49ers send seniors off with 3-1 win over No. 6 Pepperdine
April 14, 2012
LONG BEACH - The eighth-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team had a big performance at the net, outblocking No. 6 Pepperdine, 17-to-5, en route to a 25-14, 25-22, 21-25, 25-23, Mountain Pacific Sports Federation victory in front of 1,080 fans on Senior Night Saturday at the Walter Pyramid.
Senior Brad Hemmerling led the 49ers as he matched his career high with 17 kills in his final home game. Sophomore Taylor Crabb added nine kills, a match-best 13 digs and six blocks, while junior Colten Echave finished with 10 kills and no errors on 19 attempts for a .526 hitting percentage. Echave also totaled nine block assists.
With the win, Long Beach State (15-14, 10-12 MPSF) secured the No. 6 seed in the MPSF Tournament, which means it will travel to No. 3 BYU for a quarterfinal match next Saturday.
In the opening set, LBSU raced out to a 5-1 lead on a Hemmerling kill, forcing Pepperdine to call an early timeout. The break in action didn't slow the 49ers down as they proceeded to go on a 9-4 run, capped by a solo block from Jeff Ornee, to pull ahead, 14-5. LBSU cruised from there, staying out front by at least eight, before coming away with the 25-14 victory. Long Beach State did not commit a hitting error as it finished with an impressive .621 attack percentage.
It was a seesaw battle in set two with six tie scores and two lead changes before Pepperdine used a 5-0 spurt to pull ahead, 15-10. Echave ended the Waves' run with a kill and the 49ers eventually came back to knot it up at 18-18. The two teams then traded points until LBSU took control late in the set, scoring four unanswered, to prevail 25-22.
The third stanza was another back-and-forth affair with 11 tie scores. Pepperdine held a 20-18 lead before Long Beach State called a timeout and proceeded to go up 21-20 on a Crabb block. The Waves then scored the next five points to run away with the 25-21 win.
Pepperdine (14-14, 9-13 MPSF) carried the momentum into the fourth set as it held an early 8-3 advantage. After the 49ers closed the gap to three, the Waves went up, 14-7. Senior Jim Baughman then entered the game and sparked an 8-3 run that brought LBSU within two at 17-15. Pepperdine would go back on top by five, but Long Beach State rallied once again, tying it up at 22-22 following a solo block by Crabb. The 49ers then took their first lead of the set on a double block from Baughman and Echave, before another Echave block in the middle gave them set point (24-22). The Waves sided out but Baughman quickly closed it out at 25-23 with a cross-court kill.
Josh Taylor paced Pepperdine with a match-high 22 kills, while Matt Pollock finished with 16 kills. Scott Rhein had a team-best 12 digs.
Long Beach State will make the trip to Provo, Utah, for an MPSF quarterfinal match at No. 3 seed BYU on Saturday, April 21. First serve is set for 6 p.m. (PDT).
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