Sept. 21, 2012
Long Beach, Calif. - Long Beach State returned home to open Big West play, and hit .345 in the friendly confines of the Walter Pyramid on the way to a 25-17, 23-25, 25-21, 25-14 victory over Cal Poly Friday night.
The 49ers middle blockers led the way, as sophomore Alma Serna made her 2012 debut in the Walter Pyramid a special one, leading the 49ers with a career high 16 kills on .448 hitting, while LBSU's other middle, Chisom Okpala, also finished with double-digit kills, making 11 kills on .500 hitting.
Junior Tara Roenicke had a double-double for Long Beach State with 11 digs and 45 assists along with five kills, guiding a 49er attack that finished with 64 kills total and seven different players with five or more kills on the night.
The 49ers stormed out to an early lead in set one, taking a 5-1 lead before a Cal Poly timeout, and holding onto that edge until the 49ers took a 12-7 on a kill from Okpala. Long Beach State pushed the score to 20-13, and eventually finished the first set with a 25-17 victory, hitting .571 in the set.
As dominant as the 49ers were in the first set, Long Beach State never led in the second. Falling behind early, the 49ers tied the set at 9-9 on a Delainey Aigner-Swesey kill, one of seven ties, the last coming at 14-14. The Mustangs made a push to 16-14 after a block by Maddie Kuber and Megan McConnell, and then scored seven straight points to take a 23-15 lead behind a pair of McConnell aces and an overpass kill by Kuber. The 49ers made a furious rally though, after getting the sideout at 23-17, Long Beach State pushed a pair of points, and held off five set points to get the score to 24-23 on a kill from Janisa Johnson. A pancake dig by Bre Mackie was ruled down, however, and the 49ers fell 25-23 in the second set.
In the closest set of the night, Long Beach State and Cal Poly traded 11 leads in the third set as neither side established control until the end of the set. With Cal Poly leading 19-18 after a block from McConnell and Hannah Schleis, The 49ers answered back with two points to take the lead at 20-19 on a kill from Aigner-Swesey, and pushed out to 22-19 following an error by Kuber. With a one-point lead at 22-21, the 49ers found Alex Reid for a kill and a block and a kill by Johnson ended the set with a 25-21 win.
A Johnson kill gave the 49ers a 5-2 lead in set four, but the Mustangs rallied to take the lead at 8-7. Long Beach State quickly recovered, however, taking a 12-9 lead on a pair of Schleis errors, and pushing the lead clear out to 16-9 behind an ace from Roenicke and a pair of kills. With that big lead, the 49ers cruised to finish the match 25-14, as Reid made four kills in the set to lead Long Beach State.
Long Beach State returns to the Walter Pyramid on Saturday, when they will continue Big West play by hosting UC Santa Barbara at 7 p.m.
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