The No. 1 Long Beach State men’s volleyball team had their last practice on Tuesday before the NCAA Tournament starts on Thursday. Read more below:
Sunday’s Big West Conference series finale between No. 17 LBSU and visiting Cal Poly was an emotional roller coaster for the 49ers. They came in riding high after a walkoff win and a no-hitter on Saturday, but were humbled in a 4-1 loss to the Mustangs before leaving the field crying when second baseman Grayce Majam got engaged in the circle during the senior day celebration.
And @LBSUSoftball senior day ends with this question for Grayce Majam… she said yes. https://t.co/IpwbKgDJlG
“I can’t really remember what he said or what happened, but it was super exciting,” Majam said after saying yes to her boyfriend of eight years, Isaiah. “That was perfect. Softball has been a big part of my life, so combining the two when I’m finishing my season, but starting my new season of life, is perfect.”
Seniors Majam, LT Torres, Julia Lombardi, Jessica Flores, Hannah Cookson, Rachel Loera, Lauren Lombardi and Lauren MacLeod were all honored after their last game at the LBSU Softball Complex.
“It was a special day, we’re excited for Grayce and it was emotional for all of us,” LBSU coach Kim Sowder said. “Unfortunately we didn’t play very good softball today. We struggled in every area of the game. Sports will humble you real quick.”
LBSU committed three errors in the loss, and gave Cal Poly (23-21, 7-8) a lead with three unearned runs. Starter Cielo Meza didn’t get out of the third inning, and continues to struggle after her hot start to the season.
“She’s got to work through a few things mentally,” Sowder said of Meza. “She has had some control issues. But she’s a competitor and is working very hard to get her control back. I don’t think it’s mechanical.”
The 49ers (38-10, 12-3) only mustered four hits on Sunday, and stranded 11 runners on base. They loaded the bases in the seventh, and twice put the tying run on base.
“We’re playing to try and get better while winning every day,” Sowder said. “We need to finish the season strong to get a little bit of momentum headed into the postseason.”
On Saturday, LBSU won the series opener with a walkoff hit from Nichole Fry. Flores outdid that by pitching her first career no-hitter in the second game. Fry had the only RBI in the 1-0 win, and Flores was named Big West Pitcher of the Week.
LBSU trailed 2-0 in the first game after Cal Poly chased Meza in the fifth inning. Fry scored Majam in the bottom of the inning to cut the lead in half.
LT Torres started the seventh with a double, and Majam followed with a double of her own to tie the game 2-2. After a sacrifice bunt and a walk put runners on the corners, Fry hit a ball to left field to bring home the 3-2 winning run in Majam.
In the second game, Flores (9-1) allowed just three base runners on two walks and an error. She was hit by a pitch in the third, and after a single moved her to second, Fry plated her with a single for her third RBI of the day.
“I’m so proud of these seniors, they’ve done a great job of leading,” Sowder said. “They made the commitment to put in all the work, and they’re obviously good softball players, but more importantly they’re good people.”
The No. 17 national ranking is the highest for LBSU in 10 years.
Despite beating No. 4 Cal Poly twice, No. 6 LBSU (26-8) couldn’t find a way past host Hawaii in the Big West Conference championship over the weekend and finished second. The 49ers were then passed up for the 2018 National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship at Gulf Shores, Ala., this week.
The LBSU duo of Sasha Karelov and Nele Barber reached the finals of the first annual pairs championship, which gave Nieto her school-record 85th career win.
Women’s Water Polo
No. 17 LBSU (13-14, 2-3) finished third at the Big West Conference Tournament at UC Irvine over the weekend. The 49ers defeated UC Santa Barbara in the first round, and lost to Hawaii in the semifinals before beating UC Davis in the third-place game. Sophomore Maria Mimidi and senior Virginia Smith both scored three goals in the 11-8 win over the Aggies.
Tori Morrissey was named Big West First Team this week after leading LBSU with 46 points this season, scoring 30 goals and a team-best 16 assists. Senior center Alexandra Massier and sophomore goalkeeper Eirini Patras were named to the second team. Massier led LBSU with 42 goals. Patras, who was the defending Big West Freshman of the Year, made 24 starts and recorded 132 saves. Smith was named to the Honorable Mention team, and freshman Julia Silvestri was named to the inaugural All-Freshman team after scoring 10 goals on 22 shots.
Freshman Carlota Casasampere scored the only point for the 49ers at the Big West Conference Tournament in Indian Wells last week during their first-round loss to Hawaii. Casasampere won 6-2, 6-1 in singles.
Track & Field
The 49ers won three track events and two field events, last Saturday at the Steve Scott Invitational in Irvine. The women’s 4×100 relay team started the day with a win, and member Ashleigh Chambers also won the 200m. Daniel York-Mouton won the 400m, Jason Smith won the triple jump with a season-high of 14.93 meters and Bria Palmer won the women’s high jump as the only competitor to clear 1.73 meters.