The second-ranked Cal State Long Beach women's volleyball team rose to the occasion Saturday night and defeated sixth-ranked Pacific in what might turn out to be one of the 49ers' most difficult tests of the regular season.
Behind a skillful serving performance from Danielle Scott, the 49ers defeated the Tigers, 15-12, 15-7, 15-10 in a Big West Conference match before 1,201 at Long Beach.
Although Long Beach struggled at the start of each game, Coach Brian Gimmillaro was pleased with the 49ers' performance.
"The good news is, we're learning ways to win," Gimmillaro said.
Scott, a two-time All-American senior middle blocker who leads Long Beach in kills, was limited to 12 kills, but she had five service aces.
"She was like a surgeon out there," Gimmillaro said.
Sophomore middle blocker Brita Schwerm had a career-high 13 kills and 14 digs to lead the 49ers.
Long Beach came from behind in all three games. In the third, the 49ers trailed, 9-6, but outscored the Tigers, 9-1, behind five kills by outside hitter Nichelle Burton to win the match.
Pacific is the highest-ranked team on the 49ers' regular-season schedule. Long Beach, 8-0 overall and 2-0 in the Big West, still must play at Pacific (5-3, 1-1) on Nov. 19, but its only other match against a team ranked in the top 10 will be when it plays host to ninth-ranked USC on Sept. 29.
Long Beach is expected to take over the top spot in the next American Volleyball Coaches Assn. weekly rankings, which are released on Tuesday, because Stanford lost to third-ranked UCLA and USC this weekend. It would be the first time in nearly three years that a team other than Stanford or UCLA has occupied the top spot in the poll.