Sep 3, 2013
The 49ers return to action this weekend with team's lone trip out of the greater Los Angeles area in the non-conference schedule, heading to San Francisco for three matches in the Bay Area Challenge. Long Beach State will play three matches, opening up against Air Force on Friday, Sept. 7 at 1 p.m. The 49ers will then play the host USF Dons that evening at 6:30 p.m., and close out the weekend with a match against Miami on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Long Beach State opened up the 2013 season by hosting three top teams in the nation in Kentucky, Florida State and Illinois in the Mizuno Invitational. The 49ers picked up a crucial win to open the season, toppling No. 18 Illinois 3-1, but lost to No. 15 Florida State in five sets and No. 21 Kentucky in three, finishing the weekend 1-2 but with one very promising result on the weekend. Delainey Aigner-Swesey led the team with 3.5 kills per set on .265 hitting, while Alex Reid averaged three kills per set on .264 hitting as the outside hitters had a strong weekend overall. Additionally, middle blocker Chisom Okpala hit .408 and added 25 kills on the week.
Senior Delainey Aigner-Swesey was named to the Mizuno Invitational All-Tournament team following the conclusion of the weekend, which featured four teams receiving votes in the Top 25 poll. Aigner-Swesey led the 49ers with 15 kills and 13 digs in the team's win over Illinois, and then posted a season high 17 kills against Florida State before extending her double-digit kills streak with 10 against Kentucky. Aigner-Swesey led the 49ers in kills in all three matches, and currently ranks second on the team with 25 digs. She also added six blocks and two aces in the first three matches of the season.
Scouting The Bay Area Challenge
After the glitz of the first tournament of the season, the Bay Area Challenge doesn't feature Top 25 teams, but does provide a test for the 49ers as Long Beach State continues the 2013 campaign. Air Force pushed UC Irvine to five sets in the second match of the season for the Falcons, and are led by Akokwe Clement, who has 39 kills in three matches. San Francisco is also 0-3, but returns to their home gym after hitting .279 as a team in their first three matches. Finally, Miami enters the weekend 2-0 with wins over Austin Peay and South Florida, led by Savannah Leaf, who had 22 kills against the Bulls.
Long Beach State vs. The Field
This weekend marks the first ever meeting between Long Beach State and both Air Force and Miami. The 49ers hold a 3-0 all-time series record lead over San Francisco, with the 49ers last facing the Dons in 2008, when the 49ers won in four sets 25-23, 25-19, 23-25, 25-21, as four 49ers finished with double-figure kills and setter Nicole Vargas had 45 assists, guiding the team to .207 hitting overall.
In The Polls
Despite only going 1-2 during the first weekend of play, the 49ers win over Illinois and strength of competition allowed Long Beach State to gain votes in the first regular season poll this week. Long Beach State received 79 points, three outside of the Top 25 in point total, while Illinois entered the poll at No. 18, giving the 49ers a win over a team in the Top 25 this season. The 49ers will face another team receiving votes in the poll this weekend in the final match of the Bay Area Challenge in Miami (Fla.) on Saturday.
Long Beach State women's volleyball has announced the addition of one additional player for the 2013 season, as middle blocker Haylee Roberts will join the team immediately. Roberts is a 6-2 freshman out of Liberty High School in Bakersfield, Calif. Roberts was a four-time all-area selection at Liberty High School, and was the Area MVP in her senior season with the Patriots, where she led the team with 404 kills on .478 hitting, while averaging 1.90 blocks per set.
Youth And Experience
In an apparent contradiction, Long Beach State features plenty of experience despite having just one senior, outside hitter Delainey Aigner-Swesey, and six freshman and 10 total underclassman. The 49ers have three players that have utilized their redshirt seasons however in Chelsea Cabrajac, Haleigh Hampton, and Erin Juley, and also welcome back two-year starters Bre Mackie and Tyler Jackson as well as All-American Chisom Okpala. That veteran core of players will help guide a talented group of newcomers, as the 49ers welcome in eight new players in 2013.
This And That
Long Beach State has had a First-Team All-Region selection in each of the last nine seasons ... 2013 marks the first time that two will return to play together in that run in Chisom Okpala and Haleigh Hampton ... Long Beach State honored eight members of the 1993 National Championship team during the team's annual alumni match on the 20th anniversary of that campaign, and presented rings to its 2013 Sand Volleyball championship team Aug. 31.
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