Catch up on everything happening with Long Beach State athletics this week.
LBSU (8-5) is coming off of its best week of the young season. The 49ers took a set off of No. 16 UCLA on Thursday before beating Lamar and Fresno State over the weekend in the Mizuno Invitational at Walter Pyramid.
“I’m really proud of the execution,” coach Joy McKienzie-Fuerbringer said. “I thought we played well. I’m never satisfied with losing. Being two points away against a ranked opponent shows how far we’ve come, but we have to get those two points.”
LBSU had almost 1,500 fans in attendance for the match, and played their best contest of the season, holding the Bruins to .210 hitting while hitting .199 themselves. Junior libero/hitter Hailey Harward led LBSU with 16 kills, 14 digs, two aces and a block.
On Friday night against Lamar, LBSU picked up a 25-11, 25-19, 23-25, 25-9 win by putting down 51 kills on 89 attacks for a .461 hitting percentage. Harward, freshman Kashauna Williams, and senior Megan Kruidhof each registered 10 kills in the match as Harward hit .750 and Kruidof, a Lakewood High alum, posted a .474 hitting percentage.
In the last nonconference match of the season on Saturday against Fresno State, LBSU had four players in double figures during a 25-22, 19-25, 25-13, 19-25, 15-12 victory. Freshman Allison Martinez and senior Tyler Spriggs led the way with 12 kills apiece while junior YiZhi Xue and Williams added 10 kills each.
Martinez hit .577 in the three matches and was named Big West Freshman of the Week. LBSU senior Emma Kirst averaged 1.23 blocks per set to limit opponents to .163 hitting.
LBSU (5-4) has lost its four games to Top 15 teams in the nation after falling at No. 3 USC 3-0 on Friday, but the Beach bounced back on Monday with a 3-1 victory at BYU.
In the 65th minute senior Dana Fujikuni drew a foul in the box, and Ashley Gonzales’ penalty kick goal tied the game. Her 32 career goals are tied for second all-time at LBSU with Nadia Link and Kim Silos. Junior Taylor Bistline scored in the 79th minute from outside the box, and sophomore Rola Badawiya capped the scoring five minutes later.
LBSU is back at George Allen Field for the first time in three games on Saturday at 7 p.m. against Loyola Marymount. The 49ers have won all four of their games at home. Loyola Marymount (2-6-2) is 6-1 all-time against LBSU, and the Beach’s only win came on the road in 2013. The Lions have won all three matches since then by a combined score of 5-1.
Former Dirtbags shortstop Garret Hampson hit .300 in his first seven games with the Colorado Rockies after being called up to make his debut in July. He’s become a pinch hitter in the last two months, and scored a run for the Rockies in their loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday. It was the first time Hampson, 23, played an MLB game in California after sitting for three games in San Francisco. He has six hits in 23 at bats, and will get the start at shortstop tonight at Chavez Ravine.
LBSU received an important verbal commitment from 6’5” shooting guard Rodney “R.J.” Rhoden last week. The Mainland High senior led his team to the Florida 7A regional finals last year.
Men’s Water Polo
LBSU (6-2) lost its only game of the week at No. 3 Cal 9-6 on Saturday. Senior Chandler Kaltenbach and junior Austin Stewart led the Beach with a pair of goals each in the game. LBSU will face its second consecutive Top 5 opponent on Friday night as it returns to Ken Lindgren Aquatics Center for its first true home game against No. 2 UCLA (11-0).
Both LBSU men’s and women’s teams finished in the Top 10 at the UC Riverside Invitational last weekend. Senior Trevor Stangle led the men for the second race in a row, while sophomore Taylor Owen was the top finisher for the women in her 2018 debut.
LBSU finished eighth at the Ram Masters Invitational on Tuesday, while freshman Tyler Schafer shot a 2-over round of 72 on Tuesday to lead the Beach. LBSU will continue its fall season next week in Sammamish, Wash. for the Husky Invitational, hosted by the University of Washington.
LBSU is ninth at the Ptarmigan Ram Classic heading into Wednesday’s final round. Freshman Hunter Pate and Euna Pak are tied for eighth individually.
LBSU opens its fall season in Nevada this weekend for the annual UNLV tournament that runs Friday through Sunday.