Men's Volleyball

LBSU Ready for Home Opener This Week; Hosts No. 4 USC, No. 1 Pepperdine

The 49ers will take on USC in their home opener Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Jan. 21, 2014

No. 4 USC (3-1, 2-1 MPSF) at
No. 5 Long Beach State (3-2, 2-2 MPSF)
Wednesday, Jan. 22
Time: 7 p.m. (PST)
Location: Long Beach, Calif.
Arena: Walter Pyramid
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The Last Meeting
Long Beach State3
April 4, 2013
Los Angeles, Calif.
Long Beach State Takes Care of Business With 3-0 Victory at USC
The second-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team went into the Galen Center and took care of business on Thursday as it needed just 81 minutes to defeat USC, 25-17, 25-17, 25-17.

The Last Meeting
Long Beach State3
April 6, 2013
Malibu, Calif.
49ers Come From Behind to Defeat Pepperdine, 3-2
The second-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team came back from a two-set deficit to top No. 5 Pepperdine, 20-25, 21-25, 25-14, 25-22, 15-11, Saturday evening at Firestone Fieldhouse.

No. 1 Pepperdine (3-0, 3-0 MPSF) at
No. 5 Long Beach State (3-2, 2-2 MPSF)
Friday, Jan. 24
Time: 7 p.m. (PST)
Location: Long Beach, Calif.
Arena: Walter Pyramid
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Long Beach State Notes Get Acrobat Reader

After spending the first three weeks of the season on the road, the fifth-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team finally returns to the Walter Pyramid to host No. 4 USC and No. 1 Pepperdine in its first home matches of the year.

The 49ers will tangle with USC on Wednesday, Jan. 22, before they entertain Pepperdine on Friday, Jan. 24. First serve for both matches is set for 7 p.m. at the Walter Pyramid.

Long Beach State dropped one spot to No. 5 in this week's AVCA Poll, which was released on Jan. 20. Pepperdine jumped two slots to No. 1, making them the third team to claim the top ranking in as many weeks. The Waves were followed by Loyola-Chicago, UCLA, USC and LBSU.

The 49ers were the first team to earn the No. 1 ranking this season after winning the UCSB Asics Invitational. It was their first time holding the top spot in the AVCA Poll since the 2006 season.

Eleventh-year head coach Alan Knipe is four wins away from reaching the 200-victory milestone. In his 10-plus years at the helm, Knipe has compiled a 196-113 overall record. In 2013, he directed the 49ers to their best season in five years as they went 24-8 and advanced to the MPSF Tournament finals. During his tenure, Knipe has led LBSU to nine MPSF Tournament appearances, two NCAA Tournament bids and five 20-plus win seasons.

No. 4 USC (3-1, 2-1 MPSF) split its two matches last week, defeating then No. 7 UC Irvine, 3-2, before dropping a four-set decision to third-ranked Pepperdine. Lucas Yoder has paced the Trojans with 4.12 kills per set. Robert Feathers is also averaging 2.17 kills and 0.83 blocks per set, while hitting at a .489 clip. Henry Cassiday leads the defense at 3.25 digs per set, and Micah Christenson has handled the setting duties, guiding USC to a .290 attack percentage with 12.31 assists per set.

Long Beach State trails in its all-time series with USC, 53-45, but the 49ers have won the last two. Last year, LBSU swept the Trojans during the regular season with a 3-1 win in Long Beach and a 3-0 triumph in Los Angeles.

Top-ranked Pepperdine (3-0, 3-0 MPSF) has gotten off to a strong start, defeating No. 3 UC Irvine, UC San Diego and No. 5 USC. Josh Taylor leads the Waves with 5.00 kills per set, while Parker Kalmbach is also averaging 3.73 kills, 2.00 digs and 1.64 blocks per set. Matt West has directed the offense to .348 hitting with 12.45 assists per set. West is also tops on the team with 3.00 digs per set.

Long Beach State trails in its all-time series with Pepperdine, 39-37. The two teams have split the regular-season series in three of the last four years. In 2013, the 49ers came back from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Waves in five on the road, avenging a 3-0 home loss earlier in the season.

Seniors Taylor Crabb and Connor Olbright continue to move up the 49er career charts. Crabb currently ranks 14th in kills (1,191) and is tied for seventh in attempts (2,732), while Olbright is No. 5 in assists (3,138).

Senior outside hitter Taylor Crabb (Honolulu, Hawaii) has once again been the 49ers' most consistent performer as he has posted five-straight double-figure kill matches to start the season. He recently notched his 17th career double-double with a season-best 22 kills and 10 digs in a five-set loss at No. 10 Hawai'i (Jan. 17). Crabb also had 22 kills at ninth-ranked BYU. In addition, he finished with 19 kills vs. Harvard, 15 at Cal Baptist and 12 at Hawai'i (Jan. 16). Crabb is averaging a team-best 4.74 kills per set and has registered a .367 hitting percentage. He is also second on the squad with 2.21 digs per set. Crabb is the reigning AVCA National Player of the Year, and is also a two-time All-American and three-time All-MPSF selection.

Senior Dalton Ammerman has also been a consistent force on the outside for LBSU. He started the season with back-to-back double-figure kill matches, notching 18 vs. Harvard and 13 at Cal Baptist. The Parker, Colo., native was named the MVP of the UCSB Asics Invitational after helping the 49ers take first in Pool B with a 4-0 record. He then registered 18 kills, nine digs and three blocks in the championship match vs. the Crimson. Ammerman, who ranks second on the team with 3.15 kills per set, suffered an ankle sprain early in the first set at BYU, forcing him to miss that match along with the first contest at Hawai'i. He then came back with 10 kills in the second meeting against the Rainbow Warriors.

Senior All-American setter Connor Olbright (Orange, Calif.) enters the week ranked third in the MPSF with 11.95 assists per set. He started the 2014 campaign with a season-high 55 helpers in a 3-1 win over Harvard at the UCSB Asics Invitational, where he earned all-tournament honors for the second year in a row. Olbright also directed Long Beach State to a season-best .455 hitting percentage with 42 assists in an MPSF sweep of Cal Baptist on Jan. 9.

Senior Ian Satterfield (Manhattan Beach, Calif.), who entered the starting lineup at the opposite position late in the season last year, has continued his role as a starter, averaging 2.21 kills and 1.58 digs per set. He registered his first career double-double with 10 kills and 12 digs at Hawai'i on Jan. 17.

Long Beach State will embark on another four-match road swing, beginning with a trip to Northern California for MPSF matches at Stanford (Jan. 31) and Pacific (Feb. 1) next week.



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