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Sept. 15, 2004
LONG BEACH, Calif.
Northwestern fell to Long Beach State Tuesday night at the 49ers' home arena, 3-0, in the first ever meeting between the two schools.
"We executed our game plan really well and did exactly what we wanted to against a very talented Long Beach State team," assistant coach Ryan Theis said. "A few errors from our end are things we need to clean up before Big Ten season hits."
In the opening game, both teams were neck and neck and treated the crowd to some long volleys that had the fans on their feet. NU was down 6-8 early in the game before a timely service ace by Long Beach native Drew Robertson and an error by the 49ers tied the game back up at 8-8.
Then Long Beach pulled away slightly on the strength of freshman Alexis Crimes, who paced her squad with 10 kills.
But an off-speed tip over the 49ers' middleblocker by Robertson, along with a barrage of fierce kills from sophomore Julie Purcell evened the game back up at 22-22.
As Long Beach began to pull away again, junior Lizzie Carlson, a native of California, made a miraculous dig that was immediately killed by freshman Stephanie Jurivich, bringing the game to 28-26 in favor of the 49ers.
Freshman Courtnie Paulus then quieted the feisty Long Beach crowd and basically unplugged the 49ers' student band with two of her 11 kills to knot the game back up at 28.
But Crimes provided the offense to push the 49ers past the `Cats in game one, 30-28.
Despite losing the next two games by scores of 23-30 and 24-30, the coaching staff was pleased with the effort the `Cats left on the floor against the top-25 team.
"It was good to see us compete at such a high level against a team like that," Theis said. "This is some great experience for our young team."
Carlson and junior co-captain Christie Gardner had a combined 25 digs for the `Cats against the talented 49ers offense.
Purcell had a team-leading 13 kills, while freshman Courtnie Paulus continued to impress by recording 11 kills and eight digs.
The Wildcats' trip to Long Beach marked a homecoming for senior co-captain Drew Robertson who attended nearby Long Beach Poly High School. As some family and friends got the chance to watch the senior co-captain play college volleyball for the first time, Robertson delivered by diving for loose balls and nearly recording a double-double with 33 assists and nine digs. She was a noticeable crowd favorite, with a few hometown fans cheering her on with each service attempt.
NU is back in action this Friday and Saturday, Sept. 17 and 18, when it hosts the Wildcat Classic in Welsh-Ryan Arena.