Nov. 20, 2012
Long Beach, Calif. -
Long Beach State finishes off the regular season in new fashion this season, concluding Big West play rather than hosting Thanksgiving matches. Fans can still look forward to a pair of good matches on the road, however, as the 49ers travel to UC Santa Barbara at 7 p.m. on Friday, followed by a tilt with Cal Poly at 7 p.m. on Saturday. Live audio streaming of both matches will be provided through www.longbeachstate.com.
Running It Up
Running their winning streak up to five straight matches, the 49ers slipped in the first set against UC Irvine but took the next three in a 23-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-20 victory. Freshman Alex Reid stepped up for a shorthanded LBSU squad, finishing with 18 total kills, including nine in the final set for the 49ers to lead the 49ers. Janisa Johnson finished with a double-double with 14 kills and 23 digs, while Tara Roenicke led the 49ers to .240 hitting with 52 assists and a career high 15 digs.
Long Beach State bid farewell to two seniors who played their final game in the Walter Pyramid on Saturday. Both outside hitter Janisa Johnson and Libby Fontanilla have played over 300 sets for the 49ers over their productive careers. Fontanilla passed 500 career digs earlier this year, and she comes into the weekend with 47 career aces. Meanwhile, Johnson will finish her career as one of the finest all-around players in Long Beach State history, with over 900 kill and 1100 digs in her career, averaging over 2.75 of each per set in her career.
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 16 Big West matches, Okpala is leading the 49ers with 3.27 kills per set, and her .353 is second-best in the conference, just behind Hawaii's Jade Vorster, who is hitting .385. Additionally, Okpala ranks third in the conference's top 10 in blocking in Big West matches at 1.24 blocks per set.
Scouting UC Santa Barbara
UC Santa Barbara begins the final week of Big West play at .500, 8-8 in Big West play and 15-16 overall. Outside hitter Leah Sully is the top threat for UCSB, averaging over four kills per set, one of three hitters in the league over that mark for the season. Freshman libero Taylor Formico is also putting up big numbers, averaging nearly six digs per set at 5.86 to lead the conference.
Long Beach State vs. the Gauchos
Long Beach State leads the All-Time series with UCSB 60-36, and has won two straight matches. The 49ers won earlier this season in Long Beach, as Alma Serna had 11 kills with no errors to lead the 49ers. In 2011, the 49ers avenged a home loss earlier in the season with a four-set win in the Thunderdome behind 19 kills from Haleigh Hampton.
Scouting Cal Poly
Cal Poly has struggled in their first season under new coach Sam Crosson, posting a 3-25 overall record. The Mustangs are just 2-14 in the Big West, losing both Jennifer Keddy and Kristina Graven, the top two players from the team a season ago. Holly Franks leads the offense with 2.86 kills per set.
Long Beach State vs. the Mustangs
A hotly contested series of late, the 49ers lead the all-time series 38-17 and have won three straight matches against the Mustangs. In the last match at Mott Gymnasium, the 49ers won an epic five-set match, coming back from a two-set deficit to win 20-18 in the final set. This season's prior meeting went four sets, but outside of a 25-23 second set loss, the 49ers won comfortably as the 49er middles combined for 27 kills.
Senior Janisa Johnson picked up another double-double against UC Irvine, with 14 kills and 23 digs, which led the team She has now passed the mark in eight straight matches and has 14 overall in 2012. That's one more than setter Tara Roenicke, who has 13 double-doubles in 2012, as well as one triple-double, which she recorded Nov. 8 against the Titans with 11 kills, 14 digs, and 43 assists. Junior Delainey Aigner-Swesey also had four double-doubles during 2012.
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