Dec. 2, 2011
Long Beach, Calif. - Long Beach State tied a season-high with 18 total blocks, including 11 from Haleigh Hampton, but the 49ers were unable to withstand a huge night from Chloe Ferrari of San Diego, who had 18 kills on .424 hitting as the No. 20 Toreros defeated No. 23 Long Beach State 23-25, 26-24, 25-19, 25-21 in the only matchup between ranked teams in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Sophomore middle blocker Haleigh Hampton set a Long Beach State NCAA Tournament record with five solo blocks, which was also a career high, and tied the 49ers' posteason mark for total blocks with 11.
Senior Caitlin Ledoux finished with 16 kills to lead the 49ers in her final match, and finished her career with 1,589 kills, tying Cheryl Weaver for fifth in Long Beach State career kills.
"Obviously, we're extremely disappointed," said head coach Brian Gimmillaro. "This is a difficult loss for this team and our kids. We wanted a lot more out of this."
The 49ers came out hot early in the match, taking a 4-3 lead on a block from Hampton and Ledoux, and moving ahead 7-4 on a third block by Alma Serna and Erin Juley. Leading 12-7 after a solo block from Delainey Aigner-Swesey, San Diego came out of a timeout and cut the 49ers lead to two at 13-11 on a Carrie Baird ace. LBSU freshman Tyler Jackson answered back with an ace to put the 49ers in front 15-11. San Diego made one more late push, cutting the Long Beach State lead to one at 24-23 on an ace from Jianna Bonomi, but Bonomi closed out the set with a service error.
San Diego took the early lead in the second set, moving up 5-2, but Long Beach State answered back, and from an 11-11 tie, a huge transition kill from Hampton put the 49ers in front by two, and after a Janisa Johnson ace, another kill from Hampton put the 49ers on top 16-11. The Toreros pulled back in a rally that changed the tenor of the match. Long Beach State continued to hold on to the lead after a tie; up 21-20 on a Hampton kill and up 24-22 for set point. However, a block from Sandra Lozic gave the Toreros a sideout, and an ace along with an overpass kill capped a four-point run that handed San Diego the second set 26-24.
"I thought we came in really confident tonight, and we lost that [after the second set]," said Ledoux. "You can't do that against a good team like San Diego."
Gimmillaro concurred, saying "We controlled the emotion until the end of the second [set], and then it turned. When that happens, you have to play even better."
A kill from Ledoux gave Long Beach State a brief lead in the third set at 4-3, but a block from Ferrari and Lozic put San Diego on top 9-7, and the Toreros never again trailed. Baird picked up two important kills on Torero pushes, and San Diego capitalized on their momentum with a 25-19 set three win.
Long Beach State rebounded early in the fourth set. The 49ers took a quick 4-1 lead with a Hampton and Juley block, but an ace from Lozic cut the 49ers lead to one at 6-5. The 49ers held onto the lead with a Mackie kill, and the 49ers pushed out to a 12-8 lead with a block from Mackie and Hampton. The Toreros scored five straight points to retake the lead, coming on an ace from Rachel Alvey at 13-12. Long Beach State tied the set at 14-14 with a kill from Aigner-Swesey, but the Toreros pulled ahead once more 16-14 with a Ferrari kill, and held on to take the match with a 25-21 set.
Long Beach State finishes the 2011 season with a 23-7 overall record. Long Beach State is slated to return nearly the entire roster, including all starters other than Ledoux and senior libero Lauren Minkel, who led the 49ers with 15 digs in her final match.
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