Long Beach State Falls to No. 1 BYU in MPSF Tournament Finals
49ers will find out their fate with NCAA Championship selections announced on Sunday
April 27, 2013
PROVO, Utah - The second-ranked and third-seeded Long Beach State men's volleyball team went toe-to-toe with No. 1 BYU in front of a hostile crowd of 4,190, but the 49ers came up just short at the end of each set, falling 28-26, 25-22, 25-22 in the MPSF championship match Saturday evening at Smith Fieldhouse.
"It played out exactly like we thought as far the type of match it was going to be," LBSU head coach Alan Knipe said. "They were all close games, and you have to give BYU credit, they executed at the most crucial times. But, I'm incredibly proud of our guys, they played really well. We hit over .300 against a good team, and did a good job of blocking and serving."
BYU improved to 25-4 overall and earned the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. LBSU (24-8), which saw its season-long seven-match win streak come to an end, will wait to see if it earns an at-large bid to next week's NCAA Championships.
Junior Connor Olbright directed the offense to .313 hitting with 37 assists, and also chipped in seven digs.
In the opening set, BYU took an early 5-2 lead, but a Taylor Gregory ace sandwiched in between a pair of Ammerman kills evened the score at 5-5. It went back-and-forth from there with nine ties before three-straight kills from Crabb gave Long Beach State the 20-17 advantage. The 49ers stayed out front until BYU used a 3-0 spurt to knot it up at 21-21. The two teams traded points again, but the Cougars were able to close it out at 28-26 on a service ace.
LBSU went up 3-0 to start set two, but the home team answered with a 5-2 spurt to go on top, 5-4. It was another seesaw battle with eight tie scores and two lead changes before the 49ers pulled out front 14-12. BYU stayed within striking distance, however, and used a late push to hold a 24-20 edge. Long Beach State was able to fight off two set points before the Cougars ended it with a kill at 25-22.
It was another tightly contested battle in the third frame. The 49ers went up 11-8 on a kill from Crabb and led until BYU scored four unanswered to go up, 21-19. LBSU sided out with a Crabb kill, but the Cougars were able hold on to the lead and eventually took the 25-22 victory.
BYU hit .346 on the night and was paced by Ben Patch's match-high 18 kills and 11 digs.
Crabb and Olbright were named to the MPSF All-Tournament Team for the 49ers.
Long Beach State will find out its fate on Sunday, April 28, with the NCAA Tournament selections being announced at noon (PT).
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