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COLUMN: One for the road, but not enough to compete

Winning road games is what sets Long Beach apart from being a great team.

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COLUMN: One for the road, but not enough to compete

Freshmen setter Carly Aigner-Swesy looks toward her teammates junior outside hitter Hailey Harward and junior middle blocker YiZhi Xue.

Freshmen setter Carly Aigner-Swesy looks toward her teammates junior outside hitter Hailey Harward and junior middle blocker YiZhi Xue.

Austin Brumblay | Daily 49er

Freshmen setter Carly Aigner-Swesy looks toward her teammates junior outside hitter Hailey Harward and junior middle blocker YiZhi Xue.

Austin Brumblay | Daily 49er

Austin Brumblay | Daily 49er

Freshmen setter Carly Aigner-Swesy looks toward her teammates junior outside hitter Hailey Harward and junior middle blocker YiZhi Xue.

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Long Beach State women’s volleyball isn’t what it used to be. It’s not a dominant team that owns the Big West and wins NCAA championships. The 49ers are on a rebuild, and the biggest obstacle is their ability to win games on the road.

One week ago, the Long Beach State women’s volleyball team was looking like a strong contender in the Big West conference. It had won six of its last seven games, with its lone loss to UCLA and was playing better volleyball compared to last year.

The players looked happier on the floor, had a solid rotation and looked competitive in the Big West.

If the first two games were any indication of what the season might look like, this past weekend was a grim reminder of the struggles the team faced last year. Long Beach lost its momentum somewhere on the trip from SoCal to Santa Barbara, proving that while it is better than its last season, there’s still room for improvement.

Winning road games are what set good teams apart from great teams, and if Long Beach wants to compete in the Big West again it has to carry its dominance past the pyramid.

Long Beach can’t rely on its legacy to make a name for itself in the conference. It has to start winning key games to prove it belongs back among the top teams. Winning will attract the kind of recruits it used to in its glory days.

The team went into the conference with high hopes after racking up some wins against Lamar University and Fresno State. Despite the 3-1 loss against UCLA, the team looks better than it has in years, but the Big West is being ruled by No. 13 Cal Poly and Long Beach is smack in the middle of the standings with its .500 record.

The 49ers have already proven they can handle the lower tier teams with their 3-0 and 3-2 wins against UC Riverside and CSUN, respectively.

If Long Beach wants to prove itself as a worthy contender in the Big West, it has to show it can hold itself up on the road.

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