Long Beach State’s 1988 national championship-winning women’s volleyball team – a team that featured two-time Olympic gold medalist Misty May-Treanor – was honored in front of 1,694 fans at the Walter Pyramid on Friday night.
When the current squad took the court, they played like a dream team, as the 49ers (17-4, 6-2) knocked off the Aggies (10-12, 2-7) in three sets 25-15, 25-17, 25-15.
“The night honored the ‘Dream Team’ of Long Beach,” said head coach Jamie Holmes. Their team was the first to go undefeated and not only had Misty May on their squad, but a couple other girls that played for the indoor Olympic team.
“Player for player, they’re better than us. And we just didn’t have an answer for their athleticism.”
The 49ers hit .382 with five aces behind the serving line on the night, while the Aggies managed a .085 hitting percentage with eight serving errors.
“Our attackers weren’t being smart and the setters weren’t putting us in a position to be successful,” Holmes said. “We were just too predictable.”
A pair of kills from senior Renee Ibekwe at the start of the match propelled the Aggies to an early 2-0 lead – their only lead of the game. Long Beach came back with an answer in the form of outside hitter Quincey Verdin, who slammed down seven of her team-leading 13 kills for the match, leading the 49ers to victory.
In the second set, UC Davis hung tough with the 49ers, forcing four early errors to tie the score at six. Seven straight points later, the 49ers had opened up a 13-6 lead thanks to three of the Aggies 13 attack errors on the night.
Freshman outside hitter Caitlin Ledoux recorded the final three 49ers points to give Long Beach State the edge in the second set – only one game away from completing the sweep.
And for the ninth time this season, the 49ers did just that.
Long Beach State hit .524 with 12 kills and only one error in the third set to put a fork in the Aggies.
Ibekwe stayed consistent for UC Davis in the third set, recording three more kills to add to her previous total of six.
UC Davis will look to rebound when it hosts UC Santa Barbara (9-11, 5-4,) and Cal Poly (13-7, 8-1) at the Pavilion on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, respectively.
“As always, I want us to be much better at ball handling,” Holmes said. “We have to run an unpredictable offense. That’s the only way I see this team being successful.”
MATT MILLER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.