No. 7 LBSU Makes its Way to Top-Ranked BYU for Match-Up of Early MPSF Leaders
49ers enter the weekend second in the conference standings
Jan. 30, 2013
No. 7 Long Beach State (7-3, 5-2 MPSF) at
No. 1 BYU (5-1, 4-0 MPSF)
Date: Friday, Feb. 1
Time: 6 p.m. (PST)
Location: Smith Fieldhouse
Channel: DirecTV - 374; Dish Network - 9403
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The seventh-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team travels to No. 1 BYU this weekend for a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match that will feature the league's early leaders on Friday, Feb. 1. First serve is set for 6 p.m. (PST) at Smith Fieldhouse.
The Long Beach State-BYU match will be aired live on BYUtv (DirecTV - Channel 374; Dish Network - Channel 9403). The game will also be streamed online at byutvsports.com/gameday.
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.
A GLANCE AT BYU
Top-ranked BYU (5-1, 4-0 MPSF) is coming off a bye week as it was last in action on Jan. 19 when it swept No. 13 UC San Diego, 25-15, 25-19, 25-23, in Provo, Utah. The Cougars have won three in a row with their only loss coming to Lewis on Jan. 11 (21-25, 19-25, 25-20, 25-18, 15-9). Taylor Sander has paced BYU with 3.86 kills and 1.32 digs per set. Russ Lavaja is also averaging a team-best 1.64 blocks per set, while Jaylen Reyes is tops on the squad with 1.48 digs per set. Ryan Boyce has directed the offense to .333 hitting with 10.41 assists per set.
Long Beach State trails in its all-time series with BYU, 25-22. The two teams split the regular-season series last year with the 49ers falling in three sets before coming back the following night to top the Cougars, 3-2, at the Walter Pyramid. LBSU also traveled to BYU for an MPSF quarterfinal match on April 12, 2012, with the Cougars prevailing in another thrilling five-set match.
WITH A WIN...
A 49er victory at BYU on Friday will mean:
- LBSU improves to 6-2 in MPSF play, marking its best conference start since 2008 when it went 7-1. That year, the 49ers claimed a share of the MPSF regular season title and earned a bid to the NCAA Championships.
- LBSU will have defeated a No. 1-ranked team for the second year in a row as the 49ers upset top-ranked UCLA on Feb. 14, 2012.
- LBSU picks up its first win at BYU since 2005, snapping an eight-match road skid in the series.
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 nine times, and has posted at least 10 kills in each of the last eight outings. Crabb registered a then career-high 22 kills against Hawai'i (Jan. 18), before topping that performance with 23 kills in a 3-1 win at Cal Baptist on Jan. 29. He added a season-best 12 digs vs. the Lancers for his 14th career double-double. Crabb also had a double-double with 17 kills and 11 digs at No. 5 UCLA. Crabb is averaging a team-best 4.05 kills per set and ranks second with 1.95 digs per set.
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 six times, including a career-high 16 at UC San Diego on Jan. 26. Ammerman also had a double-double vs. Hawai'i (11 kills, 11 digs) and at Cal Baptist (11 kills, 12 digs). On the season, he ranks second on the team with 2.55 kills per set and is third with 1.79 digs 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 10.33 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 1,978 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 five of the six matches he has played. On the year, he is averaging a team-high 1.28 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.
NOT JUST A NAME
Freshman Andrew Sato comes from a decorated volleyball family and he proves to be following in their footsteps. Sato has been the starting libero in every match and is tops on the team with 78 digs (2.00/set). He established a season-high 15 digs at Cal Baptist and also reached double figures at UCLA (12 digs) and vs. UC San Diego (11 digs). Andrew's father, Gary, has been involved with the U.S. Men's National Team for over 20 years, serving as an assistant coach on the 1988 Olympic Gold Medal-winning team and on the 1992 squad that claimed the Bronze Medal. Andrew's uncle, Eric, was also a member of Team USA in 1988 and 1992, while his aunt, Liane, played in two Olympic Games, winning bronze in 1992.
Long Beach State returns to the friendly confines of the Walter Pyramid next week when it entertains No. 4 Pepperdine (Feb. 6) and No. 8 USC (Feb. 8). Both MPSF matches are slated to start at 7 p.m.
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