A friendly exhibition involved the gift of Chinese good luck knots and T-shirts, two national anthems and a four-set battle that saw only two leads from Long Beach.
The 49ers did not match up well against the Shanghai pro team, but the friendly energy kept up throughout the game as Long Beach fell 25-21, 25-19, 25-21, 15-13, with the crowd cheering for both sides.
Coming off a win against Seattle University while featuring a career-high kills for junior middle blocker YiZhi Xue, Long Beach (2-2) experienced defeat once again, exhibiting poor offense and a severe lack of communication.
“It was a great experience playing against a pro team, it’s an honor,” head coach Joy McKienzie-Fuerbringer said. “I think we’re playing a lot better together, we’re seeing us get into this rhythm, we just have to keep it up for a long period of time.”
The positive energy in the Walter Pyramid did not translate into play for the 49ers, as they quickly unraveled on the court. The players came out looking strong and confident, capitalizing on a strong defensive effort and keeping up with Shanghai through multiple long rallies.
The team couldn’t regain control after losing the first set, dropping its hitting percentage .097 in the second and never recovering.
Xue continued her dominant play from the night before, racking up 12 kills, and earned the second highest hitting percentage at .500 behind freshman outside hitter Allison Martinez’s .591.
“That was really fun, I was really excited,” Xue said. “[Shanghai] plays really well and they hit the ball really hard.”
Long Beach has a chance to get back in the win column at the Oregon classic beginning Friday. The 49ers begin their weekend play at 11 a.m. against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, then play again at 8 p.m. against Oregon. They’ll close their weekend at 11 a.m. against Utah Valley.