Long Beach State women’s volleyball added a second signature win to its resume this season defeating Hawaii after just three sets Friday night at the Walter Pyramid.
In the build-up for the match, a central talking point was The Beach looking for its first win against the Rainbow Wahine since 2016. Instead, the team put together its first sweep of Hawaii in 25 years.
“I was just acknowledging like, ‘Hey guys, we haven’t beat Hawaii in our whole time here. Like, let’s do it,’ and I think we could feel it,” graduate student Opposite Hitter Katie Kennedy said in the postgame press conference.
“So tonight after we won, I just went up to them again like we did it and Tyler’s dad said to me, ‘One time is not enough let’s get another,’ so I agree.”
Back-and-forth high-intensity volleyball was the expectation, and it delivered with each set coming down to the 20s, and the largest margin of victory being just four points in LBSU’s last win to complete the sweep.
It was a collective effort for The Beach with redshirt sophomore outside hitter Abby Karich leading the team with 13 kills, and junior outside hitter Natalie Glenn following close behind with 11 of her own.
Glenn would also add three aces, and five digs to her stat line as she continues to be one of the brightest stars on an LBSU team that’s on an upward trajectory.
Since Sept. 16 against New Mexico St., she has posted double-digit kills in each game, a stretch that now runs across five matches four of which have been wins.
Hawaii may have had the lead in blocks and fewer total attacking errors, but on a night where each set came down to the nitty gritty portion, it was The Beach who showed poise.
There will be takeaways for each program with none more noticeable than the 10 service errors for Hawaii. In a match where nine points separated the two, those free points can prove costly.
“I think we learn a lot from our losses, because everybody on this team, like, we want to win, and we want to just show everybody what we can do,” Junior Libero Savana Chacon said. “So it just kind of fires us up and gives us confidence to keep moving forward.”
The Beach outhit the Rainbow Wahine by a .23 margin and outworked them on the floor finishing the night with 56 digs. It was another day at the office for Chacon whose 13 digs were the most in the contest
To tell head coach Tyler Hildebrand and redshirt sophomore setter Zayna Meyer, the pilot of the offense that this team would beat No. 1 Texas to open the season would’ve meant something; but to tell them they’d do that and sweep Hawaii just over a month later really puts the season to this point into perspective.
“This community is starting to appreciate what these young women are building. And you know, they were with us tonight and so we’re very grateful for them to be there,” Hildebrand said about the crowds that have continued to come out in support.
The unthinkable keeps becoming possible for women’s volleyball at LBSU with the team improving to (9-5) overall and (3-1) in conference play, next they’ll embark on the road for matchups with CSU Bakersfield and CSUN.