Position change resulted in Hailey Harward’s Big West honorable mention

Following an underwhelming season for the Long Beach State women’s volleyball team, a silver lining was found in the five players who received All-Big West honors in the 2018 Big West Women’s Volleyball All-Conference Team. Senior outside hitter Tyler Spriggs was the only player to receive a first team selection, while junior outside hitter Hailey Harward, senior outside hitter Emma Kirst and junior middle blocker Yizhi Xue received honorable mentions. Freshman outside hitter Kashauna Williams was named to the All-Freshman Team. While Spriggs and Williams’ had the most impressive of the honors, the most shocking of these selections was Harward’s honorable mention. After making the All-Freshman team her first year and making the First Team last season, an honorable mention is a considerable drop off for Harward, and nowhere near what she deserves. Harward began the season in her usual position as libero, the one that earned her a spot on the First Team last season, but was moved to outside hitter after a few games in order to compensate for the lack of outside hitters in the team’s rotation. Even while Harward was in the position, the team still had senior outside hitter Megan Kruidhof and freshman outside hitter

By | 2018-11-27T00:06:41-07:00 Nov 27, 2018 | 12:06 am|Categories: Commentary, Sports, Women's Sports, Women's Volleyball|Tags: , , , |

Long Beach extends losing streak, drops to Hawai’i

Passing and serving were Long Beach’s downfall against Hawai’i Saturday night as it fell in three consecutive sets. The team committed 11 serving errors and exhibited poor communication throughout the night, allowing the Rainbow Wahines to dominate 25-19, 21-25, 17-25, 19-25. “When our main service is on serve and pass and you miss that many serves, it’s hard to win the serve and pass game,” junior outside hitter Hailey Harward said. “For us it’s just picking our spots and being precise with where we’re aiming and getting this other team, a great passing team out of its system.” The 49ers started the night off strong and held a 13-5 lead on the ‘Bows behind senior outside hitter Tyler Spriggs’ eight kills. Their impressive play only lasted one set however, before the team lost focus and dropped the next three sets in a row. “I thought we came out really strong and attacked Hawai’i, but they came back with some answers, and we didn’t win the serve and pass game and that’s the key for us,” head coach Joy McKienzie-Fuerbringer said. “I’m disappointed that we didn’t come out  aggressive.” Although the team was able to keep the sets close with some

By | 2018-11-05T19:43:14-07:00 Nov 4, 2018 | 6:41 pm|Categories: Sports, Today, Women's Sports, Women's Volleyball|Tags: , , , , |

Long Beach comes back in thrilling five set upset

Before the match had even begun, all eyes were on Hailey Harward. She opened up the night by singing the National Anthem in front of the crowd of 901, which was met with thunderous applause. The spotlight would stay on her throughout Long Beach’s thrilling five set comeback over Santa Barbara 20-25, 18-25, 25-20, 26-24, 19-17. Going into the match, the junior outside hitter was three digs away from hitting a milestone 1,000 for LBSU. She reached the number at the tail end of the first set and went on to reach a season-high of 24. “It’s just exciting, I’m excited,” Harward said about the milestone. “It’s been interesting learning defense from two different coaching staffs, and I feel like I’ve been able to take what I’ve learned from Bryan [Gimmillaro] and Erica [Dillard] and when Mike [Campbell] was with us and kind of combining it now, along with our really good game plan.” It seemed the celebration would be short lived, as Long Beach (13-9, 5-4 Big West) dropped the first two sets to Santa Barbara (12-9, 4-5 Big West) behind stagnant defense and inconsistent offense. The 49ers struggled to get past the Gauchos blockers at first, and couldn’t

By | 2018-10-21T12:10:20-07:00 Oct 20, 2018 | 5:13 pm|Categories: Sports, Today, Women's Sports, Women's Volleyball|Tags: , , , , , |

Long Beach triumphs in Big West opener

Less than halfway through the first set, the match was decided. UC Riverside’s junior outside hitter Kaiulani Ahuna limped off the floor with an apparent knee injury, giving the Long Beach women’s volleyball team an undeniable advantage. Ahuna averages 5.25 kills per set, second in the Big West and fourth in the NCAA.Without her, the Highlanders could not maintain the pace the 49ers set with their well-rounded offense. Long Beach (9-5, 1-0 Big West) never looked back and earned its first conference win 25-17, 25-21, 25-21. “We’re happy we were able to start off our conference at home,” head coach Joy McKienzie-Fuerbringer said. “Our performance wasn’t our best, but we had a really spread out offense.” It was a busy weekend for the 49ers, playing four games in the last six days, but there was a  different feeling on the floor going into conference play compared to last year. An 8-5 overall record before conference play is an immense improvement for a team that came into conference play 3-10 last season. The team looked like they were relaxed during warm ups, smiling and talking before the match. “We came in a lot stronger this season and with our play the

Long Beach falls to No. 16 UCLA

With Long Beach State down two points in the fourth set, freshman outside hitter Kashauna Williams blocked the Bruins kill, making it hit the ground into a cluster of UCLA players and onto the sidelines. Long Beach fans cheered, but seconds later a career-high performance from Williams was spoiled, and the Walter Pyramid was filled with booing fans. The referees called the ball out on Long Beach, causing the team to drop the match in a controversial call. The Long Beach State women’s volleyball team (6-5) put up a fight in their Walter Pyramid return against No. 16 UCLA (5-2), pushing the team to nearly five sets, but ultimately falling 25-21, 17-25, 25-23, 25-23. The deciding point for the team came late in the fourth set following a 3-0 run from Long Beach. Both teams went up for a block and thought the other touched the ball last. “Being two points away from a ranked opponent is a very good opportunity for us and our program,” junior outside hitter Hailey Harward said. “So I take that so personally and I take that to heart that we’re really trying to build something amazing here and we have chances and we’re right

By | 2018-09-13T23:33:19-07:00 Sep 13, 2018 | 11:28 pm|Categories: Showcase, Sports, Today, Women's Sports, Women's Volleyball|Tags: , , , , , |

Long Beach looks to extend winning streak in tough weekend lineup

Freshly back from an East Coast road trip, the Long Beach State women’s volleyball team has three matches coming up this weekend, starting with No. 16 UCLA Thursday night followed by two easier matches against Lamar University and Fresno State. Long Beach (6-4) returns to the Walter Pyramid after racking up three straight wins against Texas Tech at home, and Princeton and Towson at the Towson Invitational. They’ll look to continue their winning streak and keep up their perfect record at home behind team leaders in junior Hailey Harward (2.97 kills) and freshman Kashauna Williams (2.74 kills). The Bruins have defeated the 49ers the last eight times they’ve met, but Long Beach hopes to extend its recent winning streak. UCLA (4-2) will visit the Walter Pyramid looking to snap its losing streak, dropping its last two games in a row to No. 14 Cal Poly. “I think UCLA is going to come out with some vengeance and we know that, I think it’s going to be a good test of where we’re at,” head coach Joy McKienzie-Fuerbringer said. “You learn a lot more and there’s more urgency when you lose, and we’ve reminded the girls of that and they’re very

By | 2018-09-12T22:34:19-07:00 Sep 12, 2018 | 10:34 pm|Categories: Sports, Today, Women's Sports, Women's Volleyball|Tags: , , , |

Long Beach State triumphs in home opener

The Long Beach State women’s volleyball home opener was met with the sights and sounds of the iconic hot dog suit, decked out fans and a victory, albeit rather messy. Coming off a rocky road trip in Oregon, Long Beach (2-2) found its groove right at home Tuesday night against Seattle University. The 49ers defeated the Redhawks 25-17, 25-18, 19-25, 25-18 in front of 768 fans, with a well-rounded offensive effort. “I’m really proud of how the girls showed up tonight,” head coach Joy McKienzie-Fuerbringer said. “There was a lot of celebration with [Xue’s] kills tonight and I’m really proud of how we played tonight and how quickly we recovered after the loss in the third set.” Long Beach dominated in the first two sets, but lost its composure in the third. The team had to regroup in the fourth set to take home its second win of the season. The 49ers started off hot behind middle blocker YiZhi Xue’s five kills. Xue led the team with a career high 15 kills, hitting at .778 “I feel pretty good, it was our first home game so we came out really strong,” Xue said. “I have a really good connection with

By | 2018-08-29T11:50:41-07:00 Aug 28, 2018 | 10:01 pm|Categories: Showcase, Sports, Today, Women's Sports, Women's Volleyball|Tags: , , , , , |

LBSU claims four spots in the All-Big West Selections

A disappointing season ended with a consolation prize of four members of the Long Beach State women’s volleyball team (10-19) being recognized in the Big West Women’s All-Conference Team. Sophomore libero Hailey Harward received the top honor of First Team All-Big West Conference, while junior outside hitter Megan Kruidhof and sophomore middle blocker YiZhi Xue were awarded honorable mentions. Freshman middle blocker Radi Marinova would also be the only member on the team to receive First Team All-Freshman. “When I found out I was so honored,” Harward said.  “I didn’t expect to make anything since I split time at two positions.” Harward played libero for half of the season until injuries plagued the outside hitter position. For the rest of the year she took on the role of go-to hitter, producing big numbers for the team. Harward ended the season with 120 kills, while adding 394 digs and 24 blocks. Even with the second half of the season being solely focused on hitting, Harward would rank fifth in the conference in total digs. Kruidhof played a big role at the beginning of the season, taking on the starting outside hitter position. It was a new place for her, but she

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