It was homecoming night in the Walter Pyramid, as the Long Beach State women’s volleyball team played their evening home opener against Seattle U. The 49ers were also looking across the net at assistant coaches Delainey Gregory and Taylor Gregory, the husband-wife tandem of coaches who are both Long Beach State alums. Delainey’s little sister, Carly Aigner-Swesey, played at setter for the 49ers and helped to guide them to a 25-17, 25-18, 19-25, 25-18 win.
Junior middle blocker YiZhi Xue had a career night with 15 kills on just 18 swings, hitting .778; she also had seven blocks. Aigner-Swesey had 41 assists and looked much smoother than she did last weekend in Portland, when the team went 1-2 to open the season.
“I’m really proud of how we showed up today,” said 49ers coach Joy McKienzie-Fuerbringer, who is maneuvering her team in the direction of a two-setter system with Mina Andjelkovic. “We’d like to use both setters, it lets us get another hitter on the net. Right now I think we’re starting to get in sync with Carly.”
The 49ers opened on a 10-0 run and won the first two sets easily. There was a nice crowd on hand including a large contingent from the 2018 NCAA champion LBSU men’s volleyball team; the women’s team was often on hand to cheer them on during their championship run.
“It’s fun because we’re all at the men’s games, cheering and having a good time,” said Hailey Harward, who had nine kills and 10 digs in the win. “They understand the game so well, too, they know what to cheer for. It makes it really fun.”
Freshman libero Carly Hill had 12 digs in the match.
The 49ers host a professional team from Shanghai on Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. in an exhibition match. That’s particularly exciting for Xue, a Chinese national.
“When I heard, I was shocked because they’re really good and they’re really famous,” she said. “It’s a chance for me to gain more experience–and to talk to them.”
The 49ers will continue their season this weekend in Eugene for the Oregon Classic.