Head Coach Alan Knipe and his 49ers will take on UC Santa Barbara Friday at 7 p.m.
Feb. 27, 2013
UC Santa Barbara (6-11, 4-9 MPSF) at
No. 3 Long Beach State (12-4, 10-3 MPSF)
Date: Friday, March 1
Time: 7 p.m. (PST)
Location: Walter Pyramid
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The third-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team will be looking to extend its season-long four-match win streak when it welcomes UC Santa Barbara to the Walter Pyramid on Friday, March 1. First serve is set for 7 p.m.
IN THE POLLS
LBSU remained at No. 3 in the AVCA national poll released on Feb. 25. 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 181-107 overall record (.628) 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 GAUCHOS
UC Santa Barbara (6-11, 4-9 MPSF) snapped a four-match losing streak with a 3-1 win at No. 9 USC last week. The Gauchos will play at UCLA on Wednesday, Feb. 27, before making their way to Long Beach. Matt Marsh is tops on the squad with 3.35 kills per set, while Dylan Davis is averaging 1.98 kills and a team-best 1.41 blocks per set.
Long Beach State leads in its all-time series with UC Santa Barbara, 45-37. The 49ers swept the regular-season series in 2012, but fell to the Gauchos in the first meeting this year. UCSB topped LBSU, 3-0, in both teams' MPSF opener on Jan. 9. Matt Marsh led Santa Barbara with a match-high 15 kills, while Taylor Crabb paced the 49ers with a team-best 10 kills.
Long Beach State is riding a season-long win streak as it picked up its fourth-straight victory at Cal State Northridge last weekend. The 49ers have prevailed in seven of their last eight matches. Individually, Taylor Crabb has reached double-figure kills in 14 consecutive matches and he has hit over .300 in each of the last eight outings.
CLOSING IN ON 1,000
Junior outside hitter Taylor Crabb has already amassed 261 kills with 13 matches left in the regular season. He has increased his career total to 860 and is on pace to break the 1,000-kill milestone in 2013.
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. LBSU begins a season-long eight-match homestand when it squares off against UC Santa Barbara on Friday. Long Beach State is set to play eight of its 10 contests in the month of March at either the Walter Pyramid or the 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 14 times. The Honolulu, Hawaii, native has totaled double-figure kills on 15 occasions, and has posted at least 10 in each of the last 14 outings. Crabb also has four 20-plus kill matches on the year with a career-high 23 at Cal Baptist (Jan. 29), 22 at Cal State Northridge (Feb. 22), 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 4.28 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 eight 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 1.55 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 10.84 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-best .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 2,236 career assists.
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 117 digs (1.92/set). He established a season-high 15 digs at Cal Baptist and also reached double figures at UCLA (12 digs) and vs. UCSD (11 digs).
Long Beach State continues its homestand next week when it entertains UC San Diego (March 6) and No. 1 UC Irvine (March 9) in a pair of MPSF matches at the Walter Pyramid.
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