49ers rally falls just short in five set loss to Cal State Northridge
Janisa Johnson and Chisom Okpala each reach 20 kills for Long Beach State.
Oct. 27, 2012
Long Beach, Calif. - After dropping the first two sets, the 49ers rallied to force a fifth set at home behind huge efforts from Janisa Johnson and Chisom Okpala, but the Matadors took the fifth set as Long Beach State fell 25-22, 25-23, 19-25, 15-25, 15-12 on Saturday night.
Okpala finished with a career high 20 kills and six blocks, while Johnson led Long Beach State (11-11, 6-5) with 22 kills and made 14 digs, but the pair ultimately fell short on the night despite the 49ers outhitting Cal State Northridge (16-8, 7-5) .314 to .199.
In the first, the 49ers took an early 5-2 lead, but Cal State Northridge scored six straight points to take an 8-5 lead, and eventually scored 14 of the next 15 points to take a 16-6 lead. With the Matadors leading 19-7, Long Beach State made a push to cut the lead to 21-12, and with a solo block by Janisa Johnson, the 49ers cut the lead to 23-20. One more CSUN error brought the lead to 23-21, but the 49ers were called for a net violation on the next point, and eventually lost the set 25-22.
An ace by Cindy Ortiz gave the Matadors a 9-5 lead in the second set, and another ace put Cal State Northridge up by six at 14-8. Trailing 17-12, the 49ers made another rally, tying the set at 18 on a kill by Chisom Okpala. Long Beach State took the lead for the first time since 1-0 at 20-19, and kill by Roenicke gave the 49ers a 21-19 lead. The Matadors tied the set at 21-21, and while the 49ers took a 23-22 lead on an error by Monica McFarland. Cal State Northridge scored the final three points of the set to take the set 25-23.
Long Beach State opened up the third set with two Johnson kills, and Okpala eventually gave the 49ers a 5-1 lead. The Matadors tied the set at 6-6, and took the lead at 9-8 on a dump by Sydney Gedryn. Johnson gave the 49ers the lead again at 12-11, and the 49ers would eventually open up a 16-11 lead following a block by Tiara Wallace and Okpala. An Alia Casino ace cut the LBSU lead to two, but Long Beach State again pushed out to a five-point lead, and Johnson's 11th kill of the set gave the 49ers a 25-19 win.
After a close start, Cieana Stinson gave the Matadors a 10-8 lead, but the 49ers rallied to take the lead at 11-10 and never looked back. A kill by Johnson pushed the Long Beach State lead to 15-11, and back-to-back blocks out of a Northridge timeout gave the 49ers a 19-11 lead. The fifth block of the set, this time coming from Bre Makie and Wallace finished the fourth 25-15 in favor of the 49ers.
A Janisa Johnson kill put the 49ers up 2-1 early, but the Matadors recovered and took a 4-3 lead, and an error by the 49ers gave CSUN a two-point lead at 7-5. The 49ers fought back to tie the set at 8-8, but the Matadors took their largest lead on a kill by Gedryn at 12-9. An ace by Libby Fontanilla brought the 49ers back to within one at 12-11, but a final dump by Gedryn gave the Matadors a 14-12 lead, and CSUN finished off the set 15-12.
Long Beach State returns to the road for two games next week, traveling to Pacific and UC Davis. The weekend will start with a 7 p.m. date in Stockton, Calif. against the Tigers.
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