Long Beach State Volleyball

Women’s Volleyball: Long Beach State Cruises to Sweep of UC Riverside

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Long Beach State continued its excellent play at Walter Pyramid on Saturday night, recording another impressive sweep with a 25-17, 25-17, 25-14 win over UC Riverside. The win improves the Beach to 12-6 overall and 6-2 in Big West action, while UCR falls to 4-16 and 3-5.

The hosts set the tone early with six blocks in the opening set, getting five from junior Kameron Bacon, who had another strong night in the middle with six kills and seven blocks. UC Riverside ended up hitting in the negative with just 16 kills compared to 19 errors.

LBSU had 11 blocks on the night, as the Highlanders posted a -.042 hitting percentage. It’s the first time in the Tyler Hildebrand era that the Beach have held an opponent under .000 offensively.

“Our defense is the heart and soul of our team,” HIldebrand said. “And it’s what makes us so frustrating to play against. And so when you block a little bit better–a lot better this weekend–it’s hard to kill the ball against us.”

The offense wasn’t too far behind, orchestrated beautifully by sophomore setter Zayna Meyer. She just missed her season high with six kills, while also spreading the ball to a number of targets. The Beach had six hitters with 5+ kills, and hit .381 as a team. Hildebrand praised Meyer’s awareness on the court for getting her teammates involved, and how she doesn’t need much direction running the offense.

“I was thinking about that a little bit tonight, about who hasn’t gotten as many sets and just trying to always incorporate the middles.” Meyer explained. “I think that kind of leads to a balanced offense when you just incorporate the middles. And also being able to be an offensive threat myself has been the focus this week. So that was pretty exciting.”

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Junior Natalie Glenn had a team-high 10 kills on 18 swings with 0 hitting errors, good for a .556 hitting percentage. Elise Agi added eight kills while Meyer, Bacon, and Karich each had six.

The Beach also closed out sets effectively, especially in games two and three. LBSU finished the second set on a 6-0 run, then slammed the door on the Highlanders with an impressive 10-0 run to finish off the sweep. Karich was behind the line for that run, utilizing her ever-improving jump serve to rack up a pair of aces in that stretch.

“I wasn’t really planning on jump serving,” Karich admitted. “But my coach put some faith in me and then I started heating up. And yeah, it’s been cool. It definitely wasn’t the game plan from the get-go, but I’ve been really enjoying it. And I feel like I’m starting to find a rhythm with it.”

The Beach are also finding a rhythm as a team, especially at home, where they’ve won four in a row, all in straight sets. LBSU has had its fair share of lineup volatility this year thanks to injury and illness throughout the roster, but is looking to find a consistent groove with their full complement of players on the floor.

LBSU is currently tied with Hawaii for second place in the Big West as they approach the midway point of the conference schedule. The Beach will visit UC Irvine on Thursday then return home for a match against Cal State Fullerton on Saturday. Both matches are scheduled for 7 p.m.

PHOTOS: Long Beach State vs. UC Riverside, Women’s Volleyball
Tyler Hendrickson
Tyler Hendrickson was born and raised in Long Beach, and started covering sports in his hometown in 2010. After five years as a sportswriter, Tyler joined the athletic department at Long Beach State University in 2015. He spent more than four years in the athletic communications department, working primarily with the Dirtbags baseball program. Tyler also co-authored of The History of Long Beach Poly: Scholars & Champions.