Long Beach State Drops Pepperdine In First Round

12/5/2008

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STANFORD, Calif. - Riding out a hot start from No. 23 Pepperdine (20-8), No. 24 Long Beach State (26-5) battled to win the second set and rolled in two more sets to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament 18-25, 25-23, 25-15, 25-18. Senior setter Nicole Vargas led the way for the 49ers, finishing with six kills, 39 assists, seven blocks and 13 digs while guiding the 49ers to .278 hitting.

Vargas also did a good job of spreading out the offense for the 49ers, as Caitlin Ledoux and Quincy Verdin each had 11 kills to tie for the team lead, while Brittney Herzog and Naomi Washington each had 8. Julie Rubenstein carried the load for the Waves, finishing with 23 kills on .378 hitting.

The Waves took the early advantage, as the Waves hit over .400 over the first two sets, including a second set where Pepperdine hit .457 with 20 kills. Despite the high efficiency for the Waves, the 49ers took the second set by only making one error while hitting .436 themselves.

The first set was all Pepperdine, as the waves opened up with a 9-4 lead and never looked back. Taking a nine point lead at 20-11, the 49ers recovered to 21-15, but Pepperdine closed out the first set 25-18. Pepperdine.

Long Beach State finally took their first lead in the match at 9-8 in the second set, but Pepperdine continued to hit at a high rate, keeping the set close throughout. The teams battled to ties at 22 and 23, leading to a Long Beach State timeout. The 49ers hit Ledoux for a kill out of the break to take the lead, and finished out the set with a Washington-Vargas block.

Taking the momentum from the set two win out of the locker room, Long Beach State did a better job on Rubenstein defensively in the final two sets, limiting her to seven kills while taking easy wins in both sets. Long Beach State took a six point lead at 13-7 after a Iris Murray ace in set three, never looking back and took and 8-5 lead on the way to a 25-18 set four win to take the match. The Beach never trailed in the final two sets.
 
Long Beach State will play the winner of the second match in at Stanford, featuring the host Cardinal against Albany. The 49ers continue NCAA Tournament play tomorrow at 7 p.m. in Maples Pavilion.

Article courtesy of Long Beach State athletics.

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