Sports, Women's Sports, Women's Volleyball

Long Beach tops the Highlanders at the Walter Pyramid Friday

Long Beach State women’s volleyball swept UC Riverside in three sets, 25-18, 25-18, 25-16, Friday at the Walter Pyramid. The Beach worked as a unit on both ends, dismantling the Highlanders game plan by passing the ball well and playing aggressively.

In the first set Long Beach (8-14, 5-5 Big West) created a comfortable lead for themselves and carried it until the end.

Throughout the game, Riverside (5-16, 1-9 Big West) had a tendency of tipping the ball at the net, which was effective at first, but once the Beach realized this strategy they adjusted accordingly.

“We were really executing our offense…having our outside hitters hit over .200 [of their shots] and I feel like that made a real difference,” head coach Joy McKienzie-Fuerbringer said. “You have that many attackers being available to attack, it throws off any team.”

A crucial element in the win was the effective passing, which allowed the team to take control of the game. Sophomore setter Carley Aigner-Swesey totaled 35 assists, seven more than the entire Highlander team combined.

Sophomore outside hitter Kashauna Williams was the main beneficiary, recording 16 kills, including the match-winning point.

“We were working on [the game-winning play] in practice,” Williams said. “It felt good to get a kill off [the play].

The Beach’s synchronized offense created fits for Highlanders who had trouble communicating, making simple mistakes and unable to solve Long Beach’s game plan.

The best example of this was in the first set when senior libero Hailey Harward served an ace to the left side, fueling an eruption of cheers from the Long Beach fanbase.

The third set saw Riverside take a lead 9-8 early, but soon fell 11-10 and never recaptured that momentum after continuous unforced errors.

Long Beach will play UC Davis Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Walter Pyramid.

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