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Long Beach State continued to stay hot Saturday night, defeating Cal State Fullerton 25-16, 25-13, 25-16. The Beach’s sweep makes it 12 consecutive sets won, putting them at a record of 14-6 overall and 8-2 in conference play.
“I think we’re on a hot streak of things clicking with what we’ve been working on for a long time,” said head coach Tyler Hildebrand. “When you get to work on a lot of things all the time and you see all of this improvement consistently, that’s the hot streak I feel like we’re on.”
LBSU hung onto an early lead in the first set as they cruised through the period with zero lead changes. Katie Kennedy made an immediate impact, hitting at an efficient .800 in the first set earning 4 kills with 0 hitting errors. She finished the night with 11 kills on .529 hitting, as well as game-highs of 14.5 points and 7 blocks.
“I think it’s just been easy to feel freed up on this team with the culture, teammates and coaches, and the way we work hard and practice,” said Kennedy of her consistency. “It translates to the game and it’s really nice to have teammates that have my back…It’s been really fun.”
Outside hitters Abby Karich and Natalia Glenn also contributed to another consistent night for the Beach, as LBSU hit over .300 in each of the three sets. Karich racked up 10 kills on .350 hitting, while Glenn added another 8 kills hitting .438 to go along with her 5 digs, 4 blocks, and 1 ace.
The pair were set up all night by standout setter Zayna Meyer, who dished the ball around all night per-usual racking up 30 assists as well as 5 kills on .444 hitting with 8 digs.
“It starts there with passing. Meyer is as good as any setter in the country. She does a good job and blocks have a really hard time dealing with her, so it starts from Meyer and then to our hitters,” said Hildebrand.
“I’ve just started to feel the block a lot more than I used to, and then also focusing on defense,” said Meyer. “That’s been my focus, dialing in on floor defense instead of solely focusing on setting because the setting will come.”
The Beach have their second wave of Big West matchups coming up as they’ll look to stay near the top of the conference rankings.
“Our theme recently has been ‘job’s not done’. That continues to be the theme and we’re on a journey to the Big West tournament and the NCAA tournament, so we just want to take it game by game but also keep our goal towards what we’re looking at for the end of the season,” said Kennedy.
With winning 15 straight sets at the Walter Pyramid, LBSU has picked up some steam at home heading into those final matchups. Their remaining schedule however features six of their eight final games on the road, a potential test for one of the hottest home teams in the conference.
“That was something we talked about a lot, which is that we have something to prove on the road and we want to take what we’ve been doing at home to those away games,” said Kennedy. “I’m excited to continue to remind each other and use it as fuel to perform our best when we’re at other gyms. We’re really lucky to play in this environment at the Pyramid with the fans, but I think we can prove ourselves with how well we perform in other environments as well.”
LBSU’s first of their coming road games comes against UC Riverside on Thursday at 6:00 PM.