Long Beach State Women’s Volleyball falls short of another monumental upset and is defeated 3-1 by UCLA on Saturday at the Walter Pyramid.
“You want to be tested,” Long Beach State Coach Tyler Hildebrand said. “The only way we’re going to get this program to the next level is to be tested and to play great teams.”
Long Beach had a rocky start to the first set. Once UCLA started scoring, CSULB tried to play catch up, but never took the lead or tied during the set.
The second set saw a lot more competition from Long Beach State with 10 ties, five lead changes and the Walter Pyramid roaring for every point.
Outside hitter Elise Agi, who scored three of her 12 kills in this set, said that playing in front of the dynamic fan base in the Walter Pyramid has powered the team to start off their season.
“It’s honestly an awesome experience, having every single person like in [the Walter Pyramid] cheering for you,” Agi said.
Refusing to get swept, Long Beach State came out swinging in the third. The resiliency of The Beach with the help of two points given to LBSU because of a Bruin service error and a double contact violation led to Long Beach scoring the next five points and not looking back.
Although UCLA tried making up the points late, CSULB held them off, forcing a fourth set.
Kicking off the fourth set, both teams traded points early and neither team could secure more than two points per rotation. Once the Bruins scored their eighth point, they held onto the lead until they won the game.
Controversial calls were a huge factor in this game. Frustrated at the missed calls, Hildebrand says it was important that he follow through on his challenges because he wants to defend his players.
“We need to figure out our camera system because they’re missing challenges,” Hildebrand said. “If we’re going to have a challenge system, we’re going to need a way to get them right.”
Outside hitter Hanna Lesiak, who also tied Agi for 12 kills in the game, said that it means a lot to her knowing that she has Hildebrand’s support.
“When you have a coach that shows up for you that much, it makes playing for him that much more important and that much more special,” Lesiak said.
Of the 12 games historically played between the two teams, Long Beach State has only won once. Last night’s game marked their eleventh straight loss against the Bruins in the last 14 years.
“It’s not easy to play teams and get your weaknesses exposed in battle,” Hildebrand said. “But we’re winning two to three against five great teams, and we’ve learned a lot.”
LBSU women’s volleyball goes on the road for the next two weeks. Their first away game on will be in Omaha, where they will be hosted by the Omaha Mavericks on Thursday, Sept. 7 at 5 p.m. PST. Their games will be streamed on the Omaha Athletics website.