Freshmen lead Long Beach State past UC Irvine in final Big West match
Nov. 19, 2011
Long Beach, Calif. - A pair of first-year players came through for the 49ers on Saturday night, as Long Beach State closed out conference play with another win, defeating UC Irvine 19-25, 25-16, 25-15, 25-17. Bre Mackie tied a career-high with 15 kills on .560 hitting, and Alma Serna added 11 kills on .444 hitting to lead the 49ers.
Long Beach State (20-6, 14-2) has now won 12 straight matches after the victory over UC Irvine (10-18, 4-12). The 49ers hit .289 overall, but hit over .300 in all three sets they won after a slow start.
Another freshman, Erin Juley, finished with 47 assists in the four-setter, and a fourth first-year player, Tyler Jackson, added two aces and tied for the team lead in digs with 11 along with libero Lauren Minkel and outside hitter Caitlin Ledoux, who had a double-double with 10 kills and 11 digs.
In the first set, Long Beach State took a 10-7 lead after a kill from Mackie and an error from Aly Squires to take a 10-7. With the 49ers leading 13-10, UC Irvine finished off a five-point run with two straight blocks, giving the Eaters a 15-13 lead. A kill from Shaina Olsen put UC Irvine out in front by three at 17-14, and the Anteaters finished the set with a 25-20 win.
Trailing 3-1 early in the second, Long Beach State tied the set at four with a block by Erin Juley and Alma Serna which started a huge run. Coming out of a UC Irvine timeout leading 7-4, a Hampton ace continued the 49ers run, and Long Beach State scored four more points, including another ace and two kills from Serna on the way to a 12-4 lead in ten-point run. With that cushion, Long Beach State held on the rest of the way and evened the match with a 25-16 win.
Long Beach State opened set three up 6-2 after two Hampton kills. Taking a 14-9 lead on Mackie's tenth kill of the match, the 49ers put together another run. After a Juley dump and a kill from Delainey Aigner-Swesey, Tyler Jackson hit back-to-back aces to give the 49ers an 18-9 lead. With that advantage, the 49ers would finish off the set with a 25-15 win.
UC Irvine started the final set up 6-3 after a kill from Pauline Acres. The 49ers pulled back even with the Anteaters 6-6 on a Mackie kill, and then the freshman duo teamed up once more, as a block from Serna and Mackie put the 49ers on top 10-7. After the 49ers scrambled on a long rally to keep things alive, another Mackie kill gave the 49ers a five-point lead, and Long Beach State finished off the match with a 25-17 win.
With the win, the 49ers finish their Big West Conference championship run with a 14-2 record in league play. Long Beach State finishes the regular season with three matches next week, starting with Loyola Marymount at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, November 23. The 49ers will then play in the NCAA Tournament the following week, making their 25th consecutive appearance.