Oct. 14, 2013
The 49ers are back in Walter Pyramid this week for a pair of Big West matches. Cal State Fullerton makes the short trip to the Pyramid on Friday at 7 p.m., followed by a visit from UC Riverside on Saturday at 7 p.m. Long Beach State welcomes all faculty and staff to attend Friday's match for free for Faculty & Staff Appreciation Night.
Last Time Out
Last week brought a split result for the Beach but saw a modest three-match skid come to a halt. The Beach dropped a tough four-setter at Cal State Northridge despite a career-best night for Joy Miley with 13 kills. The trp up to UC Davis featured another four-set match but the result was flipped as the Bech came out on top. Fifteeen team blocks and career-nights in the back row from Tyler Jackson and Delainey Aigner-Swesey led the comeback win for the Beach.
Cal State Fullerton comes in at 2-2 in the Big West and 9-7 overall. Junior setter Julie Consani is having a great season thus far, leading the conference with 10.93 assists per set. The Big West's digs leader is also a mainstay in the Titan's back row with freshman McKenna Painton averaging 4.61 digs per set. Alyse Henley and Bre Moreland equally shoulder the load on the attack.
Long Beach State vs. the Titans
Long Beach State has dominated the all-time series with the Big West rivals from Fullerton. The 49ers lead the all-time series 82-5. One of those five losses came last year in Fullerton when the Titans defeated the Beach in four sets. However, Long Beach State returned the favor weeks later when they defeated the Titans in four in Walter Pyramid.
Scouting UC Riverside
UC Riverside has struggled to a 1-15 overall record this year and an 0-4 start to the Big West schedule. The Highlanders lone win came on Sep. 14 against Winthrop in four sets but they have lost seven in a row since then. Christina Maietta leads the attack ith 144 kills this year and Ashley Cox has tallied 134 kills. Maddie Hubbell has 209 digs to lead the squad in the back row.
Long Beach State vs. the Highlanders
Long Beach State boasts a 36-4 record against UC Riverside all-time, giving the Beach a 121-9 combined record against this weekend's opponents. The 49ers won both matchups last year, defeating the Highlanders in four sets in Riverside and in a sweep at home.
Outside hitters Delainey Aigner-Swesey and Alex Reid are among the top-5 in the Big West in scoring this year. Aigner-Swesey ranks third in the conference with 3.7 points per set while Reid ranks fifth with 3.55 points per set. The 49ers are the only team in the Big West to have two players ranking in the top-5 in the category.
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 225 kills through 16 matches, and will need to put away 226 more this season to reach the mark and become the 17th 49er to record that many kills.
Long Beach State continues to lead the Big West in blocking during the 2013 campaign, averaging 2.60 per set. The 49ers' 2.60 average also ranks 43rd nationally. Chisom Okpala leads the 49ers, averaging 1.11 blocks per set this season, which is also best in the Big West. Just behind her is Joy Miley, averaging 1.04 blocks per set, while junior Haleigh Hampton is also averaging over a block per set at 1.26 in limited action. The 49ers blocked 15 attacks in Saturday's win over UC Davis, giving them their third match with at least 15 blocks as a team.
Career Nights Behind The 10-Foot Line
A couple of career-best performances in the back row kept the ball off the floor and helped Long Beach State a streak-busting win at UC Davis. Libero Tyler Jackson had 28 digs in the match while Delainey Aigner-Swesey added in 25 digs in the winning effort. The duo accounted for well-over half of 49ers' 91 digs in the match. Erin Juley also had three aces behind the service line to match her career-high.
A Force At The Net
Haleigh Hampton has already climbed into the 49ers all-time top-10 for total blocks and she is showing no signs of slowing that climb. She had a season-best nine block assists against UC Davis - just one off her career-best. The nine blocks have her knocking on the door of block No. 400. She has stuffed 395 attacks in her career, which ranks ninth all-time.
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 168 this season, and ranks among the Big West leaders in both hitting percentage and blocking. Okpala's .339 hitting percentage is fourth in the Big West, while her 1.11 blocks per set ranks as the best in the conference.
This And That
In the second edition of the official NCAA RPI, the 49ers entered into the top-100 at No. 99 ... 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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