Sept. 17, 2013
Long Beach, Calif. -
Long Beach State opens up the week with the team's premiere non-conference game remaining on the schedule, hosting No. 11 UCLA at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, September 18. The 49ers will try to take down a ranked opponent in their third attempt this season and extend a three-match winning streak in the process.
Long Beach State Baden Classic
Following Long Beach State's Wednesday match with UCLA, the 49ers will play host to the team's second full tournament at home the 2013 Baden Classic, featuring CSU Bakersfield, Oregon State and Prairie View A&M. The Walter Pyramid will play host to four matches on Friday, beginning at 11 a.m. when the host 49ers play CSU Bakersfield. The Panthers and Beavers will continue the action at 1 p.m., and then Prairie View A&M and CSU Bakersfield face off in a second neutral match of the day. Friday's action then concludes at 7:30 p.m. when the 49ers play Oregon State. The tournament will then conclude at 7 p.m. on Saturday, when Long Beach State faces Prairie View A&M to complete matches against all three teams.
Back On Track
Long Beach State won three matches last week in convincing fashion, dropping only one set in three games. First, the 49ers traveled to Loyola Marymount, were Alex Reid pitched in a double-double in a 25-20, 25-13, 25-19 win, while Chisom Okpala hit .643 on the night with nine kills. The 49ers then won 3-1 over College of Charleston the next night, with three 49ers in double-figure kills, led by Delainey Aigner-Swesey who finished with 16 kills and 15 digs. Finally, the 49ers dominated Seattle on Saturday, hitting .373 and holding the Redhawks to .034 hitting on the other side in a 25-14, 25-13 25-13 victory.
UCLA enters the weekend with an 8-1 record, with the lone blemish coming in a 3-0 loss on the road at No. 9 Hawai'i. Ranked No. 11 in this week's poll, the Bruins are led by junior outside hitter Karsta Lowe, who is averaging 4.12 kills per set while hitting .439 on the season from an outside hitter position, while also averaging 0.84 blocks per set. The Bruins have swept four opponents, while winning in five sets once; against Cal State Northridge last weekend.
Long Beach State vs. the Bruins
UCLA leads the all-time series between the teams 58-24 in a matchup that dates back to 1966. The Bruins have won the last two meetings; a 3-1 victory two years ago in a tournament in Hawai'i as well as an NCAA Tournament matchup in 2008. In the 2011 match, Caitlin Ledoux had 18 kills to lead the 49ers. The last win for the 49ers came in 2008 at Titan Gym in another neutral site match, where the 49ers stunned the Bruins in a 3-0 sweep. The teams haven't met in Long Beach since the 2001 NCAA Tournament, where Long Beach State defeated the Bruins in three sets on their way to the national final.
Senior Delainey Aigner-Swesey will attempt to reach a significant milestone in 2013, as the outside hitter could reach 1,000 career kills at Long Beach State with a big season in 2013. The senior leads the 49ers with 131 kills through nine matches, and will need to put away 320 more this season to reach the mark and become the 17th 49er to record that many kills.
2012 Honorable Mention All-American Chisom Okpala is having an outstanding start to the 2013 season and is on track to receive the honor once more. The junior middle blocker is third on Long Beach State in kills with 76 this season, and ranks among the Big West leaders in both hitting percentage and blocking this season. Okpala's .375 hitting percentage is fifth in the Big West, while her 1.30 blocks per set leads the conference, as does her blocking total of 43 overall.
Outside hitter Delainey Aigner-Swesey finished Friday's match with 15 kills and 16 digs, and has now tallied five double-doubles in 2013 to lead Long Beach State, reaching the mark with kills and digs in over half of the team's matches. Just behind her is setter Erin Juley, who has three double-doubles during the 2013 campaign with assists and digs, while Aigner-Swesey's counterpart on the outside, sophomore Alex Reid, has added three double-doubles of her own this season, most recently at Loyola Marymount, where she led the team in both categories during a 3-0 sweep with 10 kills and 10 digs.
Scouting The Baden Classic
The Baden Classic will feature CSU Bakersfield, Prairie View A&M, and Oregon State as all three teams will face the 49ers. CSU Bakersfield enters the week with a 6-4 overall record after playing in three different road tournaments. Oregon State is 7-2, falling in two matches to Michigan and Michigan State, both ranked, but otherwise winning their other matches. The Beavers are led by Lila Toner, who is averaging 3.21 kills per set. Finally, Prairie View A&M (2-12)won their first match of the year against Southern but lost 12 matches in a row before picking up a win over Huston-Tillotson in their last time on the court.
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