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No. 2 Long Beach State Hits the Road at UC Irvine, UC San Diego

Feb. 10, 2017

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No. 2 Long Beach State (9-2, 5-1 MPSF) vs. No. 7 UC Irvine (8-4, 5-3 MPSF)

Date: Friday, Feb. 10
Time: 7 p.m. (PT)
Arena: Bren Events Center (5,000)
Location: Irvine, Calif.

Live Stats:
Radio: None
Radio Talent: N/A

No. 2 Long Beach State (9-2, 5-1 MPSF) vs. UC San Diego (4-5, 1-4 MPSF)

Date: Saturday, Feb. 11
Time: 7 p.m. (PT)
Arena: RIMAC (5,000)
Location: San Diego, Calif.

Live Stats:
Radio: None
Radio Talent: N/A
Webcast: UCSDTritons.TV

No. 2 Long Beach State Hits the Road at UC Irvine, UC San Diego
The second-ranked Long Beach State men’s volleyball team starts its four-match road swing with a pair of matches at No. 7 UC Irvine on Friday, Feb. 10 followed by a contest at UC San Diego on Saturday, Feb. 11. Both games are set for 7 p.m.

Quick Hits
• The Beach is coming off of a 3-0 sweep of No. 7 Stanford on Saturday which moved LBSU into No. 2 in the national rankings. Long Beach State has now won six of its last seven matches.
• After a stellar performance against No. 5 Hawaii, sophomore opposite Kyle Ensing was named AVCA and MPSF Player of the Week for the first time in his career.
• Senior libero Andrew Sato recorded a career-high 23 digs against Saint Francis (Pa.) last week and moved into third in the Long Beach State career record book with 829 digs. He also owns the record for most matches with 10 or more digs with 47.
• Senior middle blocker Bryce Yould is now eighth all-time at the Beach with a .423 career hitting percentage (386-101-673).
• Sophomore setter Josh Tuaniga broke into the Long Beach State Top 10 with a total of 1,777 helpers after dishing out 73 assists last week.
• Tuaniga has totaled 413 assists for an average of 11.47 to lead the MPSF and rank second in the nation. As a team, the Beach are averaging 12.64 assists per set which is tops the MPSF and is also second in the NCAA.
• The Beach’s offense is averaging 13.51 kills per set which puts them in first in the MPSF and second in the nation.
• As a team, the 49ers are ranked in the top five in the nation in three categories. The Beach are second in assists per set (12.64), third in kills per set (13.51), and third in hitting percentage (.356).
• LBSU has three players leading the MPSF as Amir Lugo-Rodriguez leads both the league and the nation with 1.29 blocks per set, while Andrew Sato and Josh Tuaniga lead the MPSF in digs (2.74 per set) and assists (11.47 per set), respectively.
• Long Beach State was chosen to finish third in the MPSF Preseason Coaches’ Poll with 103 total points. The Beach were picked to come in behind BYU (119 points), which garnered nine first-place votes, and UCLA (111 points), which tallied three first place votes.

In the Rankings
After sweeping a pair of Top-10 teams in No. 9 Pepperdine and No. 7 Stanford last week, Long Beach State moved into second in the AVCA Division I-II Men’s Volleyball Poll. The Beach have also jumped into first place in the MPSF standings with a 5-1 conference record.

This week, the Beach take on nationall-ranked UC Irvine which comes in at No. 7 in the weekly poll. The Anteaters dropped from sixth down to seven after splitting a pair of four-set matches last week with a win at Cal Baptist and a loss against USC.

UC San Diego is not ranked, but is riding a five-match winning streak as the Tritons have not lost a match since Friday, January 20 versus then-No. 6 UC Irvine.

This season, Long Beach State will face 12 of the 15 ranked teams, while taking on the top three finishers from a year ago (Ohio State, BYU, UCLA) on the road.

Scouting The ‘Eaters
No. 7 UC Irvine brings an 8-4 overall record into the meeting against the Beach as the Anteaters are coming off of a 3-1 [23-25, 42-40, 23-25, 23-25] loss to USC last Friday. In conference action, the ‘Eaters are 5-3 and ranked fourth in the MPSF standings.

As a team, UC Irvine is hitting .290, while averaging 13.02 kills per set. They have allowed their opponents to hit .233 with 11.83 kills per set for a slight offensive advantage. Defensively, the ‘Eaters hold the edge on their counterparts in digs (8.5 per set to 7.8 per set).

Thomas Hodges leads the team with 116 kills for an average of 2.52 per set, while Tamir Hershko’s average of 2.79 kills per set (109 kills total) is tops on the squad. Michael Saeta paces the offense with 7.89 assists per game, while adding a team-best 36 service aces which leads the league. Dillon Hoffman leads the backrow with an average of 2.59 digs per set, while Scott Stadick guards the net posting a team-best 42 blocks for an average of 1.08 per set.

Series vs. UC Irvine
Long Beach State and UC Irvine will meet for the 67th time in program history and the Beach lead the all-time series 42-24. The 49ers have won the last two meetings after sweeping the ‘Eaters during the 2016 season. When playing UC Irvine at the Bren Events Centers, Long Beach State owns a 16-13 edge in the series and most recently collected a 3-2 win against the ‘Eaters on their home court.

Scouting the Tritons
UC San Diego is currently riding a five-match winning streak after kicking off the 2017 season on a five-match losing streak. The Tritons own a 5-5 overall record and are 2-4 in MPSF action after sweeping CSUN and holding off USC in four sets in their last two matches.

The Tritons are hitting .254 on 11.13 kills per set, while their opponents have tallied 12.31 kills per game to hit .282. Despite trailing on the offensive end, UC San Diego holds a slight advantage over its counterparts at the net as the Tritons have put up an average of 2.0 blocks per set to their opponents’ 1.9.

Tanner Syftestad is UCSD’s leading scorer with 154 kills to average 4.28 per set. He also adds 1.08 digs per set to go along with 0.56 blocks per set. Milosh Stojcic is the setter with 360 assists to average 9.46 per set, while Drew Sloane leads the team at the net with 0.92 blocks per game.

Series vs. UC San Diego
Long Beach State and UC San Diego have squared off 68 total times in program history and the Beach own a 63-5 advantage in the all-time series. LBSU has won the last nine meetings as UCSD is looking to earn its first win over the 49ers since 2012 when they edged the Beach in five sets. When playing in San Diego, LBSU owns a 30-3 record over UCSD and at one point won 26 straight times against the Tritons.

Up Next
Long Beach State continues its road swing as the Beach head to No. 12 UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m., before taking on No. 4 UCLA on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 4 p.m.

The Last Meeting
Long Beach State3
UC Irvine2
April 9, 2016
Irvine, Calif.
Long Beach State Defeats UC Irvine in Five, Clinches No. 3 Seed in MPSF Tournament
The fifth-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team ended the regular season with a 3-2 win at No. 15 UC Irvine Saturday evening at the Bren Events Center to clinch the No. 3 seed in the MPSF Tournament. Set scores were 22-25, 25-19, 25-22, 13-25, 15-7.

The Last Meeting
Long Beach State3
UC San Diego0
April 8, 2016
La Jolla, Calif.
Beach Topples UC San Diego, 3-0
The fifth-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team toppled UC San Diego, 25-18, 25-16, 25-17, Friday evening at RIMAC Arena.



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