Beach Sweeps UC Davis in Conference Opener
LBSU put on one of its best performances of the season, earning a 25-15, 25-17, 25-21 win on the road at Davis.
Davis, Calif. - Conference play gave Long Beach State a chance at a fresh start on Thursday night at UC Davis, and the Beach responded with purpose. LBSU was in control throughout the night, only trailing briefly at the start of set three, en route to a 25-15, 25-17, 25-21 sweep. Long Beach State improves to 7-7 on the year and 1-0 in Big West play, while improving its all-time record against the Aggies to 24-0. UC Davis falls to the .500 mark at 7-7 and is 0-1 in conference.
LBSU had a strong night offensively, hitting .366 as a team with just seven hitting errors on the night. Nele Barber recorded her 10th double-double of the year with a match-high 14 kills plus 12 digs. Ashley Murray was a force in the middle, recording 13 kills on a season-best .600 hitting. On the right side, Anete Brinke had her best offensive night of the year, powering her way to 11 kills on a season-best .345 hitting plus eight digs. Starting libero Hailey Harward recorded a team-best 14 digs.
Freshman Ashley Anselmo made her 49er debut late in set one, and started the second set for the Beach. On the first point of the second set, Anselmo recorded a kill on the first swing of her college career. Unfortunately, she landed awkwardly on the play and was removed from the match with an injury.
The Beach looked impressive out of the gate, controlling set one to claim a 25-15 win. LBSU hit .343 in the opening frame, with a sideout percentage of 86. Barber had five kills in the set, and the Beach got off to a 5-1 lead early. UC Davis was only able to win two points on serve in the entire first set, allowing the 49ers to gradually pull away for a comfortable win.
LBSU led 9-3 in the second set and Davis was not able to get closer than four points the rest of the frame. Barber added six more kills in the second and YiZhi Xue recorded four of her five kills in set two.
Set three was the best of the night for UC Davis, but a .444 hitting percentage was enough to carry the Beach to a 25-21 win in the final game. Murray was unstoppable in the third, taking nine attempts, recording eight kills and no errors. Her .889 attack percentage in the third paced LBSU to sweep, getting Big West play off to a strong start.
Next up, the Beach will head to UC Irvine on Saturday for a 7 p.m. Black & Blue Rivalry showdown at the Bren Events Center.
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