With the match on the line in the third set, Hannah Matt rose above the net and spiked the ball through the fingers of her opponents, winning the game for Long Beach and bringing a rush of players on the sand courts to celebrate.
“I’m proud of the team, I think we’re starting to show the world what we’re capable of,” head coach Mike Campbell said. “Teams underestimate us just because on paper we don’t have the same things other teams have, but what we do have are the intangibles: grit, resilience, effort, respect.”
Long Beach came into the game confident after defeating Texas Christian University 4-1 earlier in the day and was ready to prove itselves to a team it had lost to 4-1 last season.
The most intense matchup of the day came from team five freshman Marissa Ramsey and senior Hannah Matt, who ultimately sealed the 49ers win. After missing the chance to close out the game in the second set 24-22, the pair played an intense game that had the entire crowd cheering with down-to-the-line rallies and aggressive plays from both teams.
Matt completed the victory for Long Beach after going up for a kill that shot down right past Florida State’s Molly McBain and Madison Fitzpatrick.
“I knew she was going to serve it to me and I had the opportunity to end the game, and I wasn’t going to let them score on me so I just saw the opportunity and went for it,” Matt said. “They’re super talented, but I think our team has been putting in so much work that we know we’re capable of beating any team out there.”
The 49ers had a lineup adjustments as senior Sasha Karelov and junior Anete Brinke made their debut as team one and seniors Rachel Nieto and Nele Barber got bumped down to the second team. Karelov and Brinke proved themselves worthy of the spot, winning all of their sets of the day 21-11, 21-11 against TCU and 21-19, 21-17 against Florida State.
“It was really cool [to play on team one], you always strive to play at the highest level you can so it was really cool to play at the ones,” Karelov said. “We were a little nervous at first but it was cool, hopefully we can keep going. Regardless of where we play we want to win.”