Titans See 2-0 Lead Slip Away, Drop Road Match to 49ers
Long Beach, Calif. - Delainey Aigner-Swesey logged 13 of her match-high 25 kills in the final three sets as Long Beach State rallied back from a 2-0 deficit to beat visiting Cal State Fullerton, 3-2, in a Big West Conference volleyball match at the Walter Pyramid Friday night.
The 25-20, 25-21, 13-25, 19-25, 13-15 loss for Fullerton continued a winless streak at The Pyramid (since 1994) and in Long Beach that dates back to September of 1982.
The Titans (9-8, 2-3), having snapped a 59-match losing streak to the 49ers (10-9, 3-3) just last season, had Long Beach on the ropes before the break. They hit .311 and .324 respectively in sets one and two, but never hit over .207 the rest of the way. The home team came out with a vengeance in set three accumulating seven points before Fullerton posted its first tally. The 49ers finished the third set with a whoping .451 attack percentage.
Long Beach led wire to wire in set three and never looked back in set four after taking the lead 8-7 on an Chisom Okpala kill. The Titans hung close but a 5-0 run midway through set four proved costly, as the 49ers forced a fifth and deciding set.
A couple of kills by Bre Moreland and one by Leah Best got the Titans even at 13-13 in the short fifth set, but after a 49er timeout, a Titan service error and a block by Okpala sealed the deal and kept the home winning streak against Fullerton alive.
Aigner-Swesey led all players with 25 kills and was trailed by Okpala (13 kills), Alex Reid (11 kills) and Bre Mackie (10 kills) for the 49ers. Okpala hit a dominant .571 in 21 swings.
The Titans had four players in double-digit kills led by Moreland, who posted her sixth double-double of the year. She added a career- and match-high 25 digs in the loss. Best was one kill off a career high with 17 kills and hit a solid .351. Alyse Hensley, who was a force early with 10 kills in the first two sets, finished with 15, and Holland Crenshaw added 10.
Junior setter Julie Consani reached the 50-assist mark for the fifth time this season with 56 on the night, and logged her sixth double-double of the year also grabbing 12 digs.
Long Beach was dominant at the net with Aigner-Swesey leading the way with a share of seven stuffs. Okpala added six including one solo. Best was tops for Fullerton, getting a hand on three blocks.
McKenna Painton, the Big West leader in digs per set, scooped up 22 kill attempts Friday night, marking her sixth, 20-plus dig night.
The Titans will look to even their Big West standing up tomorrow night in Irvine. The Titans take on the Anteaters of UC Irvine in a 7 p.m. match at The Bren Center on Saturday.
Notes: Fullerton is now 5-63 against Long Beach since 1980 and 1-61 over its last 62 meetings… This is the second time this season Fullerton has lost a match in which they led 2-0. The other was on Sept. 22 against American at Titan Gym… On Oct. 4, the Titans at home against UC Davis, went up 2-0 only to have the Aggies force a fifth set. Fullerton won that one, 3-2… Fullerton is now 2-3 in five-set matches…. Julie Consani was five off her career high with 56 assists on the night. She is now 146 assists away from climbing to No. 6 on the Titans' all-time Top 10. Consani now has 1,626 assists in her career.