A pair of Long Beach State women’s volleyball players were selected to the Big West Conference’s first team while a couple of sophomores from the men’s water polo team received honorable mention honors in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF).
Senior outside hitter Delainey Aigner-Swesey and junior middle blocker Chisom Okpala were each recognized for outstanding seasons with their selection to All-Big West First Team. Okpala earned the honor for the second year in a row while Aigner-Swesey capped her career with her first first- team selection.
Aigner-Swesey had her best year as a senior with a team-leading 390 kills to go along with 350 digs. She ranked second in the Big West this year with 3.48 kills per set and was third with just under four points per set. She hit 20 or more kills three times this year with a season-high of 25 coming in a comeback win over Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 18. Aigner-Swesey adds the accolade to her selections to the Big West’s All-Freshmen Team in 2010 and honorable-mention selection in 2011.
Okpala earned her second consecutive first-team nod after leading the 49ers in hitting percentage this year. She was one of the conference-leaders in hitting percentage, hitting at a .351 clip overall and a .352 clip in Big West matches, ranking second in the conference. Okpala also ranked fifth in the Big West with 1.15 blocks per set during conference matches. She led the squad with 20 solo blocks and 112 block assists.
The 49ers finished the season on a season long winning streak of five matches to run their record to 18-11 overall and 11-5 in the Big West. It was the 27th consecutive season that Long Beach State finished with a winning record.
In men’s water polo, sophomores Zacchary Kappos and Pavo Ljepopio each earned honorable mention All-MPSF honors. The awards are voted on by the nine MPSF coaches and represent the best in the conference.
Kappos led the 49er squad with 64 goals on the season and averaged 1.88 goals per game. His tally of 64 goals tied Paul Wawrzynski for the eighth-most in school history.
Ljepopio had a stellar season in the cage for the 49ers. A late addition to the team, Ljepopio led all conference goaltenders with 301 saves on the season, averaging10.75 per game. Additionally, Ljepopio held opponents to a 8.79 goals against average on the season.
Both players are set to return for the 49ers next season, as well as 2012 second-team All-MPSF selection Dan Matulis and 2012 honorable mention honoree Nick Rascon, who each redshirted during the 2013 season.