Sports, Women's Sports, Women's Volleyball

Injuries are the story once again for LBSU

The most troubling setback suffered by the Long Beach State women’s volleyball team last weekend was not the end of its 59-match winning streak against Cal State Fullerton.

It was the potential loss of yet another two starters to injury.

Junior setter Tara Roenicke sprained her ankle during the first set of Saturday night’s loss and junior outside hitter Delainey Aigner-Swesey later injured her hand. Both players remained in the match, but Roenicke’s movement was visibly limited the rest of the night.

“Think about how brave Tara was,” head coach Brian Gimmillaro said. “We tried to adjust lineups in the game so she didn’t have to run as much. That was pretty tough that she stayed in the game.”

Neither player has practiced this week, and both are doubtful for the 49ers’ (10-9, 5-3 Big West Conference) road match against UC Irvine (9-14, 4-4 Big West) on Saturday night.

If the two juniors are unable to play, The Beach will be down five starters from its original roster. That’s a daunting statistic in a sport that requires only six players be on the court at one time.

The bright side may be the fact that the team is approaching one of two weekends this season in which it only plays one match.

Gimmillaro said he would make whatever adjustments necessary to keep his team competitive.

“We will not give up,” he said. “When you lose all your top players, it doesn’t matter. We will not give up. We adjust and go on. I’ve always been a believer that you change the least amount of things you can. Don’t change too much, but at this point we’re changing a lot.”

The Beach will look to contain UCI’s Aly Squires, who has compiled 309 kills and 206 digs on .233 hitting for the season.
The senior outside hitter is third in the Big West in total kills and also ranks third in kills per set with an average of 4.1.

UCI senior setter Marissa Alvarez averages 10.32 assists per set, which is good for third-best in the conference as well. This may be the biggest Anteater advantage if Roenicke is unable to play, as she is second in the Big West in the same category with an average of 10.34 assists per frame.

After splitting two matches last weekend, LBSU remains in second place in the conference, trailing only No. 9 Hawaii (15-2, 8-0 Big West). The Beach will host the Rainbow Wahine on Oct. 26 at 7 p.m.

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