Jan. 28, 2013
No. 7 Long Beach State (6-3, 4-2 MPSF) at
No. 14 Cal Baptist (4-3, 1-1 MPSF)
Date: Tuesday, Jan. 29
Time: 7 p.m. (PST)
Location: Van Dyne Gym
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The seventh-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team will head to Riverside for a 7 p.m. conference match at newest MPSF member Cal Baptist on Tuesday, Jan. 29.
IN THE POLLS
LBSU remained at No. 7 in the AVCA national poll released on Jan. 28. 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.
BACK AT THE BEACH
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 175-106 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.
SCOUTING THE LANCERS
No. 14 Cal Baptist (4-3, 1-1 MPSF) is coming off a bye week as it was last in action at Concordia on Saturday, Jan. 19. In a double-header, the Lancers defeated Concordia, 3-2, before falling to Springfield, 3-0. CBU also upset then top-ranked UC Irvine in five sets in its first-ever MPSF match on Jan. 16. Guilherme Koepp (4.45) and Levi Cabral (4.25) are both averaging over four kills per set, while Aaron McCalmont has registered 3.08 kills and a team-leading 1.88 digs per set. Connor Metcalfe has guided the Lancer offense to .347 hitting with 11.10 assists per set.
Long Beach State leads in its all-time series with Cal Baptist, 9-1. The 49ers have won two in a row, both by way of a 3-0 score. In the most recent outing, LBSU defeated the Lancers, 25-16, 25-18, 25-10, at the Walter Pyramid on Jan. 24, 2012. The match on Tuesday marks the first meeting in the series that will take place in Riverside.
After its two matches this week, Long Beach State will have played nine of its first 11 contests away from home. The 49ers have fared well so far, going a combined 4-3 in road and neutral-site games.
Junior Dalton Ammerman, who sat out last season with an injury, has earned the start on the outside in every match this year. He has reached double-figure kills five times, including a career-high 16 at UC San Diego on Jan. 26. Ammerman also tallied his first career double-double with 11 kills and 11 digs vs. Hawai'i (Jan. 18). On the season, he ranks second on the team with 2.53 kills per set and is third with 1.65 digs per set.
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 led the team in kills in all but one match. The Honolulu, Hawaii, native has totaled double-figure kills eight times, and has posted at least 10 kills in each of the last seven outings. Crabb registered a career-high 22 kills against Hawai'i (Jan. 18). He also notched 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 a team-best 3.86 kills and 1.83 digs per set.
NEW HOME FOR ORNEE
Junior Jeff Ornee made the transition from middle blocker to opposite in the third week of the season. Ornee, who had seen some playing time at opposite prior to his collegiate career, compiled a season-high 11 kills and five digs at No. 5 UCLA (Jan. 15). The Cypress, Calif., native followed with a career-best 11 digs in a five-set victory against Hawai'i on Jan. 18. As a middle, Ornee also totaled a career-high 10 blocks in a 3-2 win vs. UC San Diego (Jan. 5). On the year, Ornee is averaging 1.68 kills, 1.24 digs and 0.79 blocks per set.
OLBRIGHT WITH THE DISH
Junior Connor Olbright, who led Long Beach State in assist average as a freshman and sophomore, ranks eighth in the MPSF with 10.17 assists per set. He had a season-high 50 helpers in a 3-1 win at UC San Diego on Jan. 26. The Orange, Calif., native has also registered a pair of double-doubles, accomplishing the feat at UC Santa Barbara (29 assists, 10 digs) and vs. Hawai'i (41 assists, 11 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 1,931 career assists.
GREGORY STEPS UP
Redshirt freshman middle blocker Taylor Gregory, who was inserted into the starting lineup two weeks ago, has stepped up for the 49ers, leading the squad in blocking in four of the five matches he has played. On the year, he is averaging a team-high 1.29 blocks per set. Gregory registered a season-best eight block assists in a 3-2 win over Hawai'i (Jan. 18), and in the second match against the Warriors, he also had six blocks and a .714 hitting percentage (5-0-7). Gregory added a season-high eight kills at UC San Diego on Jan. 26.
Long Beach State is back in action later this week as it travels to Provo, Utah, for an MPSF match against league-leading and top-ranked BYU on Friday, Feb. 1. First serve is set for 6 p.m. (PST).