Beach Volleyball, Sports, Women's Sports

No. 7 Long Beach falls flat in home opener

With the game on the line, seniors Rachel Nieto and Nele Barber missed their chance to turn the tide in extra points after losing the first two sets to seal the match.

The Long Beach State beach volleyball team was unable to complete a comeback against No. 1 Pepperdine Wednesday, falling 3-2 in its home opener. Long Beach (2-1) couldn’t keep up with Pepperdine’s (6-2) pace which ultimately caused the team to fall early on.

“Executionally, we’re not where we should be,” head coach Mike Campbell said. “The kids are making the right choices, they’re setting themselves up for some successful things but then when the moment comes we’re kind of waiting for [Pepperdine].”

Each match came down to a last couple of thrilling points as each team rallied to get the upper hand, but Long Beach found itself losing quick points on the defensive end.

“We gotta use our experience and start learning from these matches,” Campbell said. “I’m proud of the team, they’re making good choices, just when the moment comes we need to be a little more aggressive.”

The 49ers dug themselves into a hole early in the match as the No. 2 and No. 4 teams lost straight sets and fell 0-2.

The No. 5 team senior Hannah Matt and freshman Marisa Ramsey put up a tough fight against the Waves, giving the 49ers one of their two wins of the day going 22-20, 19-21, 15-11.

Ramsey racked up 24 kills and looked comfortable on the court as she finished the third set strong.

“We’re always trying to go in hard, to not be timid when we’re going up to hit so we’re really working on just being confident,” Ramsey said. “I got a little worried near the end, but I trust in my partner so we knew we had it in the bag, we knew we were going to win.”

Going into the second round down 0-2, No. 1 team seniors Barber and Nieto had a chance at a comeback, going into extra points in the second set but their effort came up short. They started off hot and could not respond to Pepperdine’s freshman Brook Bauer’s 22 kills and one block, losing 16-21, 23-21.

“We had opportunities to finish and take it to a third set but we just couldn’t find a way to execute,” Nieto said. “[Bauer] is a powerhouse. It’s something that’s just frustrating, and I knew where and how she wanted to hit it and it was just a matter of needing to get those balls up.”

Most of the matches came down to extra points, where Long Beach was unable to finish strong.

“I think we kept our composure,” Pepperdine Head coach Nina Matthies said. “I knew it was going to be a battle today. I think you just have to focus on yourself when it gets down to those last few points just focus on the pass and the set.”

Long Beach will look to bounce back in a double header at 11 a.m. against Missouri State (0-1) and 2:30 p.m. against Colorado Mesa (0-0) Monday at home.

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