#1 Long Beach State Tops Notre Dame Volleyball
Irish stand tough in second game, await Sunday's NCAA tournament pairings
Long Beach, Calif.- The #1 ranked Long Beach State volleyball team extended its winning streak to 21 matches with a 15-3, 15-13, 15-5 victory over visiting Notre Dame in the final match of the Beach State Thanksgiving Tournament held Saturday night at the Pyramid.
Notre Dame (23-8) made some noise in the second game against the 49ers squad that has won 91 of 97 individual games this season and has allowed 13 or more points in just 17 of those 97 games. Senior hitter Jaimie Lee led the Irish with 13 kills on .194 hitting but Notre Dame hit just .127 as a team while allowing LBSU .330 hitting and a 14-6 block advantage. The 49ers also owned a 7-2 ace advantage.
The Irish-who clinched their sixth straight NCAA Tournament bid with last week's BIG EAST Title-now await Sunday night's announcement of the 56-team NCAA Tournament field and pairings. The top eight seeds will receive a first-round bye and play host to three-team sub-regionals while the #9-#16 seeds will host four-team sub-regionals. The 24 first-round matches will be held Dec 4-4 while the 16 second-round matches will be Dec. 6-7.
Long Beach State (30-1) has posted 27 three-game wins this season, including nine straight since a 3-1 win over UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 4.
LBSU claimed the first game behind a .444 team hitting pct. that included six kills from Anja Grabovac and five from Benishe Dillard. Lee had seven of her kills in the opening game but the other Irish players had eight kills and eight errors on 33 swings in the opening game.
Senior hitter Angie Harris served three straight points for a 4-1 lead in the second game, with Mary Leffers converting a slide attack and knocking down an overpass in that stretch. The Irish capitalized on LBSU errors and a backrow kill from Harris to go ahead 7-4 before Dillard served three straight for a 7-7 tie. Notre Dame then went ahead 9-7, followed by three straight points from the 49ers, before Harris put down a kill for a 10-10 game.
LBSU stretched ahead 13-10 but the Irish then fought off four straight 49er bids for game point. Lee served three straight points to tie the game, with Leffers stuffing an overpass, Lindsay Treadwell hitting off the block and Harris knocking down an overpass. But LBSU setter Misty May came up with a kill to end a long rally and LBSU closed out the game, with Dillard and May blocking Harris and harris hitting wide for the final point.
LBSU made quick work of the third game, jumping out to a 9-0 lead while holding the Irish to -.091 hitting in the final game.
Harris had nine kills but also 11 errors on 33 swings while seeing her Irish record for consecutive matches with double-digit kills end a t 17. Harris had seven digs to give her 992 in her career, just eight shy of becoming the sixth member of Notre Dame's 1.000-kills/1.000-digs club.
Leffers (.190) and Treadwell (.333) both had seven kills for the Irish while Grabovac and Dillard led a balanced LBSU attack with 10 kills each. Jenn Snyder added nine kills for LBSU while May, Veronica Walls and Nique Crump each chipped in eight kills.