The Long Beach State women’s volleyball team swept UC Santa Barbara Friday 25-22, 25-19, 25-18 in a match where the Beach saw production across the board from its roster.
The first set was the closest of the night, as both teams traded powerful spikes back and forth with the crowd in awe. Long Beach (11-15, 8-6 Big West) was able to squeak out the set after seeing a five-point lead dwindle down to two.
“We’ve had great play out of [Kashauna Williams] offensively and [YiZhi Xue],” head coach Joy McKienzie-Fuerbringer said. “We just needed one or two people to step it up and I thought Katie did a great job tonight, and of course, Tia just really took over the game.”
Normally occupying the setter position, freshman Tia Chavira moved to outside hitter, recording a match-high 14 kills on the night, while freshman opposite hitter Katie Kennedy had 12 and sophomore outside hitter Kashauna Williams notched 11.
“Really happy with the team effort tonight,” McKienzie-Fuerbringer said. “Great play from a lot of different players but especially tonight, we were able to get Tia out there as a hitter, not a setter, and just a great performance by her … so just really proud of our team.”
After dropping the first set, UCSB (19-4, 9-3 Big West) came out with the same energy they fought with before, but were unable to find a rhythm with the Beach’s imposing front line gobbling up hits left and right.
“It’s not just the block or just the offense,” McKienzie-Fuerbringer said. “I’m really proud of how a lot of what we’ve been working on, those things were flowing tonight.”
Senior libero Hailey Harward put on a show in the second and third sets, digging everything sent her way, including a few highlight dives to get the crowd on its feet.
“Hailey is just so athletic,” McKienzie-Fuerbringer said. “That’s her game and she works so hard at our defense moves and really can execute them. It’s just a lot of fun when she gets a good dig up and execute and put a ball away for her.”
After easily sealing the second set, the Beach went into the third with all the confidence it needed, ending the game on a 5-0 run to take the set 25-18.
“I thought we served really well tonight. We really hit our spots which allowed our block to get into positions so that we could take over the game from the net,” McKienzie-Fuerbringer said.
Long Beach will host Cal Poly Saturday Nov. 16 at the Walter Pyramid at 7 p.m. for senior night.