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ASU Sheraton Invitational on Tap for Northridge This Weekend
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Sept. 9, 2008

Weekly Match Notes in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

MATADORS HEAD TO TEMPE FOR ASU SHERATON INVITATIONAL FRIDAY AND SATURDAY Cal State Northridge (4-2), which won two of its three matches at the Sacramento Invitational last weekend, plays the third of four tournaments this weekend as the Matadors head to Tempe Ariz., to take part in the ASU Sheraton Invitational. Northridge opens against the Cincinnati Bearcats (4-2) Friday at 10 a.m. followed by a match at 5 p.m. against former Big Sky rival Montana (4-3). The Matadors wrap up the tournament on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m., against the host Arizona State Sun Devils (5-2).

NORTHRIDGE ON THE NET All matches of the ASU Sheraton Invitational will be available via the Gametracker feature at:

ASU Sheraton Invitational

MATADORS WIN TWO OF THREE AT SACRAMENTO STATE INVITATIONAL For the second consecutive weekend the Matadors came away from tournament play with a 2-1 record. This time, however, Northridge had to literally sweat out a five-set win over San Jose State to come hone with two wins. The Matadors had no problem with host Sacramento State in the opener as Northridge, behind 10 kills from Brittany Williams, defeated the Hornets 25-20, 25-12, 26-24. In match two, the Matadors could not derail an undefeated Saint Mary's team as the Gaels dealt Northridge a 25-19, 25-17, 25-20 setback. The Matadors, who hit just .096 as a team, were led by Williams' eight kills while Siara Grayson added seven kills and a team-best .333 hitting clip. Northridge was then pushed to the limit by San Jose State as the Matadors overcame a 2-1 set deficit. Angela Hupp led Northridge with a season-high 18 kills while Williams (15), Puneet Pataria (13) and Lynda Morales (11) each reached double figures in kills. Freshman setter Sam Orlandini had a career-high 52 assists in the win.

MATADORS OFF TO BEST START SINCE 2002 With four wins in its first six matches, Northridge is off to its best in six seasons. The Matadors also opened the 2002 season, Jeff Stork's first season on the bench, with a 4-2 record and improved to 5-2 before dropping six of their next eight matches on the way to an 11-16 finish. With the third of four tournaments on the docket this weekend at Arizona State, the road will not be easy.

"It's going to be a tough weekend, I think this will be the toughest of the four-team tournaments this season," said Stork. "But I think we're in a good position because we've narrowed down our starting lineup over the last month."

HUPP, MORALES EARN ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS Junior Angela Hupp made it two-for-two this season after picking up all-tournament honors at the Sacramento State Invitational which followed her all-tourney performance at the season-opening Bronco Invitational in Boise, Idaho two weeks ago. Hupp led the Matadors with a season-high 18 kills in Northridge's five-set win over San Jose State.

"Angela put up real good numbers a majority of the time," said Stork. "She's doing so many things for us in terms of running the court, setter digs and being a positive influence and giving us positive energy on the court."

Sophomore Lynda Morales also was named to the all-tournament team in Sacramento after pounding 23 kills and hitting .386 in three matches. She also added four aces (0.36), four digs (0.36) and 15 total blocks (one solo) (1.36). She hit a season-high .529 with 11 kills and two errors in 17 swings to go with six blocks as the Matadors topped San Jose State in five.

"Lynda played real well and she was our best point winner," said Stork. "There were a couple of matches where she blocked very well and she's serving very consistently."

CAREER RECORDS UPDATE With six matches in the books in 2008, several Matador seniors continue to make their way up the Northridge career records list. Val Kepler, the Big West leader in blocking, has 22 total blocks in six matches this season which has upped her career total to 383. Kepler remains fifth in career blocks but is now within 13 of Laura Walter and fourth place. With 19 block assists, she took over second place all-time in that category with 362 career assists. Amy Hultner, who has 52 digs this season, made the jump from ninth to sixth in career digs. Hultner now has 1,058 digs in three-plus seasons. Hultner trails Walter (1,060) by just two digs for fifth place on the all-time list. Kelley Hanson, the current team leader in digs with 72, now has 816 career digs which is just 161 digs out of the career top 10. Kayla Wright, who ranks second on the Matadors with 43 assists, now has 2,283 career helpers which continues to rank third on the all-time assists list.

KEPLER TAKES OVER BIG WEST BLOCKING LEAD Senior Val Kepler became the first Matador this season to lead the Big West in an individual category when she took over the conference lead in blocking. With three solo blocks and 19 assists in 18 games, Kepler has a conference-best 1.22 blocks per game average, 0.03 bpg ahead of Cal Poly's Jaclyn Houston. Morales currently stands eighth in blocking at 1.00 bpg while Northridge is second as a team at 2.35 blocks per game.

RANKED TEAMS ON THE HORIZON The Matadors will get their first crack at a ranked opponent when they open the home schedule next Tuesday, Sept. 16 against fifth-ranked UCLA. Unlike the past two seasons when the schedule was littered with ranked opponents from the start, only four teams on the 2008 schedule are ranked among the top 25 teams in the nation this week according to the CBS College SportsAVCA top 25 poll. UCLA checks in at No. 5 this week, Cal Poly (Sept. 27, Oct. 24) is No. 16, Long Beach State (Oct. 7, Nov. 21) is No. 22 and Pepperdine (Sept. 20) is No. 24.

MATADORS TABBED SEVENTH IN THE BIG WEST The Matadors earned 27 points and were picked to finish seventh by the conference's head coaches in the 2008 Big West Women's Volleyball Preseason Poll. Northridge, which returns six starters and 10 letterwinners, garnered 27 points from the conference's head coaches and was predicted to finish seventh among nine conference teams. Two-time defending Big West champion Cal Poly was a unanimous pick to win its third straight regular season crown as the Mustangs earned all nine first place votes and 81 points total. Long Beach State was predicted to finish second after receiving 68 points.


CINCINNATI The Bearcats bring a 4-2 record into Friday morning's match against the Matadors ... Cincinnati has lost two straight after opening the season with four consecutive wins ... the Bearcats dropped their final two matches (No. 12 Minnesota, No. 11 Hawai'i) in Hawai'i ... Sophomore OH Stephanie Niemer leads Cincinnati averaging 3.60 kpg while senior MB Jessie Nevitt averages 2.65 kpg while hitting .378 ... Head coach Reed Sunahara (UCLA, 1989) is in his 11th season with the Bearcats and sports a 203-117 career and school record.

MONTANA The Grizzlies come into the ASU Sheraton Invitational with a 4-3 record, but have dropped three of their past four matches ... Montana, a former Big Sky rival of Northridge, opened the season with a 3-1 win over UC Riverside and also has wins over Gonzaga, Bradley and Stephen F. Austin ... Sophomore OH Amy Roberts leads Montana averaging 3.08 kills while also contributing 2.75 digs per game .. the Grizzlies are hitting .185 as a team ... Head coach Jerry Wagner (Montana State-Northern, 1986) is in his thid season and owns a 26-34 record.

ARIZONA STATE The host Sun Devils (5-2) host their second tournament in three weeks this weekend in Tempe ... Arizona State finished 2-1 at the season-opening ASU Sheraton Classic and went 3-1 at the Nike Invitational in Portland last weekend ... Senior OH Sarah Reeves is the Sun Devils' leading hitter at 4.08 kpg while senior OH Margie Giordano averages 2.96 kpg ... Sophomore setter Marina Mercer averages 10.69 apg while ASU is hitting .244 as a team ... Head coach Jason Watson (BYU, 1995) is in his first season at ASU and sports a 79-20 career record.




Senior Val Kepler leads the Big West in blocking and is third in hitting

Senior Val Kepler leads the Big West in blocking and is third in hitting