Beach Survives Match Point To Stun LMU In 3-2 Comeback
Down 2-0 in the match, Long Beach State rallies to win 3-2 at Loyola Marymount.
Los Angeles, Calif. - Despite trailing two sets to none to Loyola Marymount on the road, Long Beach State won the third set, survived a 24-22 deficit in the fourth set and stunned the Lions in a thrilling comeback, winning 20-25, 21-25, 25-22, 26-24, 15-12. Nele Barber led the way for the 49ers, making 21 kills and fifteen digs, leading the team in both categories.
The Lions were hitting .400 after two sets, but out of the break, the 49ers righted the ship and made things tough for LMU. Along with Barber’s big night, Mykah Wilson also had 15 digs for the 49ers, and Ashley Murray added 14 kills and six blocks. The Lions finished hitting .232, just in front of Long Beach State’s .212 on the evening.
Loyola Marymount (3-3) took an early lead in set one, and never trailed in the opener. With the Lions leading 7-3, the 49ers would pull all the way back to tie the game at 13-13 on two straight errors from Jamie Lea. A Sarah Sponcil ace put the Lions back up by two at 18-16, and after an LMU block to take a 19-16 lead, Loyola Marymount went on to win the first 25-20.
While Long Beach State (5-2) took their first lead of the match early in the second, a Hannah Tedrow ace pushed LMU into the lead in the second set at 8-7. While the Lions led by three points through the middle of the set, a Mykah Wilson kill pulled the Beach within one at 14-13, and a Jenelle Hudson block tied the set at 16-16. LMU would win the next five points and went on to win the set 25-21.
Two Sponcil aces set LMU off to a good start, and the Lions took a 7-3 in the early stages of set three. LBSU wasn’t done yet though, as a block by Carly Beddingfield and Peyton Grahovac tied the set at 16-16, as the 49ers finished off a scrappy climb to pull even with LMU. A kill from Ashley Murray put the Beach in front 20-19, and a Barber solo block pushed the LBSU lead to two at 22-20. Loyola Marymount tied the set at 22, but two straight Barber kills and a Hudson dump finished of a 25-22 comeback win.
Long Beach State’s momentum carried over to the early part of the fourth set, as the 49ers took a 5-1 lead. After an LMU timeout, the Lions were able to pull within one at 5-4, and a Nicky Kevorken kill tied the set at 8-8. A missed call turned the tide for the Lions, who took an 11-8 lead after a Barber block was called out.
The 49ers rallied from the setback though, eventually taking a 17-15 lead over the Lions on a rotation error. LMU answered right back, scoring three points to take an 18-17 lead, and had match point after a Lea kill at 24-22. A Barber kill tied the set at 24, and the 49ers found the junior again to take the lead 25-24, setting up the first set point for the Beach, who converted with a Wilson/Murray block to win the set 26-24.
LMU took a 2-0 lead in the fifth, but Long Beach State recovered to take a 5-4 lead after catching Lions setter Hannah Tedrow out with a back row attack. Riding their momentum, a Grahovac block helped put the 49ers on top 7-4, and a rotation error from LMU gave the Beach an 8-4 lead at the switch. With the 49ers leading 12-5 after a Hudson kill, LMU scrapped back into the match, pulling within one at 13-12 before a Barber kill stemmed the tide. A block from Wilson and Murray finished off match point, and LBSU capped the three-set comeback.
The Beach will return to the friendly confines of the Walter Pyramid for the rest of the tournament, hosting four matches in total and playing in three. For LBSU’s schedule, the first contest will be Friday at 5 p.m. against Oakland, with two matches coming on Saturday as the 49ers host Stony Brook at 11 a.m. before playing Central Arkansas at 8 p.m.
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