Hot-Hitting Long Beach State Sweeps Fullerton
The Beach hit .371 on Tuesday night in a 25-22, 25-19, 25-20 sweep at Cal State Fullerton.
FULLERTON, Calif. - Long Beach State (6-15, 3-5 Big West) enjoyed one of its best offensive nights of the season, posting a .371 hitting percentage in a 25-22, 25-19, 25-20 sweep of Cal State Fullerton (4-17, 0-8 Big West) on Tuesday night at Titan Gym. Four hitters had eight or more kills for the Beach and LBSU hit .300 or better in all three sets.
Redshirt junior Emma Kirst had eight kills on 10 swings to hit an outstanding .800 on the night. She also added an ace and a team-leading five blocks. Brooke Earkman was also on her game, totaling a team-high 13 kills with a .500 hitting percentage. Rachel Nieto started her second straight match at libero, recording a team-best 14 digs. Sophomore Hailey Harward was back at outside hitter, ending with eight kills and seven digs. Senior setter Alexis Patterson had a nice all-around night, posting 41 assists, nine digs, three kills, three blocks and two aces.
The Beach got things started by hitting .412 in the first set, led by Harward’s five kills. LBSU took an 11-7 lead on a kill then solo block from Xue, forcing the Titans to use a timeout. Long Beach led the rest of the set, despite Fullerton pulling within a point at 22-21. LBSU scored three of the final four points of the set to take the 1-0 lead in the match.
Earkman took over the second set, collecting six kills on just nine swings without an error to lead LBSU to a 25-19 win in the set. Fullerton led 8-7 in set two, but a 4-0 run capped by a Patterson ace gave Long Beach State the lead and forced a Titans timeout. LBSU kept the lead at two or more for the rest of the set, pulling away with a 5-1 run to close it out on an Earkman kill.
LBSU had to turn the tables in the third set as Fullerton charged out to a 7-3 advantage. Fortunately, a well-utilized timeout by head coach Joy McKienzie-Fuerbringer changed the momentum, sparking a 6-0 Beach run for a 9-7 lead. The Titans pulled within 20-19 late, but again the Beach closed well. The visitors went on a key 4-0 won and took five of the last six points to secure the sweep.
Long Beach State will remain on the road with a match at UC Santa Barbara on Friday at 7 p.m. before concluding the week’s action at Cal Poly on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
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