Beach Draws First Blood In Black & Blue Rivalry
No. 25 Long Beach State improves to 2-0 in Big West play with 3-1 win over UC Irvine.
Long Beach, Calif. - Nele Barber recorded her 12th double-double of the season with 20 kills and 13 digs, while Hayley Benson added 16 kills and seven blocks as the two upperclassmen led Long Beach State to a 3-1 win over UC Irvine Saturday in the first matchup in 2015-16 of the Black & Blue Rivalry.
No. 25 Long Beach State (12-3, 2-0 Big West) hit over .300 for the fourth time in 2015, as Jenelle Hudson guided the Beach to .312 hitting with 41 assists, five digs and five blocks on the night. The Beach also improved to 6-0 in 2015 when up two sets to one in the match.
Long Beach State took the first lead at 5-3 on a Barber overpass return, but UC Irvine (6-8, 0-2 Big West) bounced back, eventually taking an 11-10 lead. Hudson found Barber to tie the set at 13-13, and the 49er run continued until the Beach led 16-13, forcing an Anteater timeout. Strong serving kept the push going for the Beach, however, as overpass kills from Benson and Barber, along with an ace from Mykah Wilson put LBSU on top 20-13. Long Beach State went on to grab the first set 25-18.
Back-to-back errors from UCI helped Long Beach State take a 9-5 early, but the Anteaters would work their way back into the set, pulling within one at 13-12. Tied at 18-18, Long Beach State held onto the lead with a Benson kill, but UC Irvine eventually pushed out in front 22-21 on a kill from Marisa Bubica. While the 49ers held within one point until set point, a Barber error put UC Irvine over the top in a 25-23 set two win.
A Barber kill gave Long Beach State an early lead at 5-4, and then a Murray kill started a run for the Beach at 12-10. Carly Beddingfield put away an overpass to give the Beach a 14-10 lead, but UCI would tie the set at 15-15. Barber picked up a kill to keep Long Beach State in the lead, and a block from the junior and Benson pushed the lead to 18-15. A great Beddingfield tip increased the LBSU lead to 22-18, and the Beach held the rest of the way for a 25-21 win.
UC Irvine grabbed an early 4-2 lead in the fourth set, and despite LBSU grabbing a brief lead at 6-5 on back to back blocks, a 49er error gave UCI a 9-7 lead. With the Eaters leading 12-9, Long Beach State went on an 11-1 run to grab control of the set. An ace from Sarah Miller put the 49ers on top 13-12, and after a sideout at 15-13, Long Beach State scored five more points on a push to take a 20-13 lead on a kill from Barber. The Beach went on to take the set and the match with a 25-17 win.
The 49ers will face their first road test in conference play next week, traveling to Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara. The trip starts with a match against the Mustangs at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 2.
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