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49ers Block Their Way to Five-Set Win Over Top-Ranked Pepperdine
Senior Jeff Ornee had a career-high 13 blocks in a 3-2 win over No. 1 Pepperdine on Friday.<br><i>(Photo by John Fajardo)</i>

Senior Jeff Ornee had a career-high 13 blocks in a 3-2 win over No. 1 Pepperdine on Friday.
(Photo by John Fajardo)

Jan. 24, 2014

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LONG BEACH - The fifth-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team handed No. 1 Pepperdine its first loss of the season as the 49ers battled back from a 2-1 deficit for a 25-14, 21-25, 21-25, 25-23, 15-11, victory Friday night at the Walter Pyramid.

LBSU (4-3, 3-3 MPSF) had its best defensive performance of the season with 63 digs and a lopsided 22.0-to-9.5 advantage in total team blocks. The 22 blocks were the most by a 49er squad since posting 23 in a five-set match against Hawai'i on April 6, 2007. Senior Jeff Ornee led the effort at the net with a career-high 13 blocks, while sophomore Taylor Gregory tied his season best with seven. Sophomore Andrew Sato also picked up a career-high 19 digs in the back row.

Seniors Taylor Crabb and Ian Satterfield carried the load offensively for Long Beach State. Crabb notched his second double-double of the year with 24 kills and 13 digs. He also had five blocks. Satterfield delivered a career-high 19 kills to go along with six digs and six blocks.

Senior Connor Olbright added his first double-double of the year with 56 assists and 10 digs.

Long Beach State started out strong in the first set, taking an early 7-2 lead following a kill from Satterfield. The 49ers stayed out front and eventually used a 9-1 run, capped by a Crabb kill, to pull ahead, 18-6. LBSU was then able to cruise the rest of the way for the 25-14 victory.

The two teams went back-and-forth in the second frame with nine tie scores and five lead changes. Long Beach State went up 15-14 before Pepperdine answered with a 9-2 run to go on top, 23-17. The 49ers fought back with three-straight points to close the gap to 23-20, but the Waves were able to hold on for the 25-21 win.

Pepperdine (4-1, 4-1 MPSF) carried its momentum into the third set where it held an early 6-1 advantage. Long Beach State would cut the deficit to three, but the Waves eventually pulled ahead, 17-10, after three consecutive kills from Parker Kalmbach. The visitors would go up by as many as eight and took set point at 24-17. The 49ers refused to go down quietly, however, as they climbed back within three before a block by the Waves ended it at 25-21.

LBSU trailed just once in the fourth set as it went up 9-6 on a double block by Ornee and Olbright. Long Beach State kept its lead and pulled ahead by as many as four until Pepperdine tied it up at 18-18. The 49ers called a timeout and regrouped, scoring the next two points to hold a 20-18 edge. The Waves then used a 4-1 spurt to take their only lead of the set at 22-21. A Gregory kill would knot it back up at 22-22 and a double block by Gregory and Olbright eventually gave the 49ers the 25-23 victory.

Long Beach State used a late push to run away with a 15-11 win in the fifth and decisive set. Pepperdine led 8-6 at the side switch, but the 49ers pulled even at 9-9 and then outscored the Waves 6-2 down the stretch. Fittingly, Satterfield and Ornee teamed up for a block to end the match.

Pepperdine hit just .156 on the night. Josh Taylor (28 kills, 10 digs) and Parker Kalmbach (22 kills, 11 digs) each finished with a double-double, while Matt West also had 53 assists and 17 digs for the Waves.

Long Beach State is back on the road again next week as the 49ers are set for their Northern California trip where they will take on Stanford (Jan. 31) and Pacific (Feb. 1).