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Long Beach State Comes Up Short in Five-Set Thriller at No. 3 UC Irvine

Junior Taylor Crabb had a team-best 14 kills and eight digs in a 3-2 loss at No. 3 UC Irvine.

Jan. 25, 2013

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IRVINE, Calif. - The seventh-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team came up just short in a five-set thriller at No. 3 UC Irvine Friday evening at the Bren Events Center. Set scores were 23-25, 25-19, 20-25, 25-16, 15-13.

LBSU (5-3, 3-2 MPSF), which saw its three-match win streak come to an end, pushed defending national champion UCI to the brink as it held off two match points in the fifth frame before falling 15-13.

Junior Taylor Crabb led the 49ers with 14 kills, marking his sixth-straight double-figure kill performance. He also finished with a team-high eight digs. Junior Dalton Ammerman chipped in 11 kills and two aces, while redshirt freshman Taylor Gregory had four kills and five blocks.

Junior Connor Olbright guided the offense to a .282 hitting percentage with 42 assists.

UC Irvine (6-3, 3-3 MPSF) took an early 8-5 lead in the opening set. The Anteaters stayed out front until Crabb had back-to-back kills followed by a double block from Gregory and Jeff Ornee to put Long Beach State on top, 14-13. LBSU pulled ahead 16-14 after a pair of UCI miscues and it then went back-and-forth before the home team evened it up at 23-23. The 49ers took a timeout and regrouped as Crabb answered with a pair of kills out of the short break, giving them the 25-23 win.

Both teams hit well in set one as Long Beach State had a .400 hitting percentage, while UC Irvine finished at .419. UCI, however, had eight service errors to LBSU's three.

The Anteaters got off to a quick start in the second frame, going up 7-3 following a Zack La Cavera ace. A kill by Olbright would bring the 49ers within two at 10-8, but UCI eventually pulled away with an 8-2 run. Long Beach State was unable to dig itself out of the hole as it trailed by at least five the rest of the way. LBSU held off two set points before the home team finished off the 25-19 victory.

UC Irvine improved its hitting percentage to .500, while the 49ers dropped slightly to .368 in set two.

It was a back-and-forth affair to start the third set with four tie scores before Long Beach State had four unanswered points to go on top, 8-4. Ammerman sparked the rally with two aces. LBSU then continued on a 12-4 run, capped by an Ornee kill, to take a 16-8 lead. UCI would cut the deficit to 17-13, but the 49ers responded with three-straight points to pull out front, 20-13. The 49ers never looked back from there as an Ammerman kill eventually ended it at 25-20.

UC Irvine cooled off in set three with a .067 hitting percentage and LBSU hit .240.

The Anteaters pulled ahead, 7-3, following consecutive kills by Kevin Tillie in the fourth stanza. The 49ers came within two before UCI used an 11-4 spurt to take a 21-12 lead. UC Irvine went on to the 25-16 win, forcing a decisive fifth set.

The Anteaters carried the momentum into the final set, taking an early 5-2 lead and going up 8-4 at the side switch. Long Beach State then went on a 4-1 run to close the gap to 9-8, but UCI stayed out front and went up, 14-11, on a service ace. LBSU then made its final push with a Crabb kill and a Gregory block to make it 14-13, but Tillie then put away the final point for UC Irvine.

Tillie ended the night with a match-high 21 kills, while La Cavera had 14 for UC Irvine.

Long Beach State is back in action on Saturday, Jan. 26, when it heads to La Jolla for a 7 p.m. MPSF match at No. 12 UC San Diego.



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