‘Niners fall short of upsetting Pepperdine

Long Beach State takes two sets from the undefeated Waves but can’t close out the victory.

Anita Wang, Assistant Sports Editor

The Long Beach State women’s sand volleyball team gave No. 1 Pepperdine a run for its money Tuesday but ultimately lost 3-2 in a rematch of last year’s national championship match.

The 49ers became the first team this year to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Waves because wins from the Tyler Jackson/Janisa Johnson and Chelsea Cabrajac/Bre Mackie pairs. But Pepperdine (6-0) managed to stay undefeated thanks to success early on.

The day started bleak for LBSU (2-3), as the 49ers fell behind with losses from its first two matches. Ciana Wagner and Morea Wagner lost two straight sets to Pepperdine’s Victoria Adelheim and Sophie Asprey (21-8 and 21-18), and Alex Reid and Janelle Hudson fought to steal a win by pushing their match to three sets.

Reid and Hudson fell 21-9 to the Waves’ Delaney Knudsen and Katie Messing in the first set but showed a lot of guts in the following set as they came out with a 4-0 advantage and stayed in the lead the entire set for a 21-14 win in the second. But the Waves scored the last eight points in the final set with two blocks and two aces from Messing, dominating the 49ers with a 15-3 win.

Pepperdine led 2-0 overall until Jackson and Johnson snatched two straight wins from Lara Dykstra and Becca Strehlow with scores of 21-17 and 21-16. The 49ers bounced back from a four-point deficit in the first set after two consecutive Jackson blocks tied them 16-16. Two Johnson kills and a Jackson ace ended the set at 21-17. They carried the momentum into the second set as they led the entire time for a 21-16 win.

Cabrajac and Mackie gave their team a chance for a comeback as they defeated Caitlin Racich and Taylor Racich, 21-18 and 21-14. LBSU’s Delainey Aigner-Swesey and Bojna Todorovic then matched up with the Waves’ Kelley Larsen and Kellie Woolever for the decisive fifth match.
Aigner-Swesey and Todorovic nearly came out victorious, but they fell short by two points in both sets, losing at 21-19 to continue the Waves’ winning streak.

The 49ers will next host Cal State Northridge on Thursday for the first time as the Matadors begin their first season in the sport. The match will begin at 1 p.m. on the LBSU Sand Courts.

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