Whitt’s Double-Double Lifts No. 3 LBSU To Sweep of No. 9 Pepperdine
Andrew Whitt notched the first double-double of his collegiate career in victory
LONG BEACH – No. 3 Long Beach State received a career performance from senior outside hitter Andrew Whitt as the Beach swept No. 9 Pepperdine by set scores of 25-20, 25-17, 25-21 Thursday night inside the Walter Pyramid.
As a team, LBSU (8-2, 4-1 MPSF) hit .418 (49-11-91), while Pepperdine (4-3, 2-2 MPSF) posted a .253 attack percentage (34-12-87). The Beach have now won five of their last six matches and improved to 3-0 at home.
Whitt earned his first start of the season and made it count as he had a career-high 11 kills and 10 digs to account for the first double-double of his collegiate career. The senior out of Laguna Hills, Calif., hit .391 (11-2-23) in the match and added a pair of blocks.
Sophomore opposite Kyle Ensing led Long Beach State’s offense with 15 kills to lead all scorers. Ensing hit .462 (15-3-26) to go along with six digs, two blocks and one ace. TJ DeFalco also posted double-figures with 12 kills, five digs, two assists, one block and once service ace while hitting .348 (12-4-23).
Setter Josh Tuaniga turned in another solid outing with 41 assists and a season-high five kills en route to hitting .667 (5-1-6) to lead the Beach. Tuaniga’s 41 assists moved him into the Long Beach State record book with a total of 1,745 assists on his career.
Defensively, Whitt and senior libero Andrew Sato paced the backrow with 10 digs apiece, while Ensing added six and DeFalco contributed five. At the net, Bryce Yould put up three blocks with Whitt and Ensing collecting two each.
Long Beach State controlled the match as it got things started in the first set by jumping out to a 14-10 lead after a DeFalco ace which forced Pepperdine to take a timeout. The Beach continued to handle the first game as they extended their lead to five (20-15) and held a steady advantage over the Waves until Ensing put the game away on a service ace to give LBSU a 25-20 victory.
After battling each other through six ties early on in the second set, the Beach broke the game open by going on a 6-1 run which prompted the Waves to call for a timeout as the 49ers went up 12-7. The break in action did little to deter the 49ers as they came back on the court and took a seven-point lead (19-12) on a kill by Whitt. The Beach held a comfortable lead the rest of the way and went on to win the second frame, 25-17.
With a 2-0 advantage over Pepperdine, Long Beach State came out in the third set and hit .441 (19-4-34) and held the Waves to their lowest attack output of the match (.156). Despite the Waves’ low hitting percentage, they managed to even the score with LBSU on several occasions before the two teams found themselves deadlocked at 20-20. However, Whitt broke the tie with his 11th kill of the match which sparked three straight Beach points to give LBSU a 23-20 lead. Pepperdine tried to mount a comeback, but Yould knocked down back-to-back kills to put the set and match away, 25-21.
Pepperdine’s David Wieczorek led the team with 13 kills on .312 hitting. Michael Wexter had a team-high eight digs, while Joshua Stewart dished out 31 assists.
Long Beach State continues MPSF conference action on Saturday, Feb. 4, when it hosts No. 7 Stanford at 2 p.m., inside the Walter Pyramid.
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