Nov. 12, 2013
A three-match road swing begins this week for Long Beach State as it travels to UC Riverside on Friday and Cal State Fullerton on Saturday. After Saturday's heartbreaker at home, the Beach will look to rebound on the road against the three teams that currently make up the bottom of the conference standings.
Last Time Out
Long Beach State defeated a streaking UC Davis team came in on a three-match winning streak. The 49ers derailed the Aggies in four sets with Delainey Aigner-Swesey putting down a team-high 17 kills. The 49ers were on the verge of derailing conference leading Cal State Northridge with a 2-1 advantage but ended up falling in five sets to the 23rd ranked Matadors.
Scouting UC Riverside
The Highlanders have endured through a long season that has resulted in just one win thus far. UC Riverside sports a 1-22 record in 2013 and an 0-11 record in the Big West. Ashley Cox leads the squad with nearly three kills per set but is hitting .118 on the year. The Highlanders hit a .125 clip for the season while opponents are hitting .277 against them.
Scouting Cal State Fullerton
After going out to a 7-3 start to the season, the Titans have dropped 10 of their last 13 contests for a 10-13 overall record and a 3-8 record in the Big West. The Titans put an end to a season-long losing streak of six matches with a sweep of UC Riverside last weekend. The Titans hit .327 in that match with three players reaching double digit kills. One of those players was Alyse Hensley, who also leads the team with 3.17 kills per set this year. That mark ranks fourth in the Big West. The Titans collect the most digs per set than any other Big West team by a wide margin. They average over 18 per set led by a conference-leading 4.59 digs per set from Painton McKenna.
History With The Highlanders
Last time out the Beach put the pedal to the metal in a 25-15, 25-16, 25-8 sweep of UC Riverside. The Beach came away with 13 team blocks in the match to help fuel the quick sweep. The Beach has won the last four matches in a row and 19 out of the last 20 meetings between the two teams. The 49ers have also won the last eight sets consecutively.
History With The Titans
Both teams will be on the lookout for revenge when they meet on Saturday. Last time these two met the Beach came back from a 2-0 deficit to ward off what would have been a historic win for the Titans, who have never won in Walter Pyramid. Last time these two met in Fullerton, the Titans ended the 49ers 59-match win streak over CSUF that stretched all the way back to 1982.
Aigner-Swesey Eclipses 300
Senior Delainey Aigner-Swesey continued her career year last weekend and eclipsed 300 kills for the first time in her four years at the Beach. The senior from Wrightwood, Calif. wasted no time getting started with an astonishing 10 kills in the first set against UC Davis and ended the match with 17, giving her 301 for the season and 864 for her career. Her average of 3.39 kills per set ranks third in the Big West.
Juley Reaches One Milestone, Looks Toward Another
Sophomore Erin Juley set her way into the Long Beach State record book this year as one of the Beach's top distributors 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. Juley dished out her 2,000th assist in the first set at Hawai'i - only the ninth 49er to make that mark. On Friday, she will be going for her second 1,000-assist season She currently has 973 assists this year and 2,133 in her career to rank ninth all-time ahead of Joy McKienzie (1,743 assists from 1990-93) and behind Ashley Lee (2,437 assists from 2007-10). If Juley stays on her average of 10.14 assists per set (which ranks fifth in the Big West), she will record her 1,000th of the season sometime in the third set at UC Riverside on Friday.
Shaking Off The Travel Bug
The road has not been kind to the Beach this year. While the 49ers sport a 9-6 record in Walter Pyramid, they are 4-5 away from it. They are 2-3 on the road in Big West matches and have played all of the top-5 teams, excluding themselves, on the road already this season.
Keeping the Streak Alive
Brian Gimmillaro has shown tremendous success in the 29 years he has been at the helm of the women's volleyball program at Long Beach State, winning over 79 percent of the time. He has led the 49ers to winning seasons in 27 of his previous 28 seasons. With two road wins this week, the 49ers will clinch a .500 record or better for the 28th time under Gimmillaro's tenure. With a pair of wins in their final five matches, the 49ers will also secure their 27th consecutive winning season. That streak reaches all the way back to the 1987 season - only the third under Gimmillaro. His only season spent under .500 was 1986 when the 49ers finished 15-17.
Jackson Dig Count Nearing Four Digits
Junior Tyler Jackson is quickly closing in on 1,000 career digs - a number only 11 49ers in history can boast over. Jackson currently sits at 898 after tallying 36 last weekend. She surpassed 300 digs this season and is on pace for a career-high year. Her average is up to 3.26 per set this year.
Mackie On The Attack
Junior right side Bre Mackie is coming off one of her biggest weekends of the season. She tallied 25 kills last week and tied a season-high with 14 kills against UC Davis. She also hit .407 in that match. Against Cal State Northridge, Mackie tallied another season-high of six block assists. She also put down 11 kills in that match and dished out five assists. Another big weekend could put Mackie over 200 kills for the year. She currently sits at 179 kills and is averaging just over two per set.
2012 Honorable Mention All-American Chisom Okpala is having another outstanding season for the Beach. She ranks third in the Big West while hitting at a .345 clip for the year. Okpala's string of matches at .389 or better came to a close but the junior still slammed down double digit kills in both matches last week. She also contributed big-time to the blocking efforts of the Beach with 12 total blocks over both match. She had one solo and six block assists against Cal State Northridge a day after recording five block assists agains UC Davis. Okpala ran her season mark over 100 total blocks with the 12 last week. She now has 109 for the year with 16 coming solo and 93 assisted.
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