OREM, Utah - Playing its first match away from home this season, Long Beach State suffered a 25-22, 25-23, 26-24 defeat to Montana in a neutral site match at Utah Valley. The match opened the 2017 Wolverine Invitational, seeing LBSU drop to 1-3 on the season while Montana improved to 3-1.
For the fourth straight match, Megan Kruidhof led Long Beach State in kills. The junior had a match-high 13, adding four digs and three blocks. Hailey Harward had a team-best nine digs after playing the first set at outside hitter and the final two at libero. Emma Kirst posted six kills and a season-best eight digs.
LBSU got off to strong starts in each of the first two sets, but couldn’t make the early advantages stick. LBSU led 4-0 in the opening frame on a nice service run from senior Alexis Patterson, who had two of LBSU’s four aces on the night. The teams were eventually tied at 18 in the later stages of the set, but the Grizzlies closed on a 7-2 run to take the lead.
The Beach again raced out of the gates in set two, leading 6-1 on two Patterson aces. Kruidhof and Kirst combined for nine of LBSU’s 11 kills in the second set, and the Beach had a 22-21 lead late in the game before Montana went on a 4-1 run to go up 2-0 in the match.
In set three it was Montana that started well, going up 6-0 before the Beach rallied to tie the set at 8-8. Kruidhof had seven kills on 13 swings in set three as the Beach hit a match-best .283, but the Beach couldn’t quite get over the top. The teams were even at the finish with both sides getting a look at set point before the Grizzlies closed out the victory.
Long Beach State will take on No. 9 Kansas in its next match at the Wolverine Invitational. First serve between the Beach and the Jayhawks will be Friday at 1 p.m. PT from Lockhart Arena.
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