49ers fight to the end in 3-2 MPSF quarterfinal loss at No. 4 BYU
April 21, 2012
PROVO, Utah - The sixth-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team left it all on the court, fighting back from a 2-0 deficit before ultimately falling in five sets to No. 4 BYU in an MPSF quarterfinal match Saturday evening at Smith Fieldhouse. Game scores were 25-23, 25-14, 20-25, 21-25, 15-7.
Senior Jim Baughman came off the bench to spark the 49ers with 15 kills, four blocks and a .400 hitting percentage. Sophomore Taylor Crabb finished with 12 kills and eight digs, while senior Brad Hemmerling also had 12 kills. Senior Ryan Meehan chipped in four kills and a team-best six blocks.
Sophomore Connor Olbright guided the offense to .237 hitting with 46 assists and added a team-high nine digs.
It was a seesaw battle early in the first set before Long Beach State pulled ahead, 9-7, on a big block by Crabb and a Srdjan Nadazdin kill. The 49ers stayed out front until BYU went on top 13-12, but they would come back to reclaim the lead at 15-14 following another kill from Nadazdin.
The two teams then traded points before the Cougars went on a 5-2 run to take a 22-19 advantage. After calling a timeout, LBSU responded with three-straight points, including back-to-back kills from Crabb, to knot it up at 22-22. The home team then went on to score the next two points and after the 49ers held off one set point, a Taylor Sander kill gave BYU the 25-23 victory.
In set two, the Cougars outscored Long Beach State, 11-1, down the stretch to run away with the 25-14 win. BYU held a 9-6 lead when LBSU used a 5-2 spurt, capped by a Crabb kill, to tie it up at 11-11. The 49ers stayed within striking distance until the Cougars scored nine unanswered points to pull ahead, 23-10. An ace from Joe Kauliakamoa would eventually end the set, putting BYU up, 2-0.
Long Beach State regrouped in the third frame as the two teams were neck-in-neck in the early going with six lead changes and eight tie scores. After BYU knotted it up at 12-12, the 49ers then proceeded to go on an 8-2 run to pull ahead, 20-15. They didn't look back from there as they went up by as many as seven before prevailing, 25-20, on a Crabb kill.
BYU held an early 5-3 advantage in the fourth set, but LBSU answered with an 8-3 spurt, capped by a double block from Meehan and Baughman, to go on top, 11-8. Long Beach State kept the lead until the Cougars evened the score at 21-21. The 49ers then called a timeout and took advantage of the break in action as they came back to score the next four points with a Jeff Ornee ace closing it out at 25-21.
BYU (24-6) raced out to an 8-1 lead in the decisive fifth set and the 49ers were never able to recover as the home team went on to the 15-7 victory. The Cougars hit a blistering .727 (8-0-11) in the final frame.
Sander led BYU with 22 kills, eight digs and seven blocks. Robb Stowell also totaled 14 kills and Futi Tavana had a match-high 15 blocks. The Cougars finished with 20 team blocks.
Long Beach State, which was making its 17th appearance in the MPSF Tournament, closes out the season with a 15-15 overall record.