49ers rally falls just short in five set loss to Cal State Northridge
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.