LONG BEACH, CA September 14, 2013 – College of Charleston fought valiantly in the third and fourth sets, but could not overcome an early deficit and lost 3-1 to Long Beach State (14-25, 19-25, 27-25, 21-25) for CofC’s first loss of the 2013 season.
The Cougars (8-1) won a nail-biting third set and nearly took the fourth, but ultimately could not overcome Long Beach State (4-4) who won the first two sets in strong fashion. The 49ers had received votes in the AVCA Top 25 poll earlier this season.
CofC came into the match averaging a nearly .300 team hitting percentage, but 30 attacking errors had Charleston smarting with a mere .128 hitting mark in the loss. LBSU hit .252 for its part, led by Delainey Aigner-Swesey’s match-high 16 kills.
Darcy Dorton terminated 12 balls and had 10 digs, but also made eight errors in the match. Sloane White continued her strong day in the Walter Pyramid with 11 kills and a .429 hitting percentage. She also had two aces, including a set-winner in the third. Melissa Morello had 10 kills, but nine errors hampered her percentage as well.
Charleston started slow in the first set, allowing the 49ers to jump out to a 5-1 lead. Kills from White, Morello and Koehler rallied CofC back to an 11-9 deficit, but a 6-2 LBSU run opened the set up. Charleston could not side out and Long Beach finished with a 25-14 set win. Charleston committed nine hitting errors in the first set, and the 49ers finished with a .346 hitting mark. White was the only Cougar with multiple kills (3) in the frame.
It was a late 49er run that downed CofC in the second set as both teams traded points throughout the first half of the set. A kill from Morello and block from Neideffer made it a 17-16 game, but Long Beach State scored seven straight points to force set point. Charleston reeled off three in a row but it wasn’t enough as The Beach won, 25-19.
After an early four-point deficit, Charleston continued to fight through the third set to pull even with the 49ers. The equalizer finally came on an attack error from LBSU to make it 18-18. Charleston had game point at 24-23 after a White kill, but Long Beach tied it up and the set went to extra points. Charleston pulled ahead for good when Maddie Hills and Morello combined for a block and a White serve found the floor for the set-winning ace, 27-25.
The fourth set played similarly to the third with both teams siding out and finding momentum from big kills. Charleston tied the score at 20, but a LBSU kill and White error put the 49ers up by two. After a fierce rally, Morello smashed a drive down the line which was called out and Charleston could not overcome the momentum shift, falling 25-21 in the fourth.
CofC finishes the California trip with a match at Loyola Marymount tomorrow night at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.