Our tune of the week: “Happy Days are Here Again!” Well at least game days are here again.
The 49ers being featured at home this week are the long (and lively) Beach women’s volleyball team who has invited an A-list of celebrity guests to the Pyramid this weekend.
The Beach gals, who whacked the Alumni in straight sets last weekend, play three games in a row during their Long Beach State Mizuno Invitational. It starts Friday night against the Big Ten’s Illinois, on Saturday vs. the 18th ranked Florida State Seminoles out of the tough ACC. That contest is a 7PM first whistle followed by a Sunday supper date with No. 17 Kentucky (around 5PM).
The lineup may be the best season opening tourney lineup in the land, hosting three of the best teams in the country in a round robin tournament that will be one of the national focuses in the first week of the year. The four teams featured in the 2013 AVCA Preseason Coaches Poll, with No. 17 Kentucky and No. 18 Florida State each coming in ranked, while Long Beach State and the 49ers’ first opponent, Illinois, are both receiving votes. The tournament begins for the 49ers on Friday, August 30, when the 49ers will host the Fighting Illini at 7:30PM FSU plays the other two teams earlier in the day.
Saturday will also have two matches, with the 49ers playing Florida State at 7PM following a meeting between Illinois and Kentucky. On Sunday at 5PM The Niners will try to avenge a 3-1 loss in Lexington last season. The ticket office (562-985-4949) has all sorts of plans for a little or a lot of court action. They mini is four games for $29 up to and including the chair backs for a season ticket price of $190.
The best news from the alumni match was the steady work of three veterans, Middle Blocker Haleigh Hampton, who at 6-6 and healthy controlled the front line, creative hitter Delainey Aigner-Swesey, and fresh off the DL, setter Erin Juley. Long Beach State features plenty of experience despite having just one senior, six freshmen and 10 total underclass-persons. The 49ers have three players that have utilized their redshirt seasons however in Chelsea Cabrajac, Bre Mackie and Tyler Jackson as well as All-American candidate Chisom Okpala–an impressive veteran core of players to try to dial in seven new players.
The other entry active this weekend is on the road where LBSU takes their first road trip of the season starting at No. 23 Santa Clara for a 7PM showdown Thursday. The second part of that trip is to saddle up for a Lone Star State shootout with No. 23 Texas Tech on Sunday. Kick-off is set for 4:30PM (PDT).
Santa Clara (0-2-0), which was ranked 23rd in the Soccer America poll and was receiving votes in the NSCAA poll, faced a pair of top-10 teams in its opening weekend at the Klöckner Classic, which was held at the University of Virginia. The Broncos started the tournament with a 2-0 loss against No. 1 North Carolina, before suffering a 4-0 defeat to the seventh-ranked Cavaliers. SCU totaled eight shots in the two games, and was led by Sofia Huerta’s two attempts, both of which were on target. Andi Tostanoski saw most of the action in front of the net, compiling 11 saves.
Long Beach State trails in its all-time series with Santa Clara, 1-5-0. The Broncos edged the 49ers, 2-1, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Buck Shaw Stadium last year (Nov. 10, 2012). Santa Clara also narrowly defeated LBSU, 1-0, in the 2010 NCAA Tournament at Stanford. The other four meetings took place in the 1980s.
Texas Tech (2-0-0) opened the 2013 season with a pair of wins, defeating New Mexico, 1-0, before toppling Colorado State, 6-0. Jessica Disabella led the attack with two goals and one assist. She scored the game-winner against the Lobos in the 86th minute. Hayley Haagsma also found the back of the net twice vs. Colorado State, while goalkeeper Victoria Esson did not allow a goal in 136 minutes played. The Red Raiders were ranked 23rd in the most recent NSCAA poll.
Long Beach State trails in its short series with Texas Tech, 0-1-0. The two teams met for the first time last year at the Under Armour Invitational in Fullerton. The Red Raiders scored the game-winner with 31 seconds left in the second and final overtime for the 3-2 win. Eileen Maes accounted for both of the 49ers’ goals. Maes is clearly on the top of the watch list for opponents this season. She is the senior replacing the great Nadia Link and led the 49ers with four shots in that taut 2013 season opening loss to Northern Arizona. The Beach was busy and outshot the Lumberjacks 13-4, but alas close doesn’t count except in horseshoes, dancing and hand grenades.
Back to the dust part of Dust Plus, insiders expect you to like the work of Darren McCaughan, a senior infielder-outfielder at Los Alamitos, who committed to Long Beach State. He is a teammate of Adam Zunino’s son AJ Zunino, who along with Doug Shea, are the unofficial Los Al posse in the box seats at Blair.
Wrapping up. There might have been 7,000 reasons why the sea level 49er soccer team lost to the mountain girls of Northern Arizona University. As in the 7,000 feet elevation that the Lady Lumberjacks train in amidst the mountains of Flagstaff. Despite out-shooting its opponent, a youthful Long Beach State women’s soccer team came up just short in its season opener, falling 1-0 to Northern Arizona Friday evening at George Allen Field. The 49ers, which have 12 true freshmen on their roster, started five first-year players on Friday night.
The 49ers were in attack mode from the opening whistle as they had eight shots before NAU got its first look. Maes had two of the team’s best chances as her header attempt off a corner from Rangel went just high at the 6:15 mark. Twelve minutes later, Maes had another header that hit the crossbar and Rangel’s attempt on the rebound went wide. Long Beach State ended up out shooting the Lumberjacks, 9-2, in the first half.
Northern Arizona (1-0-0) broke the scoreless tie in the 46th minute when Haley Wingender drove into the box and found Malia Tano on her right side, who scored on one-touch to the far post. Maes came close to knotting it up at the 77:09 mark, but NAU goalkeeper Lauren Weaver made a diving stop and the Lumberjacks were able to hold on for the win.
Closing Quote from the golf course. I asked a famous retired 49er coach this question after I noticed Tiger Woods wincing with a bad back and still had to bend way down to get his golf ball out of the cup. I asked “could his caddy do that work? And if so, any penalty? “No penalty for this, just ridicule!”—DR. DAN
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