women's volleyball
Women's Volleyball

CSULB women’s volleyball heads to Florida for Gator Invitational this weekend

After a rough three-game homestand, Long Beach State women’s volleyball will head to Gainesville, Florida for the Gator Invitational, a two-day event where the team looks look to bounce back with games against James Madison, South Florida and Florida.

Long Beach (2-4) has been competitive this year, but its lack of execution in the final stretch of games has been its biggest issue.

“Just move on to the next point and let the one prior roll off your back,” sophomore outside hitter Allison Martinez said. “I think a big thing is dwelling on your errors, that can really get in your head and mess you up. I know that’s happened to me countless times.”

Head coach Joy McKienzie-Fuerbringer told her players to focus on what they can do for the team in the wake of the errors over the weekend. 

“We tell the players, ‘Hey if something’s not working one night, do something else, you can help in other ways,’” Mckienzie-Fuerbringer said.

Sophomore opposite hitter Kashauna Williams has bought into the mindset Mckienzie-Fuerbringer is bringing to the Beach, as she is confident in her team’s chances.

“Our goal is to win all three,” Williams said. “We got two days to prepare and we’re going to use all that time [to improve].”

With Duke’s (3-3) inconsistency from game to game, the Gators (2-2) losing their last two in a row and the Bulls (2-3) losing three straight, every team in the tournament will be looking to pick up wins.

Long Beach has the chance to outplay teams on the offensive end, it may not have players like Thayer Hall or Lindsey Pliapol who can get four or more kills on a set-to-set basis, but they do have the next best options. 

Williams and Allison Martinez have been effective at executing their kills, averaging almost four per set, giving CSULB the edge when it comes to offensive firepower. 

Long Beach’s Hailey Harward will be an important player for the team, providing key leadership on the defensive end, entering the tournament averaging over four digs per set.

“We’ve created a lot of opportunities in our matches to win games,” Mckienzie-Fuerbringer said. “When we’re given those opportunities [we need] to capitalize on them.”

Long Beach will have its first game of the Gator Invitational in Gainesville, Florida, Sep. 13 at 7 a.m. against James Madison University.

This article was updated Sept. 10 at 4:35 p.m.

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