It’s a victory that not only shocks the women’s volleyball world but sees The Beach pass its first test, as the team looks to continue to build and improve before the inaugural Big West Women’s Volleyball Championship at the end of the season.
“We’re gonna be tested a lot, and so this is just another test,” Long Beach State head coach Tyler Hildebrand said.
After opening the game slow and trailing 8-3 in set one, Hildebrand called a timeout and that shifted the momentum as the team pulled back to within two before tying the game at 10, and trading points to 12.
From there The Beach took authority and got the score to 20-15, forcing Texas to call a timeout of its own. The decision was futile since The Beach would close out the set by winning 25-22, despite Texas’s best efforts at a comeback.
“We just felt like so loose and freed up,” redshirt sophomore setter Zayna Meyer said, “I think the crowd really helped with that.”
Set two was all about Texas as the Longhorns dictated the scoring early and never let The Beach find a way back in, winning 25-18.
That set was the last time the Longhorns had control as Long Beach showed poise and grit playing into the student section’s chants of ‘overrated’ and winning set three by the night’s largest margin of 25-16.
The Beach closed out a back-and-forth set four that saw the score become tied 14 times before finishing 25-22.
“I was pretty speechless plus the girls threw the Gatorade on me,” Hildebrand said about the game’s conclusion.
Offensively, The Beach was out-attacked at the end of the night by a .29 margin in the score column, something that could be overlooked by the end result. Throughout every other team column, it was Long Beach playing the better game statistically.
“Texas is the number one team in the country. And I have a lot of respect for them and their coaching staff, Hildebrand said.
“We felt like we were out playing them, you know, it didn’t feel like they just played really, really bad and we got lucky.”
Though Texas out-attacked The Beach, a team effort put together by LBSU saw redshirt junior Utah transfer Abby Karich, graduate student Hanna Lesiak and junior Maura Hayes finish with 10 kills each.
Digs were a key area of the game that The Beach led in as junior libero Savana Chacon compiled a game-leading 14.
For Texas, the team’s game wasn’t clean enough as the Longhorns’ 17 service errors curbed any momentum it could build.
The Beach will look to ride this momentum and shift focus to its next match against Loyola Marymount University on Sunday at 4:00 p.m. as the team caps off the LBSU tournament.