49er Men's Volleyball Suffers 3-0 Setback at No. 8 UC Irvine
March 28, 2014
IRVINE, Calif. - The fourth-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team suffered a 25-22, 25-14, 26-24 defeat to two-time defending national champion and eighth-ranked UC Irvine Friday evening at Bren Events Center.
One night after establishing a rally scoring era school record with a .582 hitting percentage at UC San Diego, the 49ers were held to a .210 clip. Seniors Taylor Crabb and Dalton Ammerman paced The Beach with 12 and 11 kills, respectively. Crabb added 11 digs for his team-leading eighth double-double of the year. Senior Connor Olbright also notched his second double-double in as many matches with 30 assists and 12 digs, while sophomore Andrew Sato registered a team-high 16 digs.
After three early ties in the opening set, UC Irvine pulled ahead 8-4, forcing Long Beach State to call a timeout. The 49ers took advantage of the break in action as they came storming back with an 8-2 run, capped by a Crabb kill, to take a 12-10 lead. LBSU stayed out front until the Anteaters scored four unanswered, reclaiming the edge at 16-15. The Beach sided out and the two teams traded points before UCI made a late push to go up, 24-20. The visitors held off two set points, but UC Irvine was then able to end it at 25-22.
The Anteaters (16-9, 13-8 MPSF) took control midway through set two as they went up 14-8 on a service ace. Long Beach State closed the gap to six, but never really threatened as UC Irvine outscored LBSU, 9-5, down the stretch for the 25-14 win.
The Beach (16-7, 13-7 MPSF) regrouped in between sets, going up 7-4 and leading most of the way in a tightly contested third frame. The 49ers pulled ahead 15-12 to match their largest lead of the night, but the Anteaters quickly tied it up at 15-all. Long Beach State went back up by two and had a 20-18 cushion before UCI scored three-straight to go on top, 21-20. It was a seesaw battle from there, but the home team would eventually emerge with the 26-24 victory.
UC Irvine hit .318 and finished with five service aces. Conner Hughes led the attack with 19 kills, while Michael Brinkley had a match-high 18 digs.
Long Beach State returns to the friendly confines of the Walter Pyramid next week when it plays host to UC Santa Barbara (April 3) and UCLA (April 5).