Oct. 18, 2013
LONG BEACH, Calif. - Things certainly turned in a hurry as the Long Beach State women's volleyball team turned a two-set deficit into a thrilling five-set win over visiting Cal State Fullerton. The Beach climbed back to .500 in Big West play, improving to 3-3 in the conference and 10-9 overall with the 20-25, 21-25, 25-13, 25-19, 15-13 win.
Delainey Aigner-Swesey had a season-high night with 25 kills, adding 11 digs and seven block assists in the winning effort. She hit .269 on the night with a career-high 67 attacks. In total, four 49ers in double digit kills with Chisom Okpala hitting 13, Alex Reid contributing 11 and Bre Mackie tallying 10. Erin Juley dished out a season-high 56 assists.
The 49ers dropped two sets convincingly as the Titans (9-8, 2-3 BWC) appeared to have the hosts number. The visitors hit over .300 in both sets and tallied four of their five blocks in the set. Alyse Hensley had 10 of her 15 kills in the first two sets and added 10 of her 20 digs in the opening sets as well.
The Titans dominated the match for two sets and never trailed in the second set as they cruised out to the big 2-0 lead in the match, looking for their first-ever win in Walter Pyramid.
Enter a revived Beach team.
Whatever was discussed in the break between the second and third set clearly worked as head coach Brian Gimmillaro had his team determined to turn the page. They did so immediately in the third set.
Before anyone blinked the Beach was up 7-0 in the third set and never let the Titans back into it. Aigner-Swesey had her second six-kill set of the night and Okpala added four in the set. Chelsea Cabrajac and Tyler Jackson combined for nine digs in the back. The Titans never came closer than four points as the Beach turned the tides and cruised to stay alive in the match.
The momentum of the big set three win carried over into the fourth. The Titans came out more competitive in the fourth set but couldn't stop the momentum that the Beach had built up. After falling into a 7-7 tie, the Beach finally put up a two-point lead and they would hold that lead for the rest of the set.
After Fullerton came back within one ant 11-10, the Beach rattled off a 7-1 run that put them way out in front, 18-11. Two of the Beach's three blocks in the set came during the run to help fuel the 49ers. Cal State Fullerton climbed back in it and the Beach was up just 19-16. However, Aigner-Swesey's attack from the back row rolled off the top tape and down for a kill to end the Fullerton run. A few points later the Beach had the match knotted up at 2-2.
The fifth set featured six ties and five lead changes as the teams battled back and forth. The Beach fell behind initially but Mackie pounded down back-to-back kills to tie the set at 2-2. Six of her 10 kills came in the last two sets and four came in the deciding fifth set.
The Beach jumped out in front 8-5 on another Aigner-Swesey kill and were up three points later on when Haleigh Hampton reached back and tapped a soft hit over the net for a kill. The Titans were not done and were still chasing history.
An ace from Hensley brought the Titans back within a point at 11-11 and Bre Moreland tied up the set at 12-12 with a kill. Mackie and Moreland traded kills and Gimmillaro called a quick timeout. The next Titan serve went into the net and Okpala and Aigner-Swesey teamed up for a block that sent the Beach's bench storming onto the floor with a big comeback victory.
Julie Consani had 56 assists for the Titans with 12 digs. Moreland turned in a big double-double with 18 kills and 25 digs while Hensley had 15 kills to go along with 20 digs. McKenna Painton dug up 22 balls as well.
Jackson and Cabrajac each ended the night with 18 digs to lead the Beach in the back row. The mark ties Cabrajac's career-high.
The Beach is back in Walter Pyramid tomorrow to host UC Irvine at 7 p.m. in more Big West women's volleyball action.
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