Busy Week Ahead as Long Beach State Plays Three Road Matches
LBSU plays three times this week, visiting Cal State Fullerton (Tuesday), UC Santa Barbara (Friday), and Cal Poly (Saturday).
Tuesday, Oct. 17
Long Beach State at Cal State Fullerton
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Fullerton, Calif.
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Friday, Oct. 20
Long Beach State at UC Santa Barbara
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Santa Barbara, Calif.
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Saturday, Oct. 21
Long Beach State at No. 23 Cal Poly
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Location: San Luis Obispo, Calif.
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LAST TIME OUT
The Beach won the opening set against Hawai'i last Friday, but the visitors were able to leave Walter Pyramid with a 16-25, 25-16, 25-20, 25-22 victory, handing LBSU its third straight defeat.
Sophomore Hailey Harward traded in her libero jersey to make her second start of the season at outside hitter. Harward did well in her new role, recording 12 kills and 16 digs for her third career double-double.
Senior Rachel Nieto filled in at libero and posted career highs in digs (18) and aces (2) for the Beach. Megan Kruidhof led Long Beach State with 14 kills in the match and Emma Kirst had a season-best eight blocks, recording five in the first set alone.
SCOUTING THE TITANS
Cal State Fullerton will be looking for its first conference win as the first half of Big West play comes to an end on Tuesday night. The Titans took UC Davis to five sets in its last match, getting outlasted 18-16 in the fifth set on their home floor.
Junior OH Madeline Schneider leads CSF with 3.26 kills/set to go along wih 2.57 digs. She is coming off 26 kills on .371 hitting in the UC Davis loss over the weekend. Junior libero Cady Francis had a 30 digs against the Aggies and is averaging 3.00 digs/set on the season.
LBSU has won nine straight against the Titans, including a pair of sweeps last season. Long Beach State owns a 90-5 advantage in the all-time series, winning 68 of the last 69 meetings.
SCOUTING THE GAUCHOS
UCSB dropped four straight conference matches since starting 2-0 in Big West play. Lindsey Ruddins continues to lead the Gauchos with 5.40 kills/set, which leads the conference by a comfortable 0.65 kills per frame. Emilia Petrachi is tops in the conference with 5.09 digs/set.
LBSU swept UCSB at Walter Pyramid on Sept. 30, getting a career high 15 kills from Brooke Earkman in that match.
SCOUTING THE MUSTANGS
Cal Poly is the top team in the Big West, remaining unbeaten in conference and riding a 12-match winning streak. Remarkably, Cal Poly has played just two home matches prior to this weekend's action. Big West Player of the Week Adlee Van Winden averages 3.78 kills/set while her sister, Torrey, leads the team with 4.75 on .349 hitting. CP leads the Big West with a .308 team hitting percentage.
Cal Poly won 3-1 at LBSU on Sept. 29, but still trails the all-time series with the Beach 45-20.
A NEW ERA
For the first time in over three decades, there is a new head coach of the Long Beach State women's volleyball program. Former LBSU setter Joy McKienzie-Fuerbringer has returned to the Beach as head coach, and is joined by her husband, associate head coach Matt Fuerbringer on the new coaching staff.
McKienzie-Fuerbringer won a national championship with Long Beach State in 1993, then returned as an assistant coach following an overseas playing career. She has previous assistant coaching experience at UCLA, where she helped the Bruins to a national championship in 2011.
Fuerbringer was a terrific player at Stanford, where he was a four-time All-American and the career kills leader for the Cardinal. He went on to a professional career indoors and on the beach before spending the last four years coaching with the US Men's National Team. Included in that stretch was a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
Also new to the Beach is volunteer assistant coach Justine Wong-Orantes, who just completed a stellar career at Nebraska. Wong-Orantes was a two-time AVCA All-American libero for the Cornhuskers, starting all four years and winning a national championship in 2015.
Mike Campbell remains on the coaching staff for his fourth season as assistant coach while remaining the head coach of LBSU's beach volleyball squad.
The Big West Preseason Coaches Poll had Long Beach State slated for a third-place finish in 2017, behind defending champion Hawai'i and Cal Poly.
Each of the top three teams in the poll received a first-place vote, with Hawai'i leading the way with six, followed by two for Cal Poly and one for LBSU.
WATCH & LISTEN
All of Long Beach State's non-televised home matches will be streamed live online and free of charge on BigWest.TV.
Every LBSU match, home and away, can be heard live on KBeach Radio. Listen in at KBeach.org or via the free KBeach Radio app.
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