The Beach Extend Winning Streak to 14 with Sweep Over Sacred Heart
TJ DeFalco notches his 21st double-figure kill match of the season in victory
LONG BEACH, Calif. – The top-ranked Long Beach State men’s volleyball team extended its winning streak to 14 with its fifth straight sweep after defeating Sacred Heart in straight sets [25-15, 25-11, 25-13] inside the Gold Mine on Saturday night.
Long Beach State is now 21-2 on the year and owns the second-longest winning streak in program history behind the 1992 squad’s 16-match winning streak. Sacred Heart, meanwhile, drops to 12-5 on the year.
The Beach turned in a .343 attack percentage as sophomore outside hitter TJ DeFalco led the way with 10 kills on the night. DeFalco has now reached double-figure kills 21 times this season and 51 times in his collegiate career. Additionally, DeFalco hit .368 (10-3-19) on the day while posting five digs and four blocks.
Senior middle blockers Bryce Yould and Amir Lugo-Rodriguez were solid at the net putting up five and four blocks, respectively. Lugo-Rodriguez also recorded six kills on nine attempts without committing an error to hit .667, while Yould registered four kills on the night.
Andrew Sato, a senior libero, was stout on the defensive end as he dished out seven digs in the match.
The Beach were dominant in the match from start to finish. They opened up the game in the first set by breaking a 4-4 tie and going on a 6-1 run highlighted by back-to-back service aces by Andrew Whitt. Long Beach State would never allow the Pioneers to come any closer than three points the rest of the set as the 49ers cruised to a 25-15 win.
The second set was much of the same. After Sacred Heart started the match up 1-0 on a 49er attack error, the Beach took the lead on a DeFalco kill and never looked back. Long Beach State pushed its lead up to six (8-2) forcing a Sacred Heart timeout. The break in action did little to stop the Beach as they jumped out in front to an 11-point lead (16-5) on a Lugo-Rodriguez kill and continued to extend their lead before taking the second set 25-11.
With a 2-0 set lead over the Pioneers, the Beach continued to roll in the third set as they hit .462 (14-2-26) in the frame, while forcing Sacred Heart into another negative attack percentage (-.130). LBSU took an early lead and ran with it as the 49ers powered past the Pioneers to win 25-13.
Sacred Heart suffered a negative attack percentage in every set bringing its match total to -.154 (14-24-65). The Pioneers did not have a single player record more than four kills as Christopher DeLucie led the team with four kills on 14 attempts with five attack errors to hit -.071.
Long Beach State will put its winning streak on the line when it travels to Provo, Utah for a pair of matches against No. 3 ranked BYU which has a winning streak of its own going as it has won 13 straight contests. The Beach and the Cougars will face off on Friday, March 24 at 5 p.m., and again on Saturday, March 25 at 5 p.m.
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