Long Beach State opens Big West play with win over Cal Poly
Published: Saturday, September 22, 2012
Updated: Sunday, September 23, 2012 15:09
Sophomore middle blocker Alma Serna celebrated her birthday by leading the Long Beach State women’s volleyball team to victory Friday night.
The Beach (6-6, 1-0 Big West Conference) defeated Cal Poly (1-11, 0-1 Big West) in four sets (25-17, 23-25, 25-21, 25-14) in the Big West Conference opener.
Serna recorded a match-high 16 kills to go along with six digs and two total blocks (one solo) on .448 hitting.
After playing her first home game since returning from an ankle injury she sustained in LBSU’s opening match, Serna said she wants to help her team win in any way possible.
“I want to be a bigger impact for the team,” she said. “I want to help them out emotionally and physically. I want to be the best role model I can be and just keep going…It feels amazing coming back. I’ve been struggling with injuries and I felt 100 percent tonight and I just went all out.”
The Mustangs used a run of seven-straight points, including two service aces by junior middle blocker Megan McConnell, during the second frame to tie the match at one set apiece. The Beach responded by scoring eight of the last ten points, but it eventually fell, 23-25.
The 49ers broke the tie in third after a back-and-forth set that included 14 ties and 11 lead changes. The Beach was nursing a 22-21 advantage before scoring the final three points of the frame and capping it off with a scorching kill from senior outside hitter Janisa Johnson that went untouched by the Mustangs.
Junior setter Tara Roenicke added 45 assists, 11 digs and five kills for the Beach while hitting at a .200 clip. She was a major contributor to a 49er squad that outhit Cal Poly .345 to .160 on the night.
LBSU head coach Brian Gimmillaro said the team must eliminate unnecessary mistakes in order to improve.
“We’re good and then we’re not so good,” he said. “We have to mature.”
Outside hitter Alex Reid took advantage of some extended playing time. The freshman came up big in key situations for the ‘Niners, tallying eight kills and three digs on .438 hitting.
“Alex did great, thank goodness for Alex,” Gimmillaro said. “She’s getting better every day.”
The Mustangs were paced by freshman outside hitter Hannah Schleis, who had 15 kills on .346 hitting.
LBSU returns to the court tonight when it hosts UC Santa Barbara (7-8, 0-1 Big West) at 7 p.m. at the Walter Pyramid.