Feb. 20, 2013
The third-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team, winners of six of its last seven, will head to No. 8 Cal State Northridge on Friday, Feb. 22, for its lone match this week. First serve is set for 7 p.m. at The Matadome.
IN THE POLLS
LBSU moved up one spot to No. 3 in the AVCA national poll released on Feb. 18. The MPSF continued to dominate with 11 of its 13 teams featured among the top-15. The 49ers were also ranked second in the Volleyball Magazine poll.
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 180-107 overall record (.627) 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.
A GLANCE AT THE MATADORS
No. 8 Cal State Northridge (7-5, 5-5 MPSF) fell to Stanford in four sets before defeating Pacific, 3-1, last weekend. Brandon Lebrock and John Baker lead the Matadors with 3.22 and 3.21 kills per set, respectively.
Long Beach State leads in its all-time series with Cal State Northridge, 36-32. The 49ers split the regular-season series last year as they dropped a five-set decision at CSUN on Jan. 20 and topped the Matadors, 3-0, at the Walter Pyramid on Feb. 3.
Long Beach State tied its season-long win streak with its third-straight victory last Saturday (Feb. 16). The 49ers have prevailed in six of their last seven matches. Individually, Taylor Crabb has reached double-figure kills in 13 consecutive matches and he has hit over .300 in each of the last seven outings.
CLOSING IN ON 1,000
Junior outside hitter Taylor Crabb has amassed 239 kills midway through the 2013 campaign, increasing his career total to 838. Crabb is on pace to break the 1,000-kill milestone by the end of the regular season.
After just two home matches in the first five weeks of the season, the 49ers have returned to Long Beach for 12 of their next 13. During that stretch, LBSU has a season-long eight-match homestand (March 1-23) as it will play eight of its 10 contests in the month of March at either the Walter Pyramid or Gold Mine.
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 13 times. The Honolulu, Hawaii, native has totaled double-figure kills on 14 occasions, and has posted at least 10 in each of the last 13 outings. Crabb also has three 20-plus kill matches on the year with a career-high 23 at Cal Baptist (Jan. 29), 22 vs. Hawai'i (Jan. 18) and 20 vs. USC (Feb. 8). He added a season-best 12 digs against the Lancers for his 14th career double-double. Crabb also had a double-double with 17 kills and 11 digs at No. 5 UCLA. A preseason All-American, Crabb is averaging a team-best 4.19 kills per set and ranks second on the squad with 1.75 digs per set.
Junior outside hitter Dalton Ammerman, who sat out last season with an injury, has earned the start in every match this year. He has reached double-figure kills seven times, including a career-high 21 at top-ranked BYU (Feb. 1). Ammerman finished the match hitting at a .459 clip to lead the 49ers to a 3-2 upset win over the Cougars. In addition, he 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 2.68 kills per set and is third with 1.61 digs per set.
OLBRIGHT WITH THE DISH
Junior Connor Olbright, who led Long Beach State in assist average as a freshman and sophomore, ranks second in the MPSF with 10.77 assists per set. He had a season-high 50 helpers at UC San Diego (Jan. 26) and again vs. USC (Feb. 8). Under his direction, the 49ers have hit over .300 in eight matches, including a season-high .455 vs. Hawai'i on Jan. 19. The Orange, Calif., native has also registered a team-leading four double-doubles, accomplishing the feat vs. Pacific (37 assists, 10 digs), at BYU (49 assists, 10 digs), vs. Hawai'i (41 assists, 11 digs), and at UC Santa Barbara (29 assists, 10 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 2,189 career assists.
GREGORY'S BLOCK PARTY
Redshirt freshman middle blocker Taylor Gregory, who was inserted into the starting lineup three weeks into the season, has stepped up for the 49ers, leading the squad in blocking in 10 of the last 11 matches. 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). He also had a season-high eight kills at UCSD on Jan. 26 and later matched that total against Pacific on Feb. 15.
Long Beach State begins a season-long eight match homestand next week when it entertains UC Santa Barbara on Friday, March 1. First serve is set for 7 p.m. at the Walter Pyramid.
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