Oct. 29, 2012
Long Beach, Calif. -
The 49ers travel north for their next-to-last road trip of the season as Long Beach State plays at Pacific and UC Davis this weekend. First up is a Friday night contest against the Tigers at 7 p.m., and then the 49ers face the Aggies on Saturday at 7 p.m. Live audio streaming of both matches will be provided through www.longbeachstate.com.
The Big Stage
Long Beach State played in front of their largest crowd since 2004, (2,466) and a national television audience last Friday, and took the first set from the No. 9 Rainbow Wahine behind a huge set from freshman Alex Reid, who had eight kills in the first one the way to a career-high 20 kills. Hawaii's Emily Hartong answered with 33 kills of her own however, helping push the Rainbow Wahine past the 49ers 24-26, 34-32, 26-24, 25-22 in a thrilling four-set match. The next night, Long Beach State lost the first two set against Cal State Northridge, but won the next two before ultimately losing the fifth set 15-12 in a tough loss.
Before last weekend, the 49ers were a perfect 11-0 in matches that they hit over .200; then LBSU lost to Hawaii while hitting .244 and amazingly lost to Cal State Northridge while hitting .314 as a team while holding the Matadors under .200 hitting on the match. In the CSUN match, Long Beach State had more kills, more assists, more blocks, and more digs while hitting .115 points higher, but lost three close sets while taking two with wider margins to account for the differences, along with a surprising 12 service errors which hurt the 49ers cause.
Sophomore Chisom Okpala has responded to an increased role for the 49ers in the Big West season after joining the starting lineup at the start of the year. Through 11 Big West matches, Okpala is leading the 49ers with 3.12 kills per set, and her .375 is second-best in the conference, just behind Hawaii's Jade Vorster, who is hitting .386. Additionally, Okpala ranks third in the conference's top 10 in blocking in Big West matches at 1.29 blocks per set.
Pacific begins the week one game behind the 49ers at 5-6 in the Big West, but the Tigers are 17-7 overall. The Tigers scuffled without starting setter Hannah Clancy, losing four of five Big West matches at one point, but the senior has returned, putting up 42 and 50 assists respectively in Pacific's last two matches, a split of two five-set matches. The Tigers have gone five in their last five matches, and have gone the distance ten times in all during 2012. Clancy has led the Tigers to .220 hitting on the season, tied for second in the Big West with the 49ers.
Long Beach State vs. the Tigers
The 49ers lead a long series over the Tigers 38-26, and have won six straight against Pacific, including the last meeting on Oct. 6, when Delainey Aigner-Swesey led the 49ers to a sweep with eight kills and 19 digs. The Tigers have been much tougher in the Spanos Center, with Long Beach State holding a one-game 15-14 all-time edge. Long Beach State has won two straight matches in Stockton, however, including last year behind a double-double from senior Caitlin Ledoux.
Scouting UC Davis
Senior outside hitter Allison Whitson leads the Aggies with 3.67 kills per set, a mark that stands sixth among hitters in the Big West. Alongside Whitson, middle blocker Victoria Lee is among the Big West leaders in both hitting percentage and blocking, hitting .313 and making 1.22 blocks per set. The Aggies, same as the 49ers, come into the week .500 overall and 6-5 in the Big West.
Long Beach State vs. the Aggies
Long Beach State has never lost to UC Davis in 15 meetings, though both of the last two meetings have gone to four sets. Additionally, the 49ers have prevailed twice in five sets in Davis, most recently in 2010. In the earlier meeting this season, Tara Roenicke led a balanced attack that saw three 49ers with double-digit kills and five with double-digit digs in a 19-25, 25-19, 25-22, 25-19 win in the Waltr Pyramid on Oct. 5.
Junior setter Tara Roenicke and senior outside hitter Janisa Johnson each posted double-doubles last week in a continuing trend. Roenicke came away with 45 assists and 10 digs against Hawaii and now has 11 double-doubles on the season, recording one in half of the 49ers' games. Johnson reached her ninth double-double of the season, putting up 14 kills and 24 digs against the Rainbow Wahine before making a second double-double the following night against the Matadors with 22 kills and 14 digs. Junior Delainey Aigner-Swesey also had four double-doubles during 2012.
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