Showdown With No. 8 Hawai'i Lone Test for Matadors This Week


MATCH #21 (Big West Match #8):

No. 8 Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine (16-2, 5-1 Big West) at Cal State Northridge Matadors (16-4, 6-1 Big West)

Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013 - 7:00 p.m. PDT
The Matadome (1,600) - Northridge, CA
Live Stats:
Streaming Video: BigWest.TV
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors 

Weekly Match Notes  


Cal State Northridge (16-4, 6-1 Big West) has one match on the schedule this week, and it's a big one. The Matadors, winners of six of their last seven matches, host the eighth-ranked Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine (16-2, 5-1 Big West) Thursday at 7 p.m. CSUN, which holds a slim one-half game lead in the conference, was dealt its first conference loss last Friday night at UC Santa Barbara but rebounded to top Cal Poly in five sets. The Matadors have had Oct. 24 circled on their calendar as CSUN's first chance to defend a heartbreaking five-set loss to Hawai'i on Sept. 19 of the 2012 season.


Thursday's match will feature a live broadcast with Casey Moran and Alex Jones as well as live stats and will be streamed live on BigWest.TV. 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 ninth year, BigWest.TV covers Big West sports, press conferences, interviews and features, including every home and conference contest in women's volleyball.


Cal State Northridge dropped its first conference match of the season as the Matadors were blanked Friday night at UC Santa Barbara, 25-22, 25-19, 25-15. CSUN had its five-match win streak snapped as the Matadors were swept for the first time since Sept. 13 when No. 24 Creighton defeated Northridge in straight sets. On a night the Matadors hit .170 (33-17-94) as a team, senior Mahina Haina had a team-high eight kills while hitting .263 on 19 attacks. Junior Casey Hinger added seven kills while hitting .267 and also added a pair of blocks, no other CSUN hitter had more than five kills in the loss. On Saturday, Hinger pounded a career-high 21 kills as Cal State Northridge salvaged the finale of the two-match road trip as the Matadors rallied for a 27-25, 26-28, 22-25, 25-18, 15-11 win at Cal Poly Saturday at Mott Athletics Center. It was a battle the entire night despite the fact that the Matadors out-hit the hosts .299 to .192. CSUN also had a sizable edge in team digs (62-47) but Cal Poly had six aces to the Matadors' three. Fellow junior Natalie Allen also hit well checking in at .310 with 14 kills in 29 attacks to go with 14 digs, her ninth double-double this season. Cieana Stinson (.360) and Mahina Haina (.114) each chipped in 11 kills while setter Sydney Gedryn posted 54 assists.


• Two of the top three teams in the Big West meet in a Thursday showdown at The Matadome as No. 8 Hawai'i and the Matadors meet at 7 p.m. CSUN (6-1) sits atop the conference by one-half game over Hawai'i (5-1) and UC Santa Barbara (5-1). The Gauchos have wins over both the Matadors and Rainbow Wahine after sweeping CSUN Friday in Santa Barbara. The Matadors will also put their unblemished 4-0 home mark on the line against Hawai'i on Thursday.  

• Thursday's match will be the 13th meeting all-time between the Matadors and Hawai'i with the Rainbow Wahine holding a perfect 12-0 record in the series. Hawai'i won both meetings last season; winning in five thrilling sets in The Matadome (Sept. 19) and then taking a four-set win at the Stan Sheriff Center (Oct. 19). Last season's match in Northridge was the first-ever meeting between the two teams in The Matadome.

• The Matadors are receiving votes in the AVCA Top-25 poll for the eighth consecutive week. After splitting matches at UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly last week, Cal State Northridge received 10 points (ranked 31st) in the week eight poll of the 2013 season. Last week, the Matadors earned 43 points, the highest point total since 1992 when CSUN capped the season ranked 25th. Northridge has now received votes in eight straight AVCA Top-25 polls for the first time in school history.


Junior Natalie Allen is on track to become the second Matador in 2013 and 10th player all-time to reach 1,000 career kills. Allen heads into this week's matches with 933 career kills after putting down 18 kills in two matches last week. Earlier this season, senior Mahina Haina became the ninth member of the exclusive group of CSUN hitters and last week moved into seventh place on the all-time Cal State Northridge kills list with 1,073. Haina also ranks seventh in school history with 3,008 total attacks. Only five other players in Matador history have eclipsed 3,000 career attacks; Laura Walter (4,246), Missy Clements (3,764), Alexis Cormier (3,474), Angela Hupp (3,244) and Nancy Nicholls (3,110).


Thursday's match marks the halfway point of the Big West season for the Matadors who have won six of seven thus far in the first half. CSUN, 3-0 at home and 3-1 on the road, will make return trips to UC Irvine, Long Beach State, Hawai'i and UC Davis in the second half while hosting Cal State Fullerton, UC Riverside, Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara.


Junior middle blocker Casey Hinger had a career night on a night the Matadors needed it most. With CSUN trailing two sets to one, Hinger connected for seven of her career-high 21 kills over the final two frames as the Matadors won the final two sets and the match 3-2. For the night, Hinger took a career-high 38 swings while hitting .447. She also matched her season-best with seven blocks including three solo. Libero Kelcie Randazzo also had a career night against the Mustangs, digging a career-high 27 Cal Poly attacks while also posting six assists and a pair of aces.


Sophomore Cieana Stinson became the fourth CSUN hitter to surpass 200 kills this season when she connected for 11 kills at Cal Poly. Allen continues to pace the Matadors with 234 while Haina has 213 and Hinger checks in at 211. Stinson, who had 210 kills in 31 matches last season, has 203 kills this season with half the conference season still to play. Allen, who has averaged at least 3.00 kills per set for the entire season, dipped below at 2.96 this week. Last season,  it was Haina (320), Hinger (277), Stinson (210) and Britney Graff (305) that led the team in kills with Allen sidelined for much of the season due to injury. Allen's career-high 363 kills in 2010 is the most by a Matador hitter since Jen Ryan's school record 582 in 2004.


Friday's loss at UC Santa Barbara not only snapped a five-match conference win streak for the Matadors but was also the first to an unranked team this season. CSUN's previous three losses came to No. 24 Creighton, No. 11 UCLA and No. 3 Washington ... Hawai'i, currently No. 8 in the nation, will give the Matadors their fourth try and upsetting a ranked squad in 2013 ... Senior Britney Graff also moved into elite company last week as she joined a select few CSUN players to play in 400 career sets. Ana Kristich holds the Cal State Northridge record by playing in 450 career sets from 1991-94, Graff is currently at 404 and counting ... Saturday's victory at Cal Poly improved the Matadors to 6-1 in five-set matches this season. The lone loss in matches going the distance came against No. 11 UCLA on Sept. 13. CSUN's winning percentage in five-set matches of .857 surpasses its winning percentage in straight sets (.750) and four-setters (.800) ... With 16 wins in its first 20 matches, CSUN is still off to its best start since 1986 when the Matadors were 17-3 through 20 matches.  


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