Long Beach State Back on Track, Sweeps UC Davis
Nele Barber had 18 kills and YiZhi Xue hit .692 in a 3-0 win over UC Davis.
Oct. 29, 2016
Long Beach, Calif. - -- It was an impressive bounce-back performance from Long Beach State (15-8, 9-1 Big West) on Saturday night, as the Beach took it to visiting UC Davis (12-11, 5-5 Big West) in a 25-19, 25-11, 25-23 sweep at Walter Pyramid. After falling in five sets to UC Irvine the night before, the Beach played well on Saturday, outhitting the Aggies .351 to .105.
Freshman YiZhi Xue had nine kills on 13 swings with no errors for a .692 hitting percentage, plus added a team-best five blocks. Nele Barber led the match with 18 kills and added eight digs. Missy Owens dished out 35 assists and recorded three aces. Freshman Kjersti Norveel got her first career start for the Beach and has three kills on six swings.
The Beach looked strong out of the gate, holding UC Davis to .091 hitting to win set one going away. LBSU led 13-6 when Barber crushed an overpass, forcing a Davis timeout. The Aggies tied the set at 16-all thanks to a 9-1 run, but the 49ers got back in control thanks, in part, to a pair of newcomers. An ace from Kobi Pekich put Long Beach up 20-18, then Xue delivered back-to-back blocks for a four point lead. Rachel Nieto delivered an accidental kill on a dig that made its way over the net, and a big spike from Xue ended a 6-0 LBSU run.
Pekich and Nieto were added to the roster earlier in the week, with Pekich seeing her first playing time for Long Beach State in this match. Both players are also members of the LBSU beach volleyball team.
LBSU kept the momentum going in the second set, starting out on a 6-0 run to force an early timeout from the Aggies. The Beach didn't relent, racing out to a 14-3 advantage, then leading 22-8 on a 6-0 run that included a pair of aces from Owens. LBSU scored the final three points of the set to take a dominant 25-11 win, outhitting UC Davis .462 to -.080.
Things were much closer in the third game, but the Beach was able to pull it out by winning the final two points to break a 23-23 tie, closing out with a kill from Xue. LBSU led 14-7 in the set on Ashley Murray's solo roof, but the Aggies didn't go quietly in forcing the late tie. Barber was stellar in the third, recording half of her 18 kills in the third set alone.
The Beach is back in action quickly next week, hosting Cal State Fullerton on Tuesday at 7 p.m. That sets up the biggest match on the schedule for Long Beach State: a trip to Hawai'i for a rematch with the Rainbow Wahine next Friday.
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