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No. 5 Long Beach State starts MPSF action at USC, Pepperdine this week

The 49ers open their MPSF slate this week with matches at USC and Pepperdine.

Jan. 11, 2012

No. 5 Long Beach State (2-1, 0-0 MPSF) at
No. 6 USC (1-0, 0-0 MPSF)
Thursday, Jan. 12
Time: 7 p.m (PST)
Location: Galen Center
Follow the 49ers: Listen | Live Stats

No. 5 Long Beach State (2-1, 0-0 MPSF) at
No. 10 Pepperdine (1-1, 0-0 MPSF)
Saturday, Jan. 14
Time: 7 p.m. (PST)
Location: Firestone Fieldhouse
Follow the 49ers: Watch | Listen | Live Stats

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LONG BEACH - The fifth-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team jumps right into conference play in the second week of the 2012 season as the 49ers head to No. 6 USC on Thursday, Jan. 12, before making their way to No. 10 Pepperdine on Saturday (Jan. 14). First serve for both matches is 7 p.m.

This week's men's volleyball matches will be broadcast live on The KBeach broadcasting crew includes Sean Pellerin, Matt Kamlet, Tyler Hendrickson and Jerry Brandt.

Long Beach State moved up one spot to No. 5 in the AVCA Division I-II Preseason Poll released Jan. 9. UC Irvine topped the list with 235 points and was followed by BYU (218), UCLA (209) and Stanford (179). The 49ers were also ranked sixth in the Volleyball Magazine Men's Division I-II Top-10 Poll.

Sixth-ranked USC (1-0, 0-0 MPSF) defeated Cal Baptist, 25-18, 25-16, 25-20, in its season opener last Thursday. Opposite Tanner Jansen led the way with nine kills, while All-American outside hitter Tony Ciarelli had eight kills and no errors on 11 attempts for a .727 hitting percentage. Libero Henry Cassiday finished with a team-best eight digs.

In 2011, the Trojans won the MPSF regular season title with a 20-2 conference record and advanced to the NCAA Championships where they fell to UC Santa Barbara in the semifinals.

Long Beach State trails in its all-time series with USC, 51-43. Last year, the 49ers were swept at the Galen Center before dropping a 3-2 heartbreaker at the Walter Pyramid. LBSU has lost the last six matches in the series and has not defeated the Trojans since 2008.

No. 10 Pepperdine (1-1, 0-0 MPSF) split a pair of matches against then 13th-ranked Lewis in its first action of the 2012 season last weekend. Outside hitters Josh Taylor (4.33 kills/set) and Chase Ross (2.22 kills/set) paced the Wave offense, while setter Matt West averaged 9.33 assists and a team-best 1.44 digs per set.

LBSU trails in its all-time series with Pepperdine, 37-35, but swept the Waves in MPSF action last year. The 49ers defeated Pepperdine, 3-2, in Malibu on Jan. 12, and earned a 3-0 sweep at home (Feb. 23).

Senior Jim Baughman registered his eighth career 20-plus kill match in a five-set win over then No. 8 Ohio State. Baughman pounded down 20 kills and committed just five errors on 32 attempts for a .469 clip. Baughman is tops on the team with 4.08 kills per set.

Senior Brad Hemmerling registered his first double-double with 12 kills and a career-high 12 digs against UC Irvine (Jan. 6). Hemmerling is averaging 2.40 kills and 1.70 digs per set on the young season.

Sophomore Taylor Crabb pounded down 17 kills in a five-set win over No. 8 Ohio State in the third-place game at the UCSB/asics Collegiate Invitational. He also tied for the team lead with six digs. Taylor wasn't the only Crabb to post solid numbers in that match as older brother, Trevor, registered 10 kills and five digs in his first action as a 49er. Trevor did not play last season after transferring from the University of Puget Sound in 2010.

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.

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. Crabb registered 18 double-figure kill matches and had five double-doubles. He was also named to the MPSF All-Tournament Team.

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.

Long Beach State continues MPSF play on the road as it heads to Cal State Northridge on Friday, Jan. 20 for its lone match of the week. First serve is set for 7 p.m.



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