Men's Volleyball, Sports

Women’s volleyball faces important road trip this weekend

Of all the important road trips the Long Beach State women’s volleyball team has ventured to this year, the one it will face this weekend could prove to be the most important.

The ‘Niners straight-set victory over Cal State Fullerton last Saturday night guaranteed them at least a share of the Big West Conference championship, and one win on the upcoming road trip would etch their name into the history books.

The Beach (17-6, 11-2 Big West) will matchup against the University of the Pacific and UC Davis on their Northern California swing.

The ‘Niners have a chance to lock up sole possession of the Big West title, and they need only one victory to make the NCAA Tournament for the 25th consecutive time —only one other team in NCAA history has accomplished that feat. With their current win streak at nine matches, the ‘Niners have the chance to extend it to 11 games with two wins.

Head coach Brian Gimmillaro said that his team is focused on taking it one game at a time.

“UOP. (University of the Pacific) is our focus,” he said. “In volleyball, you prepare for Friday night and Friday night you play for Saturday night, and right now it’s all UOP”

Gimmillaro also said he is expecting these two teams to be at their best, with big crowds on hand hoping for an upset of the heavily-favored Long Beach squad.

“They’re (the Tigers) very good at home; they’ve always been good at home,” he said.

“This is an exciting game for us, and it’s an exciting game for them,” Gimmilaro said. We’re still good enough that people are excited to play us, and they will have a very good crowd.”

Both UC Davis (20-8, 6-7 Big West) and Pacific (16-10, 7-6 Big West) boast solid records, but The Beach defeated both teams earlier this season in four sets.

Gimmillaro said he expects an even larger crowd on Saturday against Davis.

“The next night (Saturday) up at Davis, they’re expecting a gigantic crowd,” he said. “They have a football game (that same night) and they’re talking about bringing all those people over, which they did one time before.”

Gimmillaro said that practices have been status quo in preparation for the big weekend.

“I’m always intense; I want to be intense,” he said. “We tell our players that they need to be focused. If you’re not focused in practice, you won’t be focused in the game.”

Nothing has changed on the injury front for the ‘Niners either. Senior outside hitter Caitlin Ledoux has not practiced this week, but as always, will be ready for the game. Sophomore middle blocker Haleigh Hampton has practiced a little this week according to Gimmillaro, and freshman outside hitter Bre Mackie has a slightly sore shoulder.

Gimmillaro said the team will just roll with the punches as they have all season long.

“Caitlin (Ledoux) hasn’t practiced this week, and Haleigh (Hampton) did a little today,” he said. “We’re just gonna have to deal with that. There are some nagging injuries that are normal this time of year.”

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