Long Beach State’s women’s volleyball’s defense was solid, but its offense faltered as they dropped the first conference game of the season to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Friday night.
“Cal Poly played smarter volleyball,” CSULB head coach Joy McKienzie-Fuerbringer said. “I felt like our girls were prepared, but once we got on the court, we didn’t stick to our game plan.”
Cal Poly handled the ball better than Long Beach all night, putting too much pressure on the defense. CSULB had 25 attack errors compared to Cal Poly’s 10.
Coming into tonight, Cal Poly had a 2-9 record in preseason while Long Beach was 6-5, and coming off an upset win over the University of San Diego. Coach McKienzie-Fuerbringer said that while the team knew that Cal Poly had a losing record, they have had a tougher schedule than Long Beach.
“Definitely, these losses hurt a lot more, but they also teach us lessons that stick with us a little bit more,” McKienzie-Fuerbringer said. “Now we know what we need to do for tomorrow night to be better prepared.”
One of the bright spots of the night for CSULB was junior defensive specialist Dylan Dela Cruz, who had a career high 19 digs on the night. Dela Cruz helped keep the matches within reach, but it wasn’t enough.
“I was trying to slow the game down,” Dela Cruz said. “I knew the scouting report of their hitter’s tendencies, and it was just about slowing the game down, reading the block early from hitters.”
Dela Cruz also said she feels as if the team got off on the wrong foot mentally tonight, which set a bad tone for the rest of the match. She hopes that the team can get in a better mental space and even their conference record.
Up next for Long Beach State is a home game Saturday night against CSU Bakersfield—the first time the two have ever gone head to head in conference play in the program’s history.
CSU Bakersfield joined the Big West Conference in July of last year, along with UC San Diego.
“[Bakersfield] plays great volleyball from what I’ve seen on video,” McKienzie-Fuerbringer said. We’ve got to make some adjustments quickly because they do a lot of different things. I hope that we come in better prepared mentally.”