Nov. 26, 2013
The 2013 season wraps up this weekend with Long Beach State welcoming UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly into Walter Pyramid. Senior Delainey Aigner-Swesey will be honored prior to her final match on Saturday against Cal Poly.
Last Time Out
The 49ers pushed their winning streak to three matches with a sweep of UC Irvine last weekend. The Beach made the short trip to Irvine but came away with the same result as UC Irvine's trip up to Long Beach earlier this year with the 25-21, 25-18, 25-23 sweep.
Aigner-Swesey's Home Finale
Outside hitter Delainey Aigner-Swesey will take the court for the final time in front of her hometown fans on Saturday. Aigner-Swesey's four year career will conclude against Cal Poly. The senior from Wrightwood, Calif. has been a regular contributor in the 49ers rotation in each of her four seasons. Her senior year has been her best by far with a team-leading 358 kills and 319 digs. She also has 72 total blocks, which ranks third on the squad.
Join the 49ers At The `Mid
Long Beach State will close out its 2013 schedule with a few promotions on tap for both matches. Fans can purchase tickets prior to Friday's match online for half off using the code "Go Beach." Fans are also encouraged to participate in the 49ers canned food drive. Any fan bringing a canned food item to Friday's match will receive free admission. On Saturday, the 49ers will celebrate the career of Delainey Aigner-Swesey and the first 100 students will receive free sunglasses.
The 49ers are looking to put the finishing touches on a strong end to the 2013 season. Another win on Friday would tie for the 49ers' longest winning streak of the year at four. Long Beach State has won its last three in a row, four of its last five and eight of its last 10. The only losses in that stretch have come to nationally-ranked Hawaii in four sets and then-nationally ranked Cal State Northridge in a heartbreaking five setter.
The Gauchos are just two wins away from claiming the Big West title and the automatic qualifier into the NCAA Tournament. A balanced attack has three Gauchos with at least 245 kills this year although none of them have eclipsed 300 as of last week. Katy Thompson leads the trio with 283 kills and 3.37 per set. Ali Sprindt and Ali Barbeau make up the next two prongs of the three-pronged attack. The Gauchos are a tough serving team with over an ace per set, led by 0.38 aces per set from Thompson.
About Cal Poly
Cal Poly has hit a rough patch late in the season and will be looking to close out 2013 on a positive note. The Mustangs have lost five of their last six and nine of their last 12 since defeating the 49ers in San Luis Obispo two months ago. Megan McConnell leads the Mustangs with 301 kills and just over three per set. The Mustangs average 1.36 aces per set with three players tallying over 20 aces on the year.
History With UCSB
The Gauchos are atop the standings with a 12-2 record in conference play. Their conference season began with a five set loss to the 49ers. UCSB will undoubtedly be looking to avenge the loss and secure the Big West's AQ this weekend. The 49ers have won the last four meetings but the Gauchos have come into the Pyramid and walked away with the win as recently as 2011.
History With Cal Poly
Cal Poly's quick start to Big West play included a sweep of the 49ers back in September. The loss was the 49ers first against the Mustangs since Cal Poly swept the season series in 2010. The 49ers lead the all-time series 39-18.
Jackson With A Career Year
Junior libero Tyler Jackson made this year her best ever in her years at the Beach. Jackson ran her season total to 362 digs last weekend - the highest single season total of her career. She now has 947 digs in her career and is averaging 3.38 per set this year, which ranks ninth in the Big West. With her current average, Jackson will finish 2013 just shy of 1,000 career digs. Only 11 players in 49ers history have reached 1,000 digs in their career. She is also just short of the 49ers top-10 list for digs in a season. Christine Romero currently ranks 10th on that list with 419 digs in 1990.
Another Winning Season At The Beach
For the 27th consecutive time, the 49ers will end the year with a winning record. The 49ers ran their record to 16-11 last weekend and will finish an above .500 record for the 27th year in a row and 28 out of the last 29 years under head coach Brian Gimmillaro. That streak reaches all the way back to the 1987 season - only the third under Gimmillaro. 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 28 of his 29 seasons. His only season spent under .500 was 1986 when the 49ers finished 15-17.
Black And Blue Sweep
Long Beach State's sweep of UC Irvine on Saturday was much more than just a three set sweep of the Anteaters. The sweep completed a season sweep of the 49ers OC rivals with the 49ers taking all six sets played between the two this year. It also completed a Long Beach State fall sweep of the Black And Blue Rivalry Series from UC Irvine. The Beach took every contest of the series and have built a 15-0 lead in the point totals.
Pair Of .500 Hitters
The 49ers received a pair of efficient performances last weekend that led to 17 kills on 32 swings with just one error. Junior Bre Mackie put down eight kills on 16 tries while junior Chisom Okpala had nine kills with one miscue on another 16 swings. For Okpala, it was the fifth time this season that she has hit .500 or better while taking at least 10 swings. It was just the second time that Mackie has accomplished the feat while taking more than 10 tries.
More On Aigner-Swesey
Senior Delainey Aigner-Swesey has put together quite a quality string of matches to end her career. The senior outside hitter has double digit kills in each of her last seven matches. Since returning from an injury that kept her out of the match at Cal State Northridge, Aigner-Swesey has reached double digit kills in eight of the nine matches with double-doubles in five of those matches. She tallied a season-high 25 kills in a dramatic five set comeback over Cal State Fullerton and has tallied a set with nine kills and another set with 10 during this final stretch of the season.
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