Long Beach sweeps UC San Diego in back-to-back nights to remain undefeated in conference play.
The post-conference silence in the media room in the Water pyramid cast a fitting, somber tone over the 49ers’ (16-13, 8-8 Big West) three set win over CSUN (8-19, 4-12 Big West) Saturday night. The (25-19, 25-14, 25-13) win ends the second consecutive failed season under head coach Joy McKienzie-Fuerbringer, who is now 26-23, and 15-17 in conference play at the helm of Long Beach State. She had no interest in making statements about what she thought of the season. “I’m just real proud of this match tonight, a lot of the things we’ve really been working on were things the girls displayed out there,” McKienzie-Fuerbringer said. Long Beach jumped out to a 7-1 start to the match, but sent four balls over the back line to let CSUN back into the set at 14-13. Senior outside hitter Megan Kruidhof came to the rescue with 4 kills and 3 blocks as LBSU took the set 25-19. Kruidhof and senior outside hitter Tyler Spriggs unleashed an offensive onslaught in the second set, leading the team on a 14-6 run. Spriggs had five kills in the first half of the second frame alone. Senior middle blocker Emma Kirst also chipped in with
Long Beach faces tough match in the midst of losing streak Long Beach will return home to a tough match after losing two games in a row last weekend. The team will take on Hawai’i, second place in the Big West standings, Saturday in the Walter Pyramid. Long Beach (13-12, 5-7 Big West) is in a slump after losing to UC Davis and UC Irvine in consecutive 3-1 losses, but it’ll have to pull a near miracle to break the losing streak. Hawaii (14-7, 10-2 Big West) has won five of its last six games, even taking a 3-2 win over No. 11 Cal Poly last Friday, only the second loss of the season for the team. Long Beach’s only silver lining is that Hawaii is coming to the Pyramid on the second leg of a back-to-back road trip, where it’ll face CSUN the day before. The 49ers will hope to catch the Rainbow Wahine’s on an off day and complete an upset. Long Beach has been on fire offensively, and currently leads the Big West in kills and assists behind senior outside hitter Tyler Spriggs and freshman outside hitter Kashauna Williams. Spriggs is the only 49er in the top
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