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Rebels no match for LBSU in sweep

The 49ers used a superb performance from Janisa Johnson for their second win on Friday

Junior+outside+hitter+Caitlin+Ledoux+%281%29+fires+a+kill+past+UNLV%27s+Sekola+Falemaka+%2821%29+in+the+first+set+Friday+at+the+Walter+Pyramid.+The+49ers+swept+the+Rebels%2C+3-0.
Junior outside hitter Caitlin Ledoux (1) fires a kill past UNLV's Sekola Falemaka (21) in the first set Friday at the Walter Pyramid. The 49ers swept the Rebels, 3-0.

Junior outside hitter Caitlin Ledoux (1) fires a kill past UNLV's Sekola Falemaka (21) in the first set Friday at the Walter Pyramid. The 49ers swept the Rebels, 3-0.

Jenna Skarzenski / Daily 49er

Jenna Skarzenski / Daily 49er

Junior outside hitter Caitlin Ledoux (1) fires a kill past UNLV's Sekola Falemaka (21) in the first set Friday at the Walter Pyramid. The 49ers swept the Rebels, 3-0.

Tracy McDannald, Assistant sports editor

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Box score

Sophomore Janisa Johnson’s athleticism helped the Long Beach State women’s volleyball team sweep its way to a 3-0 victory Friday night.

The 49ers (2-0) defeated the UNLV Rebels, 25-21, 25-21, 25-16, in the second match of the Long Beach State Baden Classic at the Walter Pyramid. Earlier in the day, LBSU swept Rutgers, 3-0.

“I thought our level of play was about the same,” LBSU head coach Brian Gimmillaro said.

Outside hitters Johnson and Caitlin Ledoux tallied 12 kills apiece to lead all players. Freshman middle blocker Haleigh Hampton chipped in eight kills on .429 hitting and three blocks.

As a team, the 49ers hit .297 to the Rebels .137 mark.

Johnson, who hit .370 in the match, also tied with 49ers libero Lauren Minkel for a match-high 11 digs, notching Johnson a double-double in the contest. Ashley Vazquez added 32 assists for LBSU.

“Janisa’s really developed her skill level and her focus,” Gimmillaro said of Johnson, who set career highs in kills, digs and aces (1).

The Rebels (0-2), who also were swept earlier in the day by No. 25 Saint Mary’s, were led by Madeline Westman’s 10 kills and five blocks.

The 49ers used a 7-0 run to jump out to a 14-5 lead in set three.

The Rebels received back-to-back service aces from Nile Te’o and closed to within 24-16, but Ledoux recorded a kill after a pair of UNLV players knocked into each other to end the match.

Johnson led the way in set two with a team-high five kills in the frame.

The sophomore outside hitter showed off her athleticism, saving a rally with a leaping touch to Minkel, who tracked the ball down at the back of the court and made an overhead save with her back to the net. Ledoux then timed her jump for the kill to end the rally and give the 49ers a 14-11 lead, forcing a UNLV timeout.

“Sometimes when I jump, I don’t feel like I’m all the way up there,” Johnson said. “I just go for it. I can’t let my team down so I have to go all-out for them.”

The Rebels closed to within 22-21, but Johnson’s soft kill ended a 3-0 run. UNLV’s Westman later whiffed on LBSU’s set point to hand the ‘Niners a 25-21 victory.

From the start, UNLV made it clear that LBSU wasn’t going to cruise to an easy victory like it had earlier in the day.

The 49ers were sloppy to start and the teams were tied on eight separate occassions. Tied at 19, LBSU was sparked by a block from Vazquez and Hampton for the first of three consecutive points. Ledoux’s kill off the UNLV block capped a 25-21 victory.

The 49ers will wrap up the Long Beach State Baden Classic with another pair of matches tomorrow at the Walter Pyramid. LBSU will face Sacred Heart at 10 a.m. and return to court to face No. 25 Saint Mary’s at 7 p.m.

The Gaels finished just ahead of the 49ers in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Preseason Top 25 poll.

“I don’t want to be behind No. 25, I want to be in there,” Johnson said of the later matchup. “I want to be ranked. We’re Long Beach State, we should be ranked.”


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