The Long Beach State women’s volleyball team has had an up-and-down non-conference schedule that featured impressive wins, baffling losses, and proof that the team is capable on any given night of beating anyone in the Big West. It was no surprise that Long Beach handled UC Riverside easily in its Big West opener, sweeping them 25-17, 25-21, 25-20.
Long Beach outhit the visitors .295 to .164 and put up 11 blocks in the match including six in a dominant first set win.
“It’s definitely nice that we played against the teams that we did,” said senior transfer outside hitter Tyler Spriggs, who had nine kills, nine digs, an ace and a block in the win. “It gave us a gauge for our ceiling and our potential to break it. We know we can compete with the best of the best.”
Riverside certainly doesn’t qualify as the best of the best with an 5-7 record, but it was impressive that Long Beach dominated the match the way they were expected to, taking just 91 minutes to do away with the competition.
Erie Xue led the way with 11 kills on .588 hitting with five blocks. Emma Kirst was dominant in the middle with six blocks.
“I’m really happy to start off conference with a home match and I’m really happy with our performance to start off,” said coach Joy McKienzie-Fuerbringer. “I’m proud of their performance tonight.”
Long Beach used both setters with freshman Carly Aigner-Swesey putting up 27 assists (at a .482 clip) and Mina Andjelkovic notching 11 (.306). Keying the entire performance was a strong passing effort from Long Beach that saw three players with nine digs or more.
“We set up both of our setters to connect with our middles,” said Hailey Harward, who led the way with 14 digs.
Long Beach State (9-5) will hit the road to continue Big West play, visiting CSUN Saturday at 7 p.m.