Jan. 29, 2014
No. 6 Long Beach State (4-3, 3-3 MPSF) at
No. 7 Stanford (4-3, 1-3 MPSF)
Date: Friday, Jan. 31
Time: 7 p.m. (PST)
Location: Stanford, Calif.
Arena: Maples Pavilion
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No. 6 Long Beach State (4-3, 3-3 MPSF) at
Pacific (1-6, 0-4 MPSF)
Date: Saturday, Feb. 1
Time: 7 p.m. (PST)
Location: Stockton, Calif.
Arena: Alex G. Spanos Center
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Long Beach State Match Notes
The sixth-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team will begin another four-match road swing this week with its annual Northern California trip where it will take on No. 7 Stanford and Pacific.
The 49ers open the weekend with a 7 p.m. showdown against the Cardinal at Maples Pavilion on Friday, Jan. 31. They will then make their way to Alex G. Spanos Center in Stockton where they are set to face the Tigers in another 7 p.m. match on Saturday, Feb. 1.
IN THE POLLS
Despite beating the No. 1 team in the nation last week, Long Beach State dropped one spot to No. 6 in this week's AVCA Poll (Jan. 27). For the fourth-straight week, there was a new number one as UCLA and Loyola-Chicago tied for the top spot, bumping former No. 1 Pepperdine down to No. 3. 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.
GOING FOR 200
Eleventh-year head coach Alan Knipe is three wins away from reaching the 200-victory milestone. In his 10-plus years at the helm, Knipe has compiled a 197-114 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.
CRABB NAMED MPSF/MOLTEN PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Senior Taylor Crabb was named the MPSF/Molten Player of the Week after leading Long Beach State to a thrilling 3-2 victory over then No. 1 Pepperdine last Friday. He finished with a career-high tying 24 kills and a season-best 13 digs, marking his second double-double in three outings. Crabb also compiled five blocks and a match-high .365 hitting percentage against the Waves. Earlier in the week, he tied for the team lead with 11 kills in a loss to then No. 4 USC. Over the two matches, Crabb averaged 4.38 kills, 2.00 digs and 0.62 blocks per set, while hitting .341 (35-6-85). It was the second career weekly honor for Crabb and the first for Long Beach State this season.
SCOUTING THE CARDINAL
No. 7 Stanford (4-3, 1-3 MPSF) earned its first MPSF win last week as it bounced back from a four-set loss at BYU (Jan. 24) with a 3-0 win at Cal Baptist (Jan. 25). Steven Irvin leads the Cardinal with 3.71 kills and 1.71 digs per set. Brian Cook is also averaging 3.21 kills, 1.57 digs and 0.71 blocks per set, while Grant Delgado has a team-best 2.50 digs per set.
Long Beach State leads in its all-time series with Stanford, 44-28, and has won the last three. The 49ers dropped just two sets in three meetings with the Cardinal last year. They swept Stanford at home, won in five on the road and cruised to another 3-0 victory in the MPSF Tournament quarterfinals at the Walter Pyramid on April 20, 2013.
A GLANCE AT PACIFIC
Pacific (1-6, 0-4 MPSF) remained winless in conference play after falling at Cal Baptist and BYU last week. The Tigers, who have lost their last six matches, will host Cal State Northridge on Friday, Jan. 31. Thomas Hodges is tops on the team with 2.67 kills per set, while Javier Caceres leads the defense at 2.72 digs per set.
Long Beach State leads in its all-time series with Pacific, 34-9. The 49ers have won 12 of the last 13, including three in a row. Last year, LBSU topped the Tigers 3-0 at home and claimed a 3-1 victory on the road.
NUMBER ONE STREAK
With its win over Pepperdine last Friday, Long Beach State has now beaten a top-ranked team in each of the last three years. Last season, the 49ers upset No. 1 BYU, 3-2, in Provo, Utah, while they also upended No. 1 UCLA in five sets at the Walter Pyramid in 2012.
Long Beach State will play eight of its first 10 MPSF contests away from the Walter Pyramid as the 49ers' home opening week was sandwiched in between a pair of four-match road swings.
ON THE HORIZON
LBSU's extended stay on the road will pay off a little later in the season as the 49ers are looking forward to an eight-match homestand from Feb. 19-March 15.
CLIMBING THE CHARTS
Seniors Taylor Crabb and Connor Olbright continue to move up the 49er career charts. Crabb currently ranks seventh in attempts (2,817), 10th in digs (635) and 12th in kills (1,226), while Olbright is No. 5 in assists (3,227).
49ERS IN THE RANKINGS
Five 49ers rank among the nation's best in six different statistical categories. Taylor Crabb is third in kills (4.63/set), fourth in points (5.09/set) and 15th in hitting percentage (.359). Connor Olbright also ranks third in the NCAA with 11.70 assists per set, while Andrew Sato is seventh with 2.93 digs per set. In addition, Jeff Ornee (1.43/set) and Taylor Gregory (1.11/set) are sixth and 23rd, respectively, in blocks per set.
BACK TO BUSINESS
Senior outside hitter Taylor Crabb (Honolulu, Hawaii) has once again been the 49ers' most consistent performer as he has a team-high seven double-figure kill matches and three 20-plus kill performances. He recently notched his 18th career double-double with a season-high 24 kills and 13 digs in a five-set win over No. 1 Pepperdine. Crabb also finished with 22 kills and 10 digs at No. 10 Hawai'i (Jan. 17). In addition, he had 22 kills at ninth-ranked BYU, 19 vs. Harvard, 15 at Cal Baptist,12 at Hawai'i (Jan. 16) and 11 vs. USC. Crabb is averaging a team-best 4.63 kills per set and has registered a .359 hitting percentage. He is also second on the squad with 2.15 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.
SATTERFIELD DOUBLES UP
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 2.67 kills, 1.44 digs and 0.93 blocks per set. Satterfield, who has reached double figures in kills in two of the last three matches, recently notched a career-high 19 kills, to go along with six digs and six blocks, in a 3-2 win over top-ranked Pepperdine. He also had his first career double-double with 10 kills and 12 digs at Hawai'i on Jan. 17.
OLBRIGHT WITH THE DISH
Senior All-American setter Connor Olbright (Orange, Calif.) ranks third in the nation with 11.70 assists per set. He started the 2014 campaign with 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 dished out a season-high 56 assists in a win over top-ranked Pepperdine and directed Long Beach State to a season-best .455 hitting percentage with 42 helpers in an MPSF sweep of Cal Baptist.
RETURN TO THE MIDDLE
Senior Jeff Ornee has started all seven of LBSU's matches at middle blocker after playing most of the 2013 season at opposite. The Cypress, Calif., native has worked his way back into his original position nicely as he leads the team with 1.43 blocks per set, which also ranks second in the MPSF and sixth in the nation. Ornee had a career-high 13 blocks against top-ranked Pepperdine. It was the second time in his career that he reached double figures in blocks as his previous best was 10 vs. UC San Diego on Jan. 5, 2013.
Long Beach State will wrap up its second four-match road swing of the season next week with contests at UCLA (Feb. 12) and UC Santa Barbara (Feb. 14).