Seattle, Wash. - Long Beach State held tough in a tight third set to close out a sweep over Seattle University on the road, defeating the Redhawks 25-17, 25-16, 25-23 on Saturday night.
Long Beach State's young players carried the day, as Okpala led the team with 12 kills on .524 hitting with seven blocks, while freshman Alex Reid added a career high 11 kills on .320 hitting. Setter Tara Roenicke also had a solid all-around match, handing out 33 assists and making three kills on .600 hitting with six digs. Sophomore Tyler Jackson led the 49ers with 16 digs over the three-set match.
Down early in set one, Long Beach State pushed out to a 7-5 lead behind outstanding serving from sophomore Chelsea Cabrajac, capped by back-to-back aces. Seattle made a short run back of their own, but after a Okpala solo block that put the 49ers back on top by three at 14-11, the 49ers pushed out to a 22-17 lead. Back-to-back blocks by Roenicke and Okpala then helped the 49ers close out the set with a 25-17 victory.
Long Beach State scored an early lead in the second set, pushing out to a 9-5 lead on a kill from Delainey Aigner-Swesey. Up 12-9 on a kill from Okpala, the 49ers then went on a six-point run to take an 18-10 lead, and easily finished out the set with a 25-16 victory.
In the third set, the 49ers third ace, coming from Libby Fontanilla, gave the 49ers an 11-8 lead and an Okpala klll led to a Seattle timeout. The Redhawks stormed back, however, tying the set at 13-13 on a block from Kelly Biette. A solo block from Reid helped the 49ers push back a point after a sideout, and the 49ers eventually opened up another four-point lead at 18-14. Seattle settled into a rhythm again after a timeout, pushing back to a three-point lead, and holding off two match points with kills from Karina Miastkowska and Kaytlyn Dill. The 49ers finished off the match with a block from Bre Mackie and Okpala, the team's tenth, to improve to 3-5 on the season, while knocking the Redhawks to 4-5.
Long Beach State remains on the road next week for its three final non-conference matches. The 49ers travel to Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., for three neutral site matches against Arkansas State, Northern Illinois, and Northern Iowa.
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