Screen Shot 2022-10-08 at 7.10.04 PM
Long Beach State Volleyball

Long Beach State Volleyball Completes Five-Set Comeback in CSUN Thriller

The562’s coverage of Long Beach State Volleyball is sponsored by Naples Island Car Wash. Visit NaplesIslandCarWash.comto learn more.

The562’s coverage of Long Beach State athletics for the 2022-23 season is sponsored by Marilyn Bohl.

Between Disneyland, Six Flags Magic Mountain, and Knott’s Berry Farm, Southern California is home to plenty of iconic rollercoasters. This Fall, there’s been another one–inside the Walter Pyramid, every time the Long Beach State women’s volleyball team plays. The Beach were once again a highwire act on Saturday night, dropping the first two sets against CSUN before coming back to win in five in a reverse sweep, 21-25, 23-25, 25-17, 25-17, 15-6.

First-year Beach coach Tyler Hildebrand has learned to accept the ups and downs of having a young team playing with new coaches, and to have faith that the downs will be followed by ups.

“Walking into the locker room after the second set I told them you’ve all got your cell phones, text your parents and tell them we’re going to be here till 10,” said Hildebrand.

The Beach were boosted by career nights from Katie Kennedy, who had 23 kills on .441 hitting, and setter Zayna Meyer, who had 62 assists.

“I was pretty proud of how we handled ourselves (after falling behind),” said Kennedy. “You can go into the locker room kind of hanging your heads or with a lot of fire. We went in neutral and talking about what we needed to do…I just had faith and trust in my teammates.”

The Beach hit .233 and .132 in the first two sets and then .393, .294, and .556 in the three sets they won. Although they were playing well in some facets of the game, they couldn’t slow Northridge down early, as the Matadors hit .375 in the opening set. Meyer said that with the way the Beach were playing she knew the scoreboard would come around.

“I was pretty confident after the first two sets we’d do a reverse sweep, we know the team we are and what we’re capable of,” she said.

The biggest reason for the turnaround was service pressure, as the Beach were able to get Northridge out of system after the first two sets. The Matadors hit .000 in the third and fifth sets and just .192 in the fourth.

Tia Chavira and Kailia Lopez were both excellent from the end line in the sets the Beach won, helping to break Northridge’s rhythm. And with Meyer getting good balls to set, she found Kennedy for 23 kills, Morgan Chacon for 20 kills, Jaylen Jordan for 13, and fed middles Callie Schwarzenbach and Kameron Bacon for 14 kills as well.

The win was the Beach’s second in a row in Big West play, and brings their overall record to 8-6, and 3-3 in conference, bringing them up from seventh place in league to a four-way tie for fourth place. 

Long Beach will travel to UC San Diego on Friday next week and then host UC Irvine on Saturday.

VIDEO: Long Beach State vs. Cal State Northridge, NCAA Women’s Volleyball
Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.