Beach Rallies to Beat CSUN on Senior Night
Long Beach State closed the 2017 season on a high note, securing a 21-25, 25-22, 25-21, 25-21 win to finish the year on a three-match winning streak.
LONG BEACH, Calif. - The Beach was able to close the 2017 season strong, battling back for a 21-25, 25-22, 25-21, 25-21 victory over CSUN (12-15, 6-9 Big West) on Saturday night at Walter Pyramid. Long Beach State closes the year on a three-match winning streak, winning its final four home matches. With the victory, LBSU improves to 10-19 and 7-9 in Big West play.
Seniors Rachel Nieto and Alexis Patterson were both in tonight's starting lineup, with Nieto recording a team-high 16 digs to go with five assists and an ace. Patterson, who has missed the last two matches with injury, was subbed out prior to the first point of the match.
LBSU's top performer was sophomore Hailey Harward, who led the team with 15 kills on .438 hitting, committing just one hitting error on 32 swings. She also added eight digs and a pair of aces and was in on five blocks, with three coming as solo roofs. Megan Kruidhof added 11 kills, and freshman Mina Andjelkovic had a nice night at setter, dishing out 34 assists while recording five kills, eight digs and a pair of aces.
The Matadors started the match hot and held on to win the opening set. CSUN jumped out to an 11-3 lead before the Beach could right the ship. LBSU went on a 7-2 run to pull within 13-10, and kept the set within a couple points from thereon out. The Beach got within two points late at 21-19, but couldn't get any closer. Harward had six kills on eight swings (.750 hitting) in the opening set, but couldn't get the Beach over the top as the visitors took the 1-0 lead.
Long Beach State answered back in a very even set two. The teams tied eight times and there were three lead changes, but LBSU eventually pulled away to even the match at one set apiece. A key 4-0 run for the Beach capped off by a solo roof from Harward put LBSU on top 13-11 and forced a CSUN timeout. A 3-0 run from LBSU broke a tie to give LBSU a 19-16 lead it would never relinquish. Even when CSUN pulled within a point at 21-20, three consecutive errors by the Matadors put the Beach back in control.
It looked like Long Beach State was set to cruise in the third set, taking a 9-7 lead with the help of three CSUN service errors, then going up 13-9 to force a Matadors timeout. The Beach got back-to-back Harward aces out of the timeout to go up 15-9, and would eventually lead 22-11 after an impressive 12-2 run. CSUN didn't go quietly, however, answering with a 13-2 run to make it a 24-21 score late in the set. Harward was there to dash any thoughts of a comeback with a huge solo roof on set point to put the Beach up 2-1 in the match. LBSU hit .400 in set three and withstood 10 kills from CSUN's Aeryn Owens, who matched her career high with 30 kills in the match.
The Beach was able to close out the match in the fourth thanks to a balanced offensive approach and a staunch block. Five different players recorded exactly two kills in the fourth, and as a team, LBSU put up seven total blocks in the set. The Beach also recorded four aces in the fourth to pull out a win. The teams were very close, tying at every point from 6-15, before CSUN went up by three, 18-15, with a 4-0 run. The Beach responded with a 4-0 run of its own to lead 19-18, then took a 23-19 lead as it became an 8-1 Long Beach run. The Beach ended the match with a block from Harward and Emma Kirst to send the seniors out with a win.
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