The 49ers, winners of their last five matches, host UC San Diego at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
March 4, 2013
The third-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team, which is riding a season-long five-match win streak, welcomes UC San Diego to the Walter Pyramid for a 7 p.m. MPSF match on Wednesday, March 6.
IN THE POLLS
LBSU remained at No. 3 in the AVCA national poll released on March 4. The 49ers received one first-place vote and were just eight points behind No. 2 UC Irvine. The MPSF continued to dominate with 12 of its 13 teams featured among the top-15.
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 182-107 overall record (.630) 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 TRITONS
UC San Diego suffered a pair of 3-0 setbacks at No. 12 Cal Baptist and vs. then second-ranked BYU to drop to 6-13 overall and 3-11 in MPSF action. Carl Eberts leads the Tritons with 3.33 kills per set, while Chase Frishman is averaging a team-best 2.47 digs per set.
Long Beach State leads in its all-time series with UC San Diego, 56-5. The 49ers have already topped the Tritons twice this year, winning 3-2 in the third-place match at the UCSB/asics Invitational (Jan. 5) and 3-1 in an MPSF contest in La Jolla on Jan. 26. LBSU has claimed 11 of the last 12 meetings between the two teams.
Long Beach State is currently on a season-long five-match win streak. The 49ers, who have prevailed in eight of their last nine matches, have also won four consecutive home games, including three-straight sweeps at the Walter Pyramid. Individually, Taylor Crabb has reached double-figure kills in 15 consecutive matches and he has hit .300 or better in each of the last nine outings.
CLOSING IN ON 1,000
Junior outside hitter Taylor Crabb has already amassed 274 kills with 12 matches left in the regular season. He has increased his career total to 873 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 is in the midst of a season-long eight-match homestand as it is set to play eight of its 10 contests in the month of March at either the Walter Pyramid or the Gold Mine. Long Beach State is an impressive 6-1 at home, with four of those wins coming by way of a 3-0 sweep.
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 15 times. The Honolulu, Hawaii, native has totaled double-figure kills on 16 occasions, and has posted at least 10 in each of the last 15 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 1.77 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 fourth with 1.59 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 10.88 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 five double-doubles, with the most recent coming against UC Santa Barbara (March 1) where he had 35 assists and 11 digs. His 11 digs matched his season best which he first established against Hawai'i on Jan. 18. Olbright, who was named to the UCSB/asics Invitational all-tournament team to start the year, currently ranks eighth all-time at Long Beach State with 2,271 career assists.
Long Beach State returns to the Walter Pyramid on Saturday, March 9, when it entertains No. 2 UC Irvine at 7 p.m. The match is part of the Black & Blue Rivalry Series, which is currently tied at 13-13.
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