Aug 30, 2013
Long Beach, Calif. - Long Beach State opened up the 2013 season in strong fashion, defeating Illinois 16-25, 25-19, 25-22, 25-17 in the final match of the first day of tournament action in the Walter Pyramid. Delainey Aigner-Swesey, Alex Reid, and Erin Juley each finished with double-doubles for the 49ers in a balanced effort.
Long Beach State (1-0) hit .226 overall for the match, as Juley handed out 46 assists to go with 12 digs on the night for her fourth career double-double. She was joined by the 49ers' pair of outside hitters, as Aigner-Swesey led the team in kills with 15, while both the senior and sophomore Alex Reid added 13 digs for Long Beach State.
Illinois (1-1) was led by Liz McMahon, who finished with 18 kills, while Jocelynn Birks added 14 for the Fighting Illini. The 49ers were able to hold Illinois to .177 hitting overall, in large part behind nine total blocks on the night, as Haleigh Hampton had six in her return to the floor to go with 11 kills.
Long Beach State got out to a slow start, falling behind 6-3 early, and trailing 12-7 to Illinois after a few service errors, which plagued the 49ers in the initial set. Illinois eventually pushed out to a 15-8 lead, and the 49ers settled down but never threatened the cushion in a 25-16 set one loss. Aigner-Swesey led the 49ers with six kills in the set.
Reid put down a kill to put the 49ers up 4-2 early in the second, which was quickly followed by another kill from Aigner-Swesey. Haleigh Hampton and Bre Mackie combined for the 49ers' first block of the set to give Long Beach State a 12-8 lead, and an ace from freshman Makayla Taylor was part of a run that put the 49ers up 16-10. Illinois cut the 49er lead to two points at 18-16, but the 49ers answered back with three straight of their own to lead 21-16, and took the second set 25-19 to even up the match.
Both teams battled throughout a close set three, with neither team gaining a three-point edge until the very end of the set. Trailing 21-18 after a 49ers timeout, Juley was able to put away a dump to get a sideout, and then a block by Reid and Hampton tied the set at 21-21, and a kill by Hampton gave the 49ers the lead. After a sideout by Hampton, a final block closed out a 25-22 win, the fifth of the set for the 49ers
Up 10-7 in the final set, Long Beach State put together a massive push, scoring eight straight points with Aigner-Swesey on serve to take a commanding lead, and finished off an impressive win by taking the final set 25-17.
In earlier action during the day at the Long Beach State Mizuno Invitational, Birks had 22 kills for the Fighting Illini in a 3-0 win over Florida State in the first match of the day, while the Seminoles rebounded for a 3-0 victory of their own against Kentucky. Olivera Medic had 10 kills and four blocks to lead Florida State.
Long Beach State continues in the Mizuno Invitational Saturday evening, hosting No. 18 Florida State at 7 p.m. in the Walter Pyramid, following the conclusion of the other match of the day featuring Kentucky and Illinois.
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