Matadors Venture to Houston, Texas for Final Tournament of 2012

MATCH #10:

Cal State Northridge Matadors (6-3) at Rice Owls (5-6)

Friday, Sept. 14, 2012 - 11 a.m. CT
Tudor Fieldhouse (5,750) - Houston, Texas
Live Stats:
Streaming Video: None
Audio: None
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors

MATCH #11:

Cal State Northridge Matadors (6-3) vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders (10-1)

Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012 - 11 a.m. CT
Tudor Fieldhouse (5,750) - Houston, Texas
Live Stats:
Streaming Video: None
Audio: None
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors

MATCH #12:

Cal State Northridge Matadors (6-3) vs. Houston Baptist Huskies (8-4)

Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012 - 4:30 p.m. CT
Tudor Fieldhouse (5,750) - Houston, Texas
Live Stats:
Streaming Video: None
Audio: None
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors

Weekly Match Notes (PDF)


Following a second-place finish at the USF Asics Powerade Challenge, Cal State Northridge (6-3, 0-0 Big West) heads to Houston, Texas for its final tournament of the 2012 season. The Rice Invitational II provides the Matadors a chance to battle the host Rice Owls (5-6), Texas Tech (10-1) and Houston Baptist (8-4) at Rice's Tudor Fieldhouse. Following the weekend, CSUN opens Big West Conference play Wednesday, Sept. 19 against No. 8 Hawai'i.   


All Matador home matches and conference road matches will be featured as part of the Big West live streaming package. BigWest.TV brings together live and on-demand video from each of the Big West's ten member institutions.  Now in it's eighth year, BigWest.TV covers Big West sports, press conferences, interviews and features, including every home and conference contest in women's volleyball.


The Matadors' four-match week opened with a 3-1 win over Idaho and concluded with a 3-0 loss to San Francisco. In between, CSUN swept La Salle and held off LIU Brooklyn in five. After hitting a season-high .364 as a team against La Salle, the Matador defense clamped down to hold the Explorers to a .109 clip. CSUN committed just seven hitting errors in 99 swings while connecting for 43 kills. Conversely LaSalle had just 28 kills as a team with 17 errors in 101 attacks. In its second match, Northridge had to battle back from a 2-1 set deficit to defeat LIU Brooklyn 25-27, 25-12, 27-29, 25-14, 15-10. It was the Matador blocking that paved the way as CSUN registered a season-high 19.0 total blocks which included three solo blocks and 32 block assists. The trio of Natalie Allen, Mahina Haina and Britney Graff led the CSUN offense on Saturday, much as they've done over the first eight matches this season. Against USF, the Matadors had their season-long, four-match win streak snapped in a 25-18, 25-21, 25-18 loss. The Matadors ran out of steam offensively against the Dons hitting .145 in the straight set loss.


Cal State Northridge will face three teams at the Rice Invitational that have a combined record of 23-11 (.676) in 2012. The Matadors open with the host Rice Owls (5-6) on day one before taking on Texas Tech (10-1) and Houston Baptist (8-4) on day two. Northridge and Rice have met twice since 1992 with each team winning one match. The Owls swept the Matadors in their last meeting at the USF Asics Challenge in 2009. CSUN and Texas Tech met once in 1990 with the Red Raiders taking a straight set decision. The Matadors have never met Houston Baptist which hails from the Great West Conference.  


By out-blocking each of their four opponents last week, Cal State Northridge vaulted to the top of the Big West in team blocking at 2.60 blocks per set. The Matadors have now out-blocked eight of their nine opponents this season. The lone team to out-block CSUN was Wisconsin when the Badgers handed the Matadors a 3-1 loss Aug. 31 in Long Beach. Typically among the Big West leaders in blocking, CSUN has two players occupying the top two spots in the conference this week as freshman Cieana Stinson ranks first (1.26 bps) followed closely by sophomore Casey Hinger (1.23). Junior Sydney Gedryn also ranks among the Big West's top blockers as she is tied for seventh at 1.03 bps.


Senior libero Cindy Ortiz, who already owns two of the top three single-season dig performances in Matador rally scoring history, is off to a good start in 2012. After a solid start to her 2012 season, Ortiz had a season-high 32 digs against LIU Brooklyn which was four digs off her career-high of 32 set against Cal State Fullerton in 2010. The second Matador player this season to go over 1,000 career digs, Monica McFarland being the other, Ortiz now has 1,051 career scoops which ranks eighth on the CSUN all-time rally scoring era list. McFarland is just ahead with 1,053 with Laura Walter next at 1,060. Kelley Hanson is the CSUN rally scoring era digs leader with 1,305 from 2005-08.


A pair of Matadors were named to the all-tournament team at USF last weekend as juniors Sydney Gedryn and Mahina Haina were named to the seven-player team. It marked the second time in as many tournaments that Gedryn was named all-tournament after the setter also earned accolades at the season-opening Wildcat Classic in Arizona. Gedryn, Casey Hinger and Natalie Allen, who was named MVP, also took home Wildcat Classic All-Tournament honors. There was no all-tournament team selected at the Long Beach Mizuno Invitational ... The Matadors have now put together four-match win streaks in each of the last two seasons which are the longest for a CSUN team since winning six in a row in 2006 ... The straight set loss to San Francisco marked the first time this season the Matadors have been swept. Conversely, CSUN has swept three opponents (Evansville, James Madison and La Salle) ... The Matadors are nearly though a stretch where they have played 11 of their first 12 matches on the road. Following this weekend's trip to Houston, CSUN will play three of its next five in the comforts of the re-energized Matadome. That stretch begins next Wednesday as the Matadors host No. 8 Hawai'i in their Big West opener.


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

On finishing 2-1 at the USF Tournament:

 "We're still working on some things that we continue to see improvement on. The La Salle match was an outstanding match for us, we controlled the team in every way. The Long Island match was a tough one for us, we knew that we were the better team but we didn't play particularly well in two of those sets. In some ways this was a character win for us but it also sends a signal that we're not as polished as we should be. I thought we did some good things in the second set against San Francisco but you have to give them credit for playing well. We were not able to take them out of system as much as they were able to take us out of system. Overall the tournament was good for us, we did a lot of good things."

On taking over the Big West lead in team blocking:

"I'm not surprised by that, we've out-blocked all but one team this season. I think the systems that we have in place lend themselves into us being a good serve-block team. We're 6-3 and not 9-0, so we've got to figure out how to win matches in a variety of ways."

On the upcoming Rice Invitational this weekend:

"We've always thought that of the four tournaments we are playing in that this one is the strongest based on last season's RPI. Obviously these teams don't have the same players from last year but we understand where we are in our team development. We are currently scouting these three teams, we've had a lot of success with understanding what are opponents are doing which is an indication of our digs per set going up as well as our blocks per set going up."


Now in the 38th season of women's volleyball at Cal State Northridge, the Matadors reached the 700-win plateau with their 3-0 win over Fresno State on Sept. 3, 2011. Now with 719 wins in 37+ years averages out to roughly 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. Since moving up to the Division I level in 1990, Northridge has 325 wins, including 29 in Ker's first Division I season (1990). With the win over Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 1, 2011, the Matadors reached 250 conference wins in 30 seasons as a conference member. CSUN has 73 Big West wins and combined with 47 Big Sky wins, 100 CCAA wins and 37 SCAA wins, CSUN stands at 257 all-time conference victories. 


The Cal State Northridge women's volleyball was picked to finish third in the 2012 Big West Preseason Coaches Poll as announced by the conference office on Aug. 7. The Matadors received a total of 72 points from the conference's head coaches, the most for a CSUN team in 12 years as a member of the Big West. The previous best preseason ranking for a Matador squad came in 2007 when Northridge was picked to finish fifth before finishing in a tie for fifth at the conclusion of the season. Hawai'i, ranked eighth in the AVCA national preseason poll, was picked to win the Big West after earning nine of 10 first place votes and 99 total points. Defending conference champions Long Beach State was second with 88 total points followed by the Matadors with 72. UC Santa Barbara (60) and Pacific (60) tied for fourth with Cal State Fullerton (46) sixth, Cal Poly (43) seventh, UC Davis (37) eighth, UC Irvine (31) ninth and UC Riverside (14) 10th. Cal Poly earned the lone remaining first place vote.


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