Oct. 22, 2013
Just a single Saturday match is on tap this week for Long Beach State, but its a big one. The Black And Blue Rivalry Series comes into Walter Pyramid as the Beach welcomes UC Irvine on Saturday at 7 p.m. Both teams will be looking to continue the momentum from back-to-back wins last weekend.
Calling All Junior 49ers
Long Beach State extends a special invitation to all Junior 49ers to Saturday's Black And Blue Rivalry Series matchup. Junior 49ers are encouraged to bring a friend free of charge to Saturday's match.
Last Time Out
The Beach extended its win streak to three matches with a dramatic, five-set victory on Friday and a not-so-dramatic sweep on Saturday. Cal State Fullerton almost made history after capturing the first two sets on Friday in Walter Pyramid. However, the Titans pursuit of their first-ever win in the Pyramid came to a screeching halt as the 49ers turned the tables and won the next three sets for a thrilling 3-2 win. The momentum of the big win carried into Saturday as the Beach quickly swept through UC Riverside.
Scouting UC Irvine
UC Irvine makes its way to Long Beach after bucking a six-match slide - its longest of the year. The Anteaters won the match of winless Big West teams with a 3-1 victory over UC Riverside on Friday and then defeated a heartbroken Cal State Fullerton team on Saturday. With the two wins, UCI climbed back over .500 to 11-10 overall and improved to 2-5 in Big West play. A two-headed attack is led by senior Aly Squires with a 257 kills on the year and sophomore Marisa Bubica with 253 kills Sannon Fleming is the top-blocker in the conference with 1.16 blocks per set. The Anteaters are also the top serving team with 124 aces on the year (1.51 per set).
The Black And Blue Rivalry Series Volleyball Edition
Long Beach State leads the all-time series with UCI 64-8. The Beach has won the last seven straight and 15 of the last 17 contests. The Anteaters last win came in Irvine in 2009 and the Anteaters last win in the Pyramid dates all the way back to 2003. In the past three seasons, UCI has only managed to take a combined two sets off the Beach.
Black And Blue Rivalry Series Update
Long Beach State took a three-point lead in the series with a 2-1 wmoen's soccer win on the road last week. The men's water polo team faces UCI on Thursday at home before the two schools meet on the volleyball court on Saturday. A road win is worth three points and a home win is worth two points in the series tally.
Aigner-Swesey Fuels Comeback
Senior outside hitter Delainey Aigner-Swesey had a big weekend at the net to lead the 49ers. She powered the Beach to the comeback win on Friday with a season-high 25 kills and seven block assists. The senior hit .269 in the contest and added 11 digs for her 10th double-double of the season. The 25-kill performance was also the second-highest output of her career and just her third 20+ kill performance. It was also the second-highest kill tally in the Big West this season. On Saturday, she tallied eight more kills and six more total blocks.
Season-Best Win Streak
Long Beach State is out on a three-match win streak to equal their longest win streak of the season. The Beach also had a string of three wins from Sep. 12-14 with wins over Loyola Marymount, College of Charleston and Seattle U. A win Saturday would be the longest since the Beach's seven-match win streak to end last season. That streak reached eight when the 49ers beat Illinois in the 2013-opener.
Juley Climbing The Record Book, Approaches Milestone
Sophomore Erin Juley set her way into the Long Beach State record book this year as one of the Beach's top setters of all-time. A top-10 list that is topped by Sheri Sanders and includes the likes of two-time national Player of the Year Misty May now includes Juley as well. With 804 assists this season, Juley's career total is up to 1,964 assists. That number ranks ninth all-time ahead of Joy McKienzie (1,743 assists from 1990-93) and behind Ashley Lee (2,437 assists from 2007-10). Juley will likely become the ninth member of the Beach's 2k assist club if UCI and the Beach go into a fourth set on Saturday or if she has a big night in a sweep.
No Longer Dreading Five
The fifth set seemed to come knocking all too often early in the in the 2013 season. The 49ers found themselves playing the maximum number of sets in six of their first 12 contests. However, the result was more often cruel than kind. The Beach went just 1-5 in those nonconference matches that reached a fifth set. The Big West has been a different story. The fifth set has become more rare and much more kind. Only two of the 49ers seven Big West matches have gone to five and the Beach has been victorious in both. The Beach pulled out the 3-2 win at UC Santa Barbara to open Big West play and completed its largest comeback this year with the 3-2 win over Cal State Fullerton. Last week's five-set win marked the first time this season the Beach came back from a 2-0 hole to win. The last time the beach did that was Nov. 23, 2012 at UC Santa Barbara.
Back to the Block
The play at the net has been a key component for the Beach this season. The 49ers have recorded double digit blocks as a team in 13 of their 20 matches this year. On Saturday, the Beach stifled the Highlanders attack with 13 blocks in the three-setter and held the visiting team to a negative hitting percentage. It was the higest number of total blocks by a Big West team in a three-set match this season. The 49ers 15 blocks in the win over UC Davis is tied for the most in a four-set match in the Big West and their 17 blocks against San Francisco are tied for the most in a five-set match. On the season, the Beach has 30 more blocks than its opponents with 209 total blocks. The Beach average of 2.61 blocks per set tops the Big West and ranks 38th in the nation.
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