Thursday, 1 June 2023

NCAA Beach Volleyball

No. 8 Cal Earns First NCAA Championship Victory

No. 8 Cal Earns First NCAA Championship Victory

Bears Top No. 9 Long Beach State 3-2

GULF SHORES, Ala. – The eighth-seeded California beach volleyball team won the first NCAA Championship dual in program history Friday morning by defeating ninth-seeded Long Beach State 3-2.
A gloomy morning at Public Beach resulted in a lightning delay of one hour and 45 minutes before teams were called back to the courts. Light rain showers turned into a heavy downpour midway through the first set, but play pursued.
It was a tight contest throughout with all five matches running simultaneously. The Golden Bears took three of the opening sets with The Beach snagging the other two.
Junior Maya Gessner and freshman Gia Fisher were the first off of the sand with a 21-13, 21-15 win on court three. Gessner posted an errorless 9-0-14 line for a .643 clip and Fisher added 13 kills, four aces and eight digs.


Long Beach was quick to respond with wins on courts five and one to take a 2-1 lead in the dual.
Cal’s court two pair of seniors Ashley Delgado and Ainsley Radell took its first set 21-18 after trading punches through the middle points. Despite trailing 16-13 in the second frame, the two Bear captains clawed their way back to win it 21-17 and tie the dual 2-2. Radell was hot on offense with 21 kills and Delgado held down the back line with 15 digs.
It came down to court four where senior Lexi McKeown and sophomore Ella Dreibholz took the first set 21-14, before dropping the second 21-19. Despite the momentum swinging in The Beach’s favor, the Bears opened up the final set of the dual on a 7-3 run and never looked back. With every patron in the stadium crowded around the court, McKeown and Dreibholz closed it out 15-8 and were mobbed by their teammates.


McKeown had a 15 kill-13 dig double and Dreibholz added an errorless 14-0-28 (.500) line with 13 digs and five aces.
No. 8 Cal 3, No. 9 Long Beach State 2
1. M. Gementera/T. Hagenar (LBSU) def. S. Caffo/L. Waters-Leiga (Cal) 21-18, 24-22

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