The sky was gloomy, but spirits were high at Long Beach State’s beach volleyball home opener Tuesday morning. The team started its season on a high note with two sweeps against Cal State Los Angeles (1-2) and Long Beach City College (4-2), not dropping a single set in the two matches.
Despite a mostly new squad, Long Beach (2-0) barely broke a sweat throughout the games, defeating its opponents with ease through powerful play and quick set resets.
“I think we did well, I was happy with how they executed. I think in terms of both matches the kids responded really well,” head coach Mike Campbell said. “I don’t know if [a sweep] was expected from the girls, I just wanted them to compete, have fun and represent the university well and I thought they did so.”
Long Beach controlled the matches against both teams early on and never let up. Team one senior Megan Kruidhof and sophomore Mari Molina played their first match together on the sand and quickly clicked offensively. The 49ers only allowed Cal State LA to reach double digits three times in the 10 matches, blocking every attempted kill and using their physicality to their advantage.
“I think it’ll get better when we play tougher teams, we play to their level,” Kruidhof said. “These are the toughest teams to play because it’s hard to stay in rhythm since we don’t know what to expect.”
The second match of the day proved to be tougher for Long Beach. Though the team swept Long Beach City College in straight sets, the Vikings put up more of a fight, bringing team four senior Kendra Koelsch and sophomore Claire Newlander to extra points in their first set. The pair came back with a vengeance in their second, shutting down sophomores Kaitlyn Peterson and Elsa Woods 21-8.
“Obviously it’s going to be a little different [playing Long Beach], but we thought the majority of our girls they played pretty well,” LBCC head coach Misty May-Treanor said. “[The 49ers] are very physical … they were able to get their hitters up to the net.”
Long Beach will hit the road to face its first conference opponent 8 a.m. Saturday against CSUN followed by another match 11 a.m. against Pepperdine and one last game 1 p.m. against CSU Bakersfield in Malibu.