SAN DIEGO - In its final match of the weekend, Long Beach State (1-8) was poised for a victory with a 2-1 lead at San Diego State (3-5), but the Aztecs claimed the final two sets in a 14-25, 25-21, 20-25, 25-20, 15-3 victory on Saturday. It was the first five-set match for either team this season.
Junior Megan Kruidhof had a match-high 18 kills to finish one shy of her career high, while also adding eight digs and four blocks. Freshman Monika Simkova posted a career-high with 12 kills and a pair of aces, while sophomore YiZhi Xue also had 12 kills to go with four blocks. Sophomore Kjersti Norveel added eight kills and a team-best six blocks and classmate Hailey Harward paced the Beach with 17 digs. Senior setter Alexis Patterson posted a season-best 46 assists and added nine digs.
The opening set was probably Long Beach State’s best of the season as they pulled away for a 25-14 win. LBSU got a whopping eight kills in the first game alone from Kruidhof, and put up 3.5 blocks as a team. Harward also had a pair of aces during a terrific service run. With LBSU leading 14-13, Harward served a 10-0 run to put the Beach well out of reach at 24-13.
LBSU led 3-1 early in the second set, but a setter substitution immediately turned the tide. With Gabi Peoples checking in at setter, the Aztecs went on an instant 6-0 run, scoring nine of the next 10 points for a 10-4 lead. Despite 5.5 blocks from the Beach in set two, San Diego State maintained control to even the match at one set apiece.
Simkova was on fire in set three, recording five kills on six swings to lead Long Beach’s .484 hitting percentage in the set. Xue and Kruidhof each added four kills as LBSU posted 18 as a team in the third.
That was the end of the hot hitting, however, as Long Beach State hit .059 in the fourth and -.056 in the decisive fifth set. Behind middle Deja Harris, who had 10 kills in the final two frames combined, the Aztecs hit .786 in the fifth game to cap off the win.
Long Beach State has a busy week ahead, starting on Tuesday night, 7 p.m. at Pepperdine. The Beach then return home on Friday at 7 p.m. to take on No. 11 UCLA, with a pair of matches on deck for Saturday against San Francisco and Montana State.
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