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No. 1 Long Beach State Sweeps No. 12 CSUN in Big West Home Opener

March 4, 2018

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LONG BEACH -- The top-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team earned a 3-0 [25-18, 25-18, 25-17] sweep of No. 12 CSUN in the Big West Conference home opener on Sunday inside the Walter Pyramid.

The victory was historic as it marked the first Big West Conference home win in Long Beach State men's volleyball history, but it also was historic because the Beach have matched the best start in program history. Until tonight, the only Long Beach State men's volleyball team to begin the year with a 16-0 record was the 1992 squad.

In addition to improving to 16-0 on year, Long Beach State also moved to 2-0 in Big West action, while CSUN dropped to 8-7 overall and 0-2 in league play.

The Beach turned in a convincing performance as they never allowed the Matadors to score more than 18 points in a single set. Long Beach State utilized a balanced attack and a solid team effort to hit .316 in the contest, while the defense held CSUN to just .152 hitting.

Junior setter Josh Tuaniga ran another on-point offense for the Beach as he dished out 28 assists and set the tone for LBSU to knock down 28 kills in the match. Leading the Beach offense was junior outside hitter TJ DeFalco who tallied 15 kills on 24 swings with four errors to hit a team-best .458. Junior opposite Kyle Ensing contributed nine kills, while hitting .333 (9-2-21), and redshirt junior middle blocker Nick Amado added five kills.

Tuaniga solid on all sides of the ball as he was just one dig shy of a double-double, finishing the match with a team-best nine digs. DeFalco added seven digs, while senior outside hitter Bjarne Huus and junior libero Jordan Molina each contributed four.

Freshman middle blocker Simon Anderson led the team with three blocks (one solo and two block assists), while Huus, Tuaniga, DeFaco, and Amado each added a pair of blocks assists in the contest.

Despite winning each set by at least seven points, Long Beach State and CSUN battled early in each frame. The Beach and Matadors traded points in the first set until the Beach used a 3-0 run, highlighted by an Ensing ace, to take an 8-5 lead. With a three-point edge, the Beach led the rest of the way and cruised to a 25-18 win.

The second set was a back-and-forth affair that saw 11 ties and four lead changes before Long Beach State opened up a 15-12 lead on back-to-back kills by Tuaniga. The Beach followed that with a 5-0 run sparked by a kill off the hands of DeFalco as they extended their lead to seven (22-15) before winning, 25-18.

The third and final set was much of the same as the Beach and Matadors exchanged leads early on until Long Beach State went on a 4-0 run which gave the hosts an 8-5 lead that they would not relinquish. LBSU continued adding to its lead as the Beach used another 4-0 run to go up 14-8 before rolling out in front by seven (20-13). The Beach kept the Matadors at a distance and went on to win, 25-17.

Long Beach State will return to action on Wednesday, March 7 when it hosts Mount Olive at 7 p.m.



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