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49er Men's Volleyball Hosts Hawai'i in Home Opener This Weekend

The 49ers are set to host Hawai'i in a pair of MPSF matches this weekend.

Jan. 16, 2013

Hawai'i (1-4, 0-2 MPSF) at
No. 9 Long Beach State (3-2, 1-1 MPSF)
Friday, Jan. 18
Time: 7 p.m. (PST)
Location: Walter Pyramid
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Hawai'i (1-4, 0-2 MPSF) at
No. 9 Long Beach State (3-2, 1-1 MPSF)
Saturday, Jan. 19
Time: 7:30 p.m. (PST)
Location: Walter Pyramid
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The Last Meeting
Long Beach State3
March 31, 2012
Honolulu, Hawaii
LBSU men's volleyball completes MPSF series sweep with 3-1 victory at Hawaii
The ninth-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team completed a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation series sweep over No. 14 Hawaii with a four-set victory Saturday evening at Stan Sheriff Center. Set scores were 27-25, 26-24, 20-25, 25-22.

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The ninth-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team will get the chance to play on its home court for the first time in 2013 as it welcomes Hawai'i to the Walter Pyramid for back-to-back MPSF matches, Jan. 18-19.

The 49ers, who spent the first two weeks of the season on the road, will host the Warriors in a 7 p.m. match on Friday, Jan. 18, before the two teams square off again on Saturday (Jan. 19) at 7:30 p.m.

LBSU dropped three spots to No. 9 in the AVCA national poll released on Jan. 14. The MPSF continued to dominate with 12 of its 13 teams featured among the top-15. The first five spots in the poll were also occupied by MPSF squads.

Tenth-year head coach Alan Knipe returns to the helm of the 49er program after taking a leave of absence to coach the U.S. Men's National Team. Knipe, who has amassed a 172-105 overall record in his nine-plus years at LBSU, also saw much success with Team USA, guiding them to the quarterfinals of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The Americans advanced to the knockout round after finishing first in Pool B, which also featured Brazil and Russia, who were ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the world, respectively.

The University of Hawai'i (1-4, 0-2 MPSF) picked up its first win of the season last weekend when it defeated fifth-ranked UCLA, 3-2, in a non-conference match at the Outrigger Hotels Invitational in Honolulu. The Warriors also fell to No. 7 Penn State and No. 10 Ohio State in five sets. JP Marks has paced the offense with 3.32 kills per set, while Matthew Cheape has registered a team-best 2.30 digs per set.

Long Beach State trails in its all-time series with Hawai'i, 37-35. Last year, the 49ers snapped a four-match losing streak to the Warriors by winning both regular-season meetings in Honolulu. LBSU is 16-15 when playing UH in Long Beach.

The 49ers toppled Hawai'i, 3-0, at Stan Sheriff Center on March 30, 2012. Long Beach State hit .326 on the evening and outblocked the Warriors, 9-to-3. Taylor Crabb finished with seven kills and eight digs, while Connor Olbright had 34 assists, seven digs and three kills.

LBSU returned to Stan Sheriff Center the next day to defeat UH, 3-1 (March 31, 2012). Crabb matched his career high with 20 kills, while hitting .421 and adding eight digs. Jeff Ornee also totaled 13 kills, seven blocks, four digs and a .476 hitting percentage, while Olbright compiled 49 assists, eight digs and six blocks. The 49ers owned a lopsided 18.5-to-8.0 advantage in team blocks.

Junior outside hitter Taylor Crabb, who has been one of Long Beach State's top performers in each of the last two seasons, has continued his ways in 2013 as he has finished tops on the team in kills in all five of the 49ers' matches. The Honolulu, Hawaii, native totaled double-figure kills four times, including a season-high 19 against UC San Diego. He also registered his first double-double of the year, and 13th of his career, with 17 kills and 11 digs at No. 5 UCLA. Crabb is averaging 3.83 kills and is second on the squad with 2.00 digs per set.

Junior middle blocker Jeff Ornee made his first collegiate appearance at the opposite position at No. 5 UCLA. Ornee did not miss a beat as he compiled a season-high 11 kills and five digs. The Cypress, Calif., native also totaled a career-best 10 blocks while playing his usual position in a 3-2 win vs. UC San Diego. On the year, Ornee is averaging 1.41 kills and 0.76 blocks per set.

Junior Connor Olbright, who led Long Beach State in assist average as a freshman and sophomore, totaled a season-best 45 helpers at No. 5 UCLA. He also notched his fifth career double-double at UC Santa Barbara with 29 assists and 10 digs. Olbright, who was named to the UCSB/asics Invitational all-tournament team to start the year, currently ranks ninth all-time at Long Beach State with 1,759 career assists.

Freshman Andrew Sato comes from a decorated volleyball family and he proves to be following in their footsteps. Sato has started all five matches at libero and is tops on the team with 39 digs (2.17/set). He established a season-high 12 digs at fifth-ranked UCLA and also reached double figures with 11 vs. UC San Diego.

Senior Colten Echave has provided a steady presence in the middle, averaging 1.78 kills and 0.78 blocks per set. He leads all 49er starters with a .371 hitting percentage. Echave had a season-best nine kills and a .615 (9-1-13) attack percentage at No. 5 UCLA.

Long Beach State will begin a four-match road swing next weekend when it heads to UC Irvine (Jan. 25) and UC San Diego (Jan. 26) for a pair of MPSF contests.



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