No. 3 Long Beach State Uses Balanced Attack to Sweep No. 7 Stanford
Josh Tuaniga paces the offense with 32 assists in victory
LONG BEACH – The third-ranked Long Beach State men’s volleyball team turned in an all-around solid effort on Saturday at the Walter Pyramid as the Beach handed No. 7 Stanford its first conference loss of the season in a 3-0 sweep [30-28, 25-14, 25-18].
Long Beach State improved to 9-2 overall and 5-1 in the MPSF, while Stanford fell to 6-3 on the year and 3-1 in the league.
The Beach hit .418 (43-10-79) on the day, while limiting the Cardinal to a mere .122 attack percentage (31-21-82). LBSU held the advantage over Stanford in assists (42-29), service aces (6-1) and blocks (11.0-6.0) in the total team effort.
Sophomore setter Josh Tuaniga set the tone for the 49ers as he dished out 32 assists and hit a team-high .667 tying his career-high of six kills on nine attempts without committing an error. He also added two digs, one block and a service ace.
Kyle Ensing led all LBSU scorers with 12 kills en route to hitting .360 in the contest. He also added five digs and a block assist. Although Ensing was the only 49er to reach double-figures in the match, the offensive output was evenly spread out as Andrew Whitt knocked down nine kills, TJ DeFalco added eight, while Amir Lugo-Rodriguez and Bryce Yould each contributed four as each starter, with the exception of the libero, had at least four kills in the match.
Andrew Sato dished out eight digs in the backrow and collected 19 receptions without committing an error. DeFalco was also on point on defense with 21 receptions without an error. Overall, the Beach posted a .981 reception percentage with 53 total receptions and just one miscue.
Lugo-Rodriguez had a solid game at the net as he put up a team-leading eight blocks. He posted three solo blocks and five block assists and never committed a blocking error.
The first set was the most competitive as the Beach and the Cardinal changed leads seven times and saw the score tied up on 16 occasions. Long Beach State hit .395 in the frame and Stanford posted an attack percentage of .355.
After batting through several set points and ties, the 49ers managed to put the game away on a kill by DeFalco followed by an ace by Yould as the Beach went on to defeat the Cardinal, 30-28.
Following the back and forth opening set, Long Beach State came out swinging in the second game and hit .500 as the Beach knocked down 13 kills on 20 attempts, while committing just three errors. Additionally, LBSU owned an impressive sideout percentage of 92%.
The Beach controlled the second set as they forced the Cardinal into seven attack errors. With just six kills in the frame, Stanford posted a -.045 clip as the 49ers rolled past by a score of 25-14.
Long Beach State completed the three-set sweep of Stanford with a solid third game that saw the Beach knock down nine kills on 21 attempts, while making just one error en route to hitting .381. Meanwhile, the 49ers’ defense once again kept the Cardinal off balance forcing them into 10 attack errors as they cancelled out their 10 kills for a .000 attack percentage.
As they did in the second set, the Beach held a comfortable lead and went on to collect a 25-18 victory and complete the sweep over the Cardinal.
Stanford was led by Gabriel Vega who notched 13 kills for a .476 attack percentage. Kyle Dagostino and Evan Enriques posted seven and six digs, respectively, while Kevin Rakestraw led the team with four blocks.
Long Beach State hits the road for the next four matches as they take on UC Irvine (Feb. 10), UC San Diego (Feb. 11), UC Santa Barbara (Feb. 15) and UCLA (Feb. 18).
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