Matadors finally home

Debby von Winckelmann

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The CSUN women’s volleyball team finally ends their season-long 14-match road trip to play at home for the first time this season, on Friday against UC Irvine and on Saturday against UC Riverside.

The Matadors opened their Big West Conference schedule last weekend with a win against UC Santa Barbara and a loss against No. 20 Cal Poly. The win at the Thunderdome in Santa Barbara was CSUN’s first since 1992.

Going into this weekend, the Matadors have a 1-1 conference record and are 3-9 overall. Freshman outside hitter Alex Johnson leads the team in kills with 125 for the season. Junior middle blocker Val Kepler and sophomore outside hitter Angela Hupp follow closely behind with 121 and 115 kills, respectively. Kepler leads the team in points with 155, while Johnson has 146.5 and Hupp has 139.5. Hupp also leads the team in triple-doubles, with two this season, and double-doubles, at five this season.

Libero Amy Hultner leads the team in digs with 225 and has posted 11 games this season with double-figure digs.

The Matadors have played UC Irvine 33 times, with CSUN holding the lead in the series 19-14. The Matadors have a 10-3 record against the Anteaters at the Matadome and CSUN won the last matchup 3-0 on Nov. 18, 2006.

The Anteaters won their first conference game against UC Riverside 3-1. UC Irvine has a 1-0 conference record and is 11-4 overall. Their offense is led by junior outside hitter Lauren Kellerman with 191 kills, followed by freshman outside hitter Kari Pestolesi with 184 kills. Senior middle blocker Kristine Kelly has 58 block assist this season and, along with Pestolesi, has had five solo blocks.

The Matadors also lead the all-time series against UC Riverside 38-16. CSUN has won the last two matches, with the most recent win against the Highlanders being 3-1 on Oct. 14, 2006. The Matadors record at home against UC Riverside is 18-3.

The Highlanders are 4-8 overall and 0-1 in Big West play. UC Riverside lost its opening conference match against UC Irvine 3-1.

Senior middle blocker Angie Mitchell leads the Highlander offense with 135 kills, with sophomore outside hitter Dominique Cowling following with 105 kills. Junior libero Kimberly McNeal leads the team in digs with 190. Sophomore setter Brittney Murrey has 123 digs for the season. Mitchell also leads the team in blocks with 10.

Both matches begin at 7 p.m. at the Matadome and both will be broadcast live at GoMatadors.