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49ers open 2012 season at UCSB/asics Collegiate Invitational this weekend
The 49ers are set to open the 2012 season at the UCSB/asics Invitational, Jan. 6-7.

The 49ers are set to open the 2012 season at the UCSB/asics Invitational, Jan. 6-7.

Jan. 4, 2012

2012 UCSB/asics Collegiate Invitational
No. 6 Long Beach State (0-0) vs.
No. 10 Loyola-Chicago (0-0)
Date:
Friday, Jan. 6
Time: 10 a.m.
Location: Santa Barbara, Calif.

No. 6 Long Beach State (0-0) vs.
No. 1 BYU (0-0) or No. 2 UC Irvine (0-0)
Date:
Friday, Jan. 6
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Santa Barbara, Calif.

No. 6 Long Beach State (0-0) vs.
TBA
Date:
Saturday, Jan. 7
Time: TBA
Location: Santa Barbara, Calif.

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LONG BEACH - The sixth-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team officially begins the 2012 season this weekend when it heads to Santa Barbara for the 48th annual UCSB/asics Collegiate Invitational, Jan. 6-7.

The 49ers open the tournament Friday against No. 10 Loyola-Chicago at 10 a.m., before coming back to play either No. 1 BYU or No. 2 UC Irvine at 7 p.m. LBSU will then close out the weekend with one match on Saturday.

IN THE POLLS
Long Beach State was ranked sixth in the 2012 AVCA Division I-II Preseason Poll released Jan. 4. BYU topped the list with 247 points and was followed by UC Irvine (237), UCLA (199) and Stanford (190).

The 49ers were also ranked eighth in the Volleyball Magazine Men's Division I-II Top-10 Poll.

SCOUTING THE FIELD
Loyola welcomes back 15 letterwinners from a 2011 squad that went 21-8 and advanced to the MIVA semifinals. Senior outside hitter Mike Bunting, who earned second-team All-America honors last year after leading the MIVA with 4.21 kills per set, is the team's top returnee. Sophomore opposite Jeff Smalzer also returns after averaging 3.11 kills per set.

BYU, which was picked to finish first in the MPSF Preseason Poll, returns 10 letterwinners from last year's team that went 20-8 overall. The Cougars welcome back three All-Americans in Robb Stowell (4.08 kills/set), Taylor Sander (3.67 kills/set) and Futi Tavana (2.23 kills/set). Tavana also led the nation with 160 total blocks.

UC Irvine was predicted to finish second in the MPSF Preseason Poll after going 19-12 overall and advancing to the semifinals of the conference tournament in 2011. The Anteaters have 11 letterwinners returning, including two-time All-American Carson Clark. Clark ranked third in the country with 4.54 kills per set last year.

Rounding out the UCSB/asics Collegiate Invitational field are defending national champion Ohio State, Cal State Northridge, UCLA and host UC Santa Barbara.

SERIES RECORDS
Long Beach State leads in its short series with Loyola-Chicago, 1-0. The 49ers claimed the lone meeting two years ago when they topped the Ramblers, 3-1, at the Walter Pyramid (March 9, 2010).

The 49ers trail in their all-time series with BYU, 23-21. The Cougars have won seven in a row, including a pair of victories in Provo, Utah, last year. The last time LBSU defeated BYU was in 2008.

Long Beach State leads in its series with UC Irvine, 38-15, but has dropped the last two contests. After defeating the Anteaters at the 2011 UCSB Invitational, the 49ers suffered a pair of losses in MPSF action.

UCSB INVITATIONAL REWIND
Long Beach State finished fourth at the 2011 UCSB Invitational. LBSU won its first match, defeating UC Irvine, 3-1, before falling to BYU (3-0) and UCLA (3-2).

Jim Baughman led the 49ers with 34 kills (4.86/set) on the weekend. Taylor Crabb also finished with 13 kills (1.18/set) and seven digs (0.64/set). Baughman was named to the all-tournament team.

SENIOR LEADERS
Long Beach State has four seniors who are expected to lead the way in 2012. Opposite Jim Baughman is the 49ers' top returning kill leader as he averaged 3.27 kills/set last year. He also led the squad with 28 service aces. The Valencia native finished the year with 18 double-figure kill matches, including five with at least 20.

Outside hitter Brad Hemmerling came on strong midway through his junior campaign. Hemmerling had played in just three of the 49ers' first 12 matches before earning his first career start against Pepperdine. The Yorba Linda native made the most of the opportunity, pounding down 16 kills, while committing just one error. He went on to finish third on the team with 2.59 kills/set.

Middle blocker Ryan Meehan ranked second on the team and fourth in the MPSF with 1.16 blocks per set in 2011. He also compiled 109 kills (1.14/set) and a .428 hitting percentage. The Dana Point native registered a career-best 10 kills vs. USC on Feb. 25.

Srdjan Nadazdin saw limited playing time at opposite last year, but may see more action at outside hitter in 2012. His best match as a 49er came in 2010 when he had a career-high 11 kills vs. St. Francis. Nadazdin also registered four digs and four blocks in that match.

CRABB NAMED PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN
Sophomore outside hitter Taylor Crabb was selected to the Off the Block Preseason All-America Team the website announced in December. Crabb is the 49ers' only returning All-MPSF selection. The Honolulu, Hawaii, native garnered honorable mention recognition and was named to the MPSF All-Freshman Team after averaging 2.60 kills and 1.39 digs per set. He was also named to the MPSF All-Tournament Team.

49ERS GO ABROAD
LBSU men's volleyball kept busy over the summer with four players participating in international competition. Sophomores Taylor Crabb and Connor Olbright were both members of the U.S. Men's Junior National Team that advanced to the semifinal round of the FIVB Men's Junior World Championships in Brazil. It was the best finish ever by a U.S. team.

Sophomore Ian Satterfield placed 19th overall at the FIVB Beach Junior World Championships in Halifax, Canada. Satterfield and his partner opened pool play with an upset win over the tournament's second seed.

Senior Ryan Meehan was also a member of the U.S. Men's A2 National Team that took second at the Pan American Cup in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada.

UP NEXT
Long Beach State begins MPSF play next week when it heads to USC and Pepperdine. The 49ers are set to face the defending MPSF regular season champion Trojans on Thursday, Jan. 12, before squaring off against the Waves on Saturday (Jan. 14). First serve for both matches is 7 p.m.

 

 

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