Daily 49er

Long Beach State completes the sweep against UC Irvine

The 49ers defeat the Anteaters in the Black and Blue Rivalry.

Long+Beach+State+sophomore+middle+blocker++YiZhi+Xue+spikes+the+ball+in+Friday%27s+match+against+UC+Davis+at+the+Walter+Pyramid.+
Long Beach State sophomore middle blocker  YiZhi Xue spikes the ball in Friday's match against UC Davis at the Walter Pyramid.

Long Beach State sophomore middle blocker YiZhi Xue spikes the ball in Friday's match against UC Davis at the Walter Pyramid.

Joseph Kling

Joseph Kling

Long Beach State sophomore middle blocker YiZhi Xue spikes the ball in Friday's match against UC Davis at the Walter Pyramid.

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The stage was set for the renewal of the Black and Blue Rivalry with an attendance of 907 in the Walter Pyramid, and the Long Beach State women’s volleyball team showed up to defend its home floor with a rowdy crowd on Saturday.

In a thrilling fashion, LBSU (7-18, 4-8 Big West) exceeded all expectations and swept UC Irvine (19-4, 7-3 Big West) 25-21, 25-22, 26-24 to get its fourth conference win.

The highlight of the match included a 6-0 run by Long Beach State late into the third set to complete the sweep. The Anteaters had a comfortable 24-20 advantage, but the 49ers stayed focused and rallied back to get the job done.

“When were down like that we tell ourselves to just stick to the same game plan,” head coach Joy McKienzie-Fuerbringer said. “We just had to continue to play the same way we were throughout the whole match.”

Harward had a night posting a double-double with 12 kills and 13 digs, while junior outside hitter Megan Kruidhof added 12 kills to the night and sophomore middle blocker YiZhi Xue ended with 10 kills on .588 hitting. Defensively the team had 48 digs and 6.5 blocks to end the night.

“It feels amazing to sweep them and the whole team is excited right now,” Kruidhof said. “This was a huge win for us, and our confidence going to the end of the season is high.”

LBSU came off a four set loss to UC Davis (13-11, 5-6 Big West) the night before, and were hungry for a win.

“We played well in the first set, but just lost the energy we had at the end of the game,” sophomore outside hitter Hailey Harward said. “We want to bounce back against Irvine, and show that this match was just a fluke.”

The 49ers were a completely different team the next night, and McKienzie-Fuerbringer believes it was because the starting lineup began to build chemistry.

“This is the first time we’ve had a consistent lineup the whole season, which really helped us out,” McKienzie-Fuerbringer said. “It’s been tough the whole season, but we are starting to look like our true potential.”

LBSU did not hit well in the first set with a .132 hitting percentage, but caught a break with Irvine hitting worse. The Anteaters hit a mere .108 enabling the 49ers to take advantage.

Long Beach broke out of the slump in the next set, hitting an impressive .395. Irvine would fire back with a .300 hitting percentage, but it was not enough to take the second set.

The 49ers showed the most aggression in this set, putting up 20 kills and adding two service aces.

LBSU struggled to start the third set, committing multiple errors and giving Irvine three service aces. The 49ers eventually went down by eight, but continued to push.

“They were resilient and showed some grit out there,” McKienzie-Fuerbringer said. “That’s all I can ask from them and they were able to do it.”

Long Beach State had to make a run to stop UC Irvine from shifting the momentum, and locked in for a 6-0 run to finish the sweep. The Walter Pyramid was emphatic, and the 49ers were going home with a win against their rival.

With only four more games left in the season, the 49ers next game will be at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Hawai’i.

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