Beach Holds Off Alabama In Season Opener, Winning 3-1
Jenelle Hudson made 31 assists and hit .444 on the night.
Long Beach, Calif. - Long Beach State used a balanced attack, solid defense and 22 service errors from Alabama to drop the Crimson Tide in the season opener for both teams 3-1. Jenelle Hudson made 31 assists and hit .444 while guiding the Beach to the win.
Hudson led five hitters to at least five kills while making four herself, with Ashley Murray and Carly Beddingfield topping the kill list for the 49ers with seven apiece. The 49ers were strong defensively however, finishing with eight blocks and making 60 digs over four sets. Freshman Mykah Wilson led the way with 18 digs, but Nele Barber (13) and Sarah Miller (10) each finished in double-figures in digs as well for the 49ers.
Long Beach State (1-0) took control early in the first set, as back-to-back aces from Sarah Miller paced the 49ers to a 7-3 lead. A block from Ashley Murray and Peyton Grahovac pushed the LBSU lead to six at 13-7, and the 49ers would eventually move out to an 18-11 lead on a Carly Beddingfield kill.
Alabama (0-1) answered back with a 5-1 run, and would eventually tie the set at 22. The 49ers had a pair of set points, but the Tide’s momentum carried to a 25-24 lead, and Alabama finally closed out the set with a 28-26 win behind six kills from Rivers.
The Beach answered back by taking another early lead, as a Nele Barber kill staked the 49ers to an 8-4 lead. Alabama pushed back, tying the set at 14-14 and eventually taking a 19-15 lead. Similar to the first set, however, the team that took the late momentum won the set as LBSU went on the move. Pulling within two at 20-18 on a kill from Murray, two straight blocks from Murray and Beddingfield gave the Beach the lead at 23-22, and Long Beach State closed the set on that run winning 25-22.
Long Beach State was big on the net early, with three blocks and controlling play on the way to an 8-3 lead. After pushing to a 14-7 lead on two kills from Nele Barber, a Murray slide put the 49ers firmly in control at 20-12. The Beach went on to win 25-19 without being truly threatened in the set.
The fourth set matched the form of the earlier sets, as the 49ers broke out to an early lead, as an ace from Hudson and a Murray kill led the 49ers to a 5-2 edge. Alabama bounced back to tie the set at 9-9, but a statement overpass kill from Murray, her seventh kill of the match, made the score 14-11. The Crimson Tide pulled the score within one at 15-14, but a quick run ended the threat and the Beach pulled away late to take the set and the match with a 25-17 win.
The Beach is back in the Walter Pyramid Saturday, as the 49ers will take on No. 25 Duke for their first crack at a ranked opponent in 2015. First serve is scheduled for 5 p.m.
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