Women's Volleyball Falls In Three At No. 11 Illinois
Senior Bre Mackie had nine kills to lead the Beach.
LONG BEACH, Calif. – Long Beach State officially opened the 2014 season on Friday but was swept at No. 11 Illinois. The Beach (0-1) and Illini (1-0) went back and forth in the first two sets but it was Illinois that was able to pull it out at the end as the Beach fell 25-21, 25-21, 25-15.
Bre Mackie led LBSU with nine kills on .318 hitting but Long Beach hit just .102 as a team. Illinois put 10 blocks compared to five from Long Beach State. Ashley Murray had three kills in her first collegiate set and went on have four kills in the match with one block.
The first two sets were back and forth for nearly the entire way with neither team truly taking control. The Beach looked to swing the momentum at the right time in the first set and turned a 17-17 tie into a 21-18 lead. Murray and Alex Reid put down back to back kills to put the Beach up 19-17 and Reid put away another after a sideout from Illinois for the 21-18 lead.
However, the Illini swung the momentum with the help of their raucous crowd to score the last seven points of the set. Jocelynn Birks, who led Illinois with 12 kills on the night, kicked off the streak with a kill to pull her team within two. A block and a net violation on the Beach tied the match back up and Illinois rode the momentum to the win, putting the set away with another block.
The second set was more of the same story with another tight set throughout. Morganne Criswell put Illinois up 12-9 early on but Alex Reid served six points in a row as the Beach turned the tables. A Joy Miley and Chisom Okpala block tied things up and Reid served up an ace to put the Beach up one. Miley increased the lead with back-to-back kills. Illinois fought back to tie it at 16-16 but the Beach found themselves up 21-19.
History repeated itself as Illinois scored the last six points of the set to take the 2-0 lead into the break. A couple of Beach attack errors helped Illinois in the run and Allison Palmer added in an ace.
Illinois used the momentum of the back-to-back comeback wins to sprint out to a 5-0 lead in the first set and stayed firmly in command the entire way.
Liz McMahon had four of her 10 kills in the final set and Criswell put down eight of her 10 kills in the final two sets to add a third player with double digit kills.
Illinois hit .519 in the second set to boost their hitting average to .333 for the match while holding LBSU to .102.
The Beach takes on another tough opponent tomorrow with a 10:30 a.m. (PT) match against No. 20 North Carolina. They will also take on Southern Illinois tomorrow at 3 p.m. (PT)
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