The Northridge women’s volleyball team’s coaches are not thinking too far ahead and they surely aren’t thinking about the past. Their minds are solely on the two teams they must beat next.
The Matadors will see their next two adversaries in Malibu this weekend, where they will complete their 2008 tournament schedule at the Asics Pepperdine Classic.
So for the time being, all focus will be on playing well against Texas State on Friday, and 21st-ranked Pepperdine Saturday.
‘We’ve scouted against them,’ Stork said. ‘We’ll watch some video to get the right match-ups and get in the right frame of mind to play against two tough opponents.’
‘We’re going to go into the next two matches like we do with every match,’ assistant coach Kiran Mistry said. ‘Our team does a good job of getting ready for the next opponent.’
Unlike the previous tournaments Northridge played in, which were four-team tournaments, the Pepperdine Asics Classic is a three-team competition. The scheduling also might take a toll on the players as the Matadors will play Texas State at night and then take on Pepperdine the next morning.
Texas State (4-8) has dropped five straight and seven of its last eight matches after opening the season 3-1. Friday’s match will be the first-ever meeting between the Bobcats and the Matadors.
‘It’s interesting playing an opponent we have never seen,’ said Stork, who is in his seventh year as Northridge head coach.
Junior outside hitter Jessica Weynand leads the Bobcats with an average of 2.67 kills per game while also contributing 1.84 digs per match. Sophomore setter Brittany Collins averages 5.88 assists per game. The Bobcats are hitting .203 as a team.
Host Pepperdine is a perfect 9-0. The Waves claimed their third tournament championship last weekend at the Nevada AT’amp;T Invitational. Pepperdine defeated UC Davis, Missouri and the host Wolf Pack all in straight sets.
The Matadors have won just three games in 11 all-time meetings against the Waves. The good news is that all three victories came with Northridge playing as the road team. For maybe the only time this season, the Matadors should be relieved they won’t be playing a team at home. Pepperdine has a 5-0 record at the Matadome.
Northridge holds the current bragging rights. They defeated the Waves 3-2 in September 2005, the last time these two met.
Senior outside hitter Julie Rubenstein is the Waves’ leading hitter at 4.60 kills per game while junior outside hitter Rachel Lumsden averages 2.73 kills per game. Junior setter Kiah Fiers averages 10.58 assists per game.
Pepperdine will be the second ranked team the Matadors will have to face this week. Northridge is coming off a disappointing loss to fourth-ranked UCLA, but the coaches aren’t worried about a hangover.
‘There’s another game all the time,’ assistant coach Susie Terrusa said. ‘You have to put the last game behind you and look forward to the next match.’
Terrusa added that the team was pretty happy about their performance against the Bruins, but also disappointed that they didn’t at least take a set.
The Matadors are looked at as inferior to nationally-ranked teams like the Bruins and Waves, but the players still feel like they have a chance against the likes of those teams. A mindset like that can go a long way this weekend as the Lady Matadors will look to improve their record to 7-5 going into Big West Conference play.
‘There is lots of room for improvement,’ Stork said. ‘The players will not give up and will be ready to train for Texas State and Pepperdine.’