Sports, Women's Sports, Women's Volleyball

CSULB women’s volleyball falls to Fullerton Friday

The Long Beach State women’s volleyball team was swept by Big West rival Fullerton 25-23, 25-23, 26-24 on Friday at the Walter Pyramid.

The Titans’ (10-7, 2-4 Big West) win over the Beach (5-13, 2-4 Big West) marked their first win against CSULB since Oct. 13, 2012, and also snapped a 13-game losing streak.

“We are very disappointed in the loss tonight,” said Long Beach head coach Joy McKienzie-Fuerbringer. “We did not play Long Beach volleyball as a team, we weren’t prepared.”

Freshman opposite hitter Katie Kennedy led the Beach with 14 kills with a hitting percentage of .385, while junior middle blocker YiZhi Xue had nine kills with a hitting percentage of .421. Sophomore setter Carly Aigner-Swesey and freshman setter Tia Chivara had 29 and 13 assists, respectively. Senior libero Hailey Harward and Aigner-Swesey each finished with 11 digs.

The Beach started out the first set trailing 4-0 after unforced errors began to pile up, forcing McKienzie-Fuerbringer to call timeout. Long Beach caught the Titans at 17-17, but Fullerton responded with a 7-3 run to put them at set point.

Not wanting to relinquish the first set, the Beach scored three points in a row, but freshman opposite hitter Julia Crawford sealed the deal for Fullerton winning set one 25-23.

“I think one postive we can take away is we were solid on our passing, which we’ve been working on all week,” Aigner-Swesey said. “I think Katie Kennedy played really good.”

Fullerton never trailed in the second set, but never led by more than three points either. Long Beach got as close as 24-23, but Crawford’s kill once again gave the Titans the edge they needed, ending set two 25-23.

“[Crawford] has been the constant in each rotation and the constant of our team,” said Fullerton head coach Ashley Preston. “I’m just so proud of her.”

Long Beach started out strong in the third set, eventually ballooning their lead to 16-10, forcing Fullerton to call a timeout. The Titans fought back hard to bring the game to 20-17 and then scored three straight points to even the set at 20-20.

Fullerton got to match point at 24-22, but kills from Xue and Nelson tied the set at 24 a piece.

A block from sophomore middle blocker Haley Carmo and freshman outside hitter Tyler Fezzey got Fullerton to match point at 25-24. After a hitting error from Long Beach, the Titans took the set 26-24.

“Staying together and not being fixated on losing and just keeping true to the process,” Crawford said. “That’s what got us back in the game and helped us winning in three.” 

Long Beach State returns to action Oct. 19 against Irvine at the Walter Pyramid at 7 p.m.

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