Oct. 13, 2012
Fullerton, Calif. - Senior Janisa Johnson made 14 digs against Cal State Fullerton, passing the 1,000 dig milestone in the bright spot of a 28-26, 16-25, 25-11, 25-16 loss to the Titans on the road in Fullerton Saturday night. Johnson is the 11th player in LBSU history to reach 1,000 career digs, and just the fifth outside hitter, joining four All-Americans.
Sophomore Chisom Okpala led the 49ers with 14 kills, but an early injury to setter Tara Roenicke forced Long Beach State (10-9, 5-3) into additional changes throughout the night. Roenicke was able to push through as the only remaining setter on the roster, but was limited and a third-set adjustment by the Titans led Cal State Fullerton (10-10, 4-3) to the victory behind senior Kayla Neto who had 17 kills and 22 digs on the night. The loss also snapped the unprecedented 54 match, 30-year win streak for Long Beach State against the Titans.
Long Beach State took a 5-4 lead on a kill by Johnson, but the injury to Roenicke forced the 49ers to take an early timeout, and the Titans rallied to take a 13-10 lead while the 49ers adjusted. Long Beach State eventually pulled even with a kill by Johnson at 17-17, but the Titans held onto the lead and grabbed a 23-20 advantage after a pair of disputed touch calls. Long Beach State bounced back with four straight point to take a 24-23 lead, but the Titans held off two more set points for the 49ers and after a kill by Neto made the score 27-26, a block by Leah Best and Kaylynne Taeatafa gave Cal State Fullerton a 28-26 set one win.
Long Beach State opened up an early lead in the second set against the Titans, moving out to an 8-3 lead after three consecutive blocks, the third coming from Okpala and Johnson. Leading 11-4 after an overpass kill by Okpala, Long Beach State made a second big push to take a 17-6 lead on a kill by Bre Mackie, and the 49ers won the second set 25-16.
In the third set, an ace by Gabi Dewberry followed by an overpass kill by Holland Crenshaw gave the Titans a 7-2 lead. Long Beach State pulled to within one at 10-9, but Cal State Fullerton would catch the 49ers in back-to-back bad rotations, scoring 13 of the next 14 points on the way to a 25-11 third set blowout behind .419 hitting.
Capitalizing on their momentum, Cal State Fullerton opened up an 18-4 lead in the third set, and eventually led 22-5 before a 49ers sideout. Behind Johnson's serving, Long Beach State fought back for nine straight points to cut the advantage to 22-14, but the hole was too deep for the 49ers and the Titans took the win 25-16.
With 1,004 career digs after Saturday night's contest, Johnson joins All-Americans Tara Cross, Antoinnette White, Nichelle Burton, and Christine Romero as the only outside hitters to reach 1,000 digs in their careers at Long Beach State.
Long Beach State finishes this current road stretch next weekend, when the 49ers play their travel partner, UC Irvine, on the road at 7 p.m. on October 20 in the Bren Events Center.
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