No. 23 49ers fall to No. 12 UCLA in four sets
Sept. 1, 2011
Honolulu, Hawaii - Senior outside hitter Caitlin Ledoux had her best match of the young season, recording her first double-double with 18 kills and 14 digs, but it wasn't enough as No. 23 Long Beach State fell to No. 12 UCLA in four sets 25-19, 27-25, 21-25, 25-18 in the first match of the Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Wahine Invitational.
The 49ers led the way in blocking on the night, leading 13-12, but allowed seven aces from the Bruins, and were outhit .169 to .146 in a match that featured a lot of good defense. Along with Ledoux, the 49ers had two other players with double-digit digs in libero Lauren Minkel, who had 15, as well as outside hitter Janisa Johnson who led the 49ers with 19 digs to go with 12 kills for her second double-double of the year.
Long Beach State won the opening point of the match on a Hampton kill, but each team was able to sideout through the beginning of the set until UCLA took its first lead at 6-5. Down 9-7, Long Beach State rallied an tied the set at 10-10, and with a Janisa Johnson kill and a Libby Fontanilla ace, the 49ers took a 13-10 lead. UCLA's top server, Bojana Todorovic took the back line after a UCLA timeout and side out, and served the Bruins back into the lead by a 16-13 score after a Kelly Reeves kill. The Bruins hit Reeves for a 19-15 lead, and both teams continued to trade service the rest of the way to a 25-19 UCLA win in set one.
In set two, UCLA led early, but after a pair of Caitlin Ledoux kills, the 49ers pulled ahead with a 5-4 lead. A kill from Sara Sage put the Bruins back on top, however, and back-to-back aces by Todorovic gave UCLA a 9-6 lead. Long Beach State pulled back even, as Alma Serna put away a UCLA overpass, and a great dump by Erin Juley tied the set at 10-10. The teams continued to trade small leads, and with UCLA leading 22-20, Long Beach State found Johnson for a pair of kills to take a late lead. Leading 24-23, UCLA held off the 49er set point with a Todorovic kill, and while the 49ers returned the favor trailing 25-24 with a block from Delainey Aigner-Swesey and Serna, a Rachael Kidder kill gave UCLA the set with a 27-25 win.
Coming out of the break, Long Beach State responded with a huge push right out of the gate in set three. After two attack errors from Tabi Love, Fontanilla sandwiched a Bruin timeout with two aces as the 49ers took an 8-2 lead. UCLA climbed back into the set, eventually tying the set at 11, but an error by Kidder kept the 49ers in the lead, and a Hampton solo block put Long Beach State out in front by two points. UCLA was able to pull back though, and took a two point lead at 21-19 after a kill from Zoe Nightingale. After a 49er timeout, however, Long Beach State had a huge rally, starting with a big kill from Haleigh Hampton. Long Beach State then served out the set, retaking the lead with a block from Aigner-Swesey and Hampton and winning the set on another block, this one coming from Hampton and Ledoux.
After the 49ers took the early advantage in the third set, it was UCLA that responded with a fast start in the fourth with two aces to take a 5-2 lead early. Long Beach State was able to pull to within one at 9-8 after a block from Serna and Ledoux, but another Bruin ace and a setting error from the 49ers gave UCLA a 15-9 lead. The teams traded service the rest of the way, as the Bruins closed out the match with a 25-18 victory.
Long Beach State will get another chance to grab a win against a ranked opponent on Friday, playing the host Rainbow Wahine at 10 p.m. PT in the second match of the day tomorrow. The 49ers then conclude their time in Hawaii with a 6 p.m. match against No. 22 Ohio State on Sunday, Sept. 4.