and career-high 23 digs while Orlandini and Sydney Gedryn combined for 49 assists.

The Matadors will meet Long Beach State for the first time this season Thursday at the Walter Pyramid. The two schools will meet again eight days later at The Matadome. The 49ers are 19-6 overall and 9-3 in the Big West heading into Thursday's match. Long Beach has won eight of its last nine matches including road wins at Pacific (3-1) and UC Davis (3-2) last week. Junior OH Caitlin Ledoux leads the 49ers in kills with 378 (3.90 kps) which ranks third in the Big West. Sophomore OH Janisa Johnson adds 3.17 kills per set for LBSU which is hitting .257 as a team. The 49ers hold a 19-6 lead in the all-time series with the Matadors but Northridge has won two of the last three matches between the two teams. UC Irvine, which travels to Cal State Fullerton on Friday, is 6-19 (2-10 Big West) after snapping a seven-match skid with a 3-1 win at UC Riverside last Saturday. Senior OH Kari Pestolesi leads the Anteaters averaging 2.93 kills per set. Northridge and UC Irvine have each won 20 matches in the all-time series but the Anteaters have won six of the last seven matches between the two schools. The Matadors won in five in the season's first meeting on Oct. 16 in Northridge.

Last week, Northridge began a stretch of four straight road matches looking to reverse their season-long struggles away from home. So far so good as the Matadors won at CSU Bakersfield and UC Riverside to improve to 4-5 on opposing courts this season. The win in Bakersfield also snapped a string of five straight road losses for Northridge which has two road matches remaining this season.

Freshman Natalie Allen (Murrieta, Calif.) is averaging a team-high 2.97 kills per set through 28 matches. If Allen can boost that average three one-hundredths of a point over the last four matches of the season, she can become the first Northridge hitter in five seasons to average at least 3.00 kills per set. Darla Donaldson in 2006 was the last Matador to reach the plateau when she averaged a team-high 3.14 kills per set. The 2004 CSUN team had three players average at least 3.00 kill per set as Jen Ryan (5.15), Delaney Menell (3.22) and Heather Fobian (3.17) all averaged at least 3.00 kills per set.

Friday's win at UC Riverside gave the Matadors their fourth win on the road this season. Northridge also has four wins at home and four neutral court wins this season. In all, the Matadors are 4-5 at home, 4-7 in away matches and 4-4 in neutral site matches. With wins at Long Beach State and UC Irvine this week, CSUN can post the most road wins (6) for a Matador team since 2006. Northridge can also finish above .500 at home with wins over the same 49ers and Cal State Fullerton next week.

In its 36th season of women's volleyball at Cal State Northridge, the Matadors are closing in on 700 wins in program history. Northridge began the 2010 season with 684 wins and 12 this season puts the Matadors four wins away from 700. 684 wins in 35 years averages out to just over 19 wins per season which was largely achieved during the programs heyday as a Division II school (1975-1989). Under the direction of Walt Ker, the Matadors posted 401 wins from 1979-1992, an average of nearly 29 wins per season.

Senior Lynda Morales (Fallbrook, Calif.) remains third in the Big West in blocking at 1.18 blocks per set. Morales' best blocking season statistically was her freshman season when she averaged 1.40 blocks per set with a career-high 157 blocks in 112 sets ... Junior Sam Orlandini (La Cañada, Calif.) added five aces in two matches last week to boost her team-leading season total to 31. Orlandini ranks second in the conference averaging 0.33 aces per set and is also seventh in assists averaging 9.41 per set. The junior setter also has 76 kills this season which for her is 52 more than any previous season-high. Orlandini is also hitting a team-best .394 in 155 attacks ... Sophomore libero Cindy Ortiz (Los Angeles, Calif.) posted a career-high 23 digs in the Matadors' four-set win at UC Riverside on Saturday. Ortiz had 22 digs against both UC Santa Barbara and Santa Clara earlier this season ... Junior Una Siljegovic (Simi Valley, Calif.) had career-highs of 16 kills and 47 attacks at UC Riverside. She also matched her career-high with one ace against the Highlanders.

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

On winning back-to-back road matches last week:
"Obviously any win is a good win. Winning on the road is an important component to building a championship team. We'll take the good and bad from these matches and continue to improve. We didn't serve quite as well against Riverside as I might have liked but I still think we're blocking OK. "

On the continued shuffling within the lineup:
"I'm still moving personnel around quite a bit. The players, in some ways, have grown accustomed to uncertainty when it comes to the lineup which is not a necessarily a bad thing. You may not always find the perfect rhythm that you want but I still think there's enough players that are playing well when asked to. When someone is not playing well we're always able to have somebody come in and do a good job for us."

On the recent play of senior Lynda Morales:
"This week was a good week for Lynda. She attacked very well and she is point-scoring whether it be blocking or attacking. We're hopeful that everybody steps up and has great matches but Lynda certainly had two good matches last week."

On facing Long Beach State for the first time this season:
"It's a little awkward having already played six Big West teams twice this season and we haven't seen Long Beach once. The schedule is not perfect but it is what it is, we'll have to play them twice in the next eight days."

Following this week's matches in Long Beach and Irvine, the Matadors conclude the 2010 regular season with a two-match homestand against Long Beach State (Nov. 19) and Cal State Fullerton (Nov. 20). The match with Fullerton will be senior night as Northridge will honor seniors Janet Alvarado, Lynda Morales, Brittany Williams and Karina Woehrstein in a prematch ceremony.


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