May 4, 2013
Gulf Shores, Ala. - No. 2 Long Beach State took a big step towards claiming the 2013 Sand Volleyball National Championship, defeating No. 4 USC 3-2 to advance to the finals. The championship match will feature a rematch of last year's finals, as the 49ers will try to upset the top-ranked and unbeaten Pepperdine Waves later this afternoon.
Jocelyn Neely and Lauren Minkel came through to deliver the 49ers to the championship. After falling 21-18 in the first set to Brooke Fournier and Kati Duddridge at No. 4, Minkel and Neely rallied to force a third set with a 21-19 win. They then pushed through to a 15-13 win in a tight third set to seal the win after the 49ers and the Trojans split the first four matches 2-2, all in two sets. Neely led the way for the 49ers in the match, making 21 kills to lead the 49ers.
Tyler Jackson and Janisa Johnson remained undefeated in the 2013 season, beating Sam Hirschmann and Natasa Siljkovic 21-18, 21-17, as Johnson led the pair with 14 kills while Jackson added four service aces. Long Beach State also had a win at No. 2, where Delainey Aigner-Swesey and Chelsea Cabrajac defeated Katie Fuller and Cinnamon Sary 21-13, 21-15, with Aigner-Swesey having a big match with 16 kills and seven blocks to help the 49ers advance.
Long Beach State's two losses came in the No. 1 and No. 3 flights, where Kirby Burnham and Stevi Robinson defeated Caitlin Ledoux and Tara Roenicke 21-17, 21-14, while Eve Ettinger and Bria Russ topped Libby Fontanilla and Bre Mackie 21-16, 21-18.
At stake in the finals is Long Beach State's seventh team national championship, as the 49ers have won five in women's volleyball and one in men's volleyball. No. 2 Long Beach State will also be trying to become the first team to defeat Pepperdine in the sport's short NCAA history.
AVCA Sand Volleyball National Championship - Semifinals
No. 2 Long Beach State 3, No. 4 USC 2
1) Kirby Burnham/Stevi Robinson, USC def. Caitlin Ledoux/Tara Roenicke, LBSU 21-17, 21-14
2) Delainey Aigner-Swesey/Chelsea Cabrajac, LBSU def. Katie Fuller/Cinnamon Sary, USC 21-13, 21-15
3) Eve Ettinger/Bria Russ, USC def. Libby Fontanilla/Bre Mackie, LBSU 21-16, 21-18
4) Lauren Minkel/Jocelyn Neely , LBSU def. Kati Duddridge/Brooke Fournier, USC 18-21, 21-19, 15-13
5) Tyler Jackson/Janisa Johnson, LBSU def. Sam Hirschmann/Natasa Siljkovic, USC 21-18, 21-17
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