March 6, 2014
No. 2 BYU (12-3, 12-1 MPSF) at
No. 3 Long Beach State (11-4, 10-4 MPSF)
Date: Friday, March 7
Time: 7 p.m. (PST)
Location: Long Beach, Calif.
Arena: Walter Pyramid
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Cal Baptist (4-12, 2-11 MPSF) at
The Last Meeting
January 11, 2014
The Last Meeting
|Long Beach State||3
January 9, 2014
No. 3 Long Beach State (11-4, 10-4 MPSF)
Saturday, March 8
7 p.m. (PST)
Long Beach, Calif.
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Long Beach State Match Notes
The Long Beach State men's volleyball team is set for a top-five showdown this week as the third-ranked 49ers host No. 2 BYU on Friday, March 7. LBSU will also entertain unranked Cal Baptist on Saturday, March 8. Both contests are scheduled for a 7 p.m. start in the Walter Pyramid.
IN THE POLLS
Long Beach State jumped two spots to No. 3 in this week's AVCA poll released on March 3. Loyola-Chicago earned the No. 1 ranking for the fourth-straight week, and was followed by BYU, LBSU, Pepperdine and UCLA.
The 49ers have been ranked as high as No. 1, claiming the top spot after winning the UCSB Asics Invitational to open the season. It was their first time at No. 1 in the AVCA poll since the 2006 campaign.
KNIPE REACHES MILESTONE
Eleventh-year head coach Alan Knipe secured his 200th career win with the 49ers' 3-1 victory at No. 2 UCLA on Feb. 12. In his 10-plus years at the helm, Knipe has compiled a 204-115 overall record. In 2013, he directed the 49ers to their best season in five years as they went 24-8 and advanced to the MPSF Tournament finals. During his tenure, Knipe has led LBSU to nine MPSF Tournament appearances, two NCAA Tournament bids and five 20-plus win seasons.
ON A ROLL
The 49ers, who started their MPSF slate with a pair of tough road trips to BYU and Hawai'i, opened the conference season with a 2-3 record, but since upsetting then No. 1 Pepperdine on Jan. 24, LBSU has gone 8-1, including five-straight victories at home. The win streak has catapulted Long Beach State into second place in the MPSF standings as it is 2.5 games behind league-leading BYU.
SCOUTING THE COUGARS
Second-ranked BYU (12-3, 12-1 MPSF) swept both then No. 7 USC and No. 4 Pepperdine last week. The Cougars have won six in a row and their only MPSF loss came at Pepperdine on Jan. 31. Taylor Sander leads BYU with 4.57 kills, 1.57 digs and 0.56 aces per set. Devin Young is also averaging 1.58 kills and a team-best 1.11 blocks per set, while hitting at a .422 clip.
Long Beach State trails in its all-time series with BYU, 23-28. The Cougars have come out on top in the last three meetings between the two teams.
In just its third official match of the season, Long Beach State dropped a 25-20, 23-25, 25-20, 25-20 decision at BYU on Jan. 11. Taylor Crabb led the 49ers with 22 kills and nine digs, while Andrew Whitt had 10 kills and five digs. Dalton Ammerman started but went down early in the first set with an ankle injury and did not return. Taylor Sander paced the Cougars with a match-high 24 kills and 11 digs.
A GLANCE AT CAL BAPTIST
Cal Baptist (4-12, 2-11 MPSF) ended a seven-match losing streak with a 3-1 non-conference win over St. Francis on Tuesday. The Lancers will host Cal State Northridge on Thursday before making their way to Long Beach. Johannes Brink has paced CBU with 3.88 kills and 1.35 digs per set.
Long Beach State leads in its all-time series with Cal Baptist, 12-1. The 49ers have won five in a row with their only loss coming at the UCSB Asics Invitational in 2010.
Then No. 1 Long Beach State swept Cal Baptist, 25-23, 25-21, 25-19, in its Mountain Pacific Sports Federation opener at Van Dyne Gym on Jan. 9. Taylor Crabb and Dalton Ammerman led the way with 15 and 13 kills, respectively. Crabb committed just one error on 24 swings for a .583 clip. Jeff Ornee and Ian Satterfield contributed nine kills each and both hit over .400. On the night, the 49ers registered an impressive .455 team hitting percentage. Connor Olbright directed the offense with 42 assists, while Andrew Sato had a match-high 11 digs.
After playing eight of their first 10 MPSF contests away from Long Beach, the 49ers are back in town for an extended stay as they are in the midst of a season-long eight-match homestand. LBSU has kicked off that stretch with four-straight wins, dropping only one set along the way. Overall, Long Beach State will play 11 of its final 16 matches in the `Mid.
PERFECT AT .300
The 49ers are undefeated at 7-0 when they have recorded a team hitting percentage of .300 or better. They have also hit at least .400 on three occassions, with a season-high .493 clip vs. UC San Diego (Feb. 21).
CLIMBING THE CHARTS
Seniors Taylor Crabb and Connor Olbright continue to move up the 49er career charts. Crabb recently cracked the top-10 as he ranks ninth with 1,384 kills. Crabb is also seventh in total attempts (3,159) and seventh in digs (706), while Olbright is No. 5 in assists (3,575).
BACK TO BUSINESS
In his senior season, reigning AVCA National Player of the Year Taylor Crabb (Honolulu, Hawaii) has continued to prove that he is the country's top collegiate volleyball player. The six-foot outside hitter, who is already a two-time MPSF Player of the Week honoree, leads the nation in kills (5.05) and points (5.65) per set. He has reached double figures in kills in every match, with six of those coming by way of 20-plus kill performances. Crabb also has a team-leading five double-doubles.
Crabb's best showing to date came at No. 2 UCLA, where he matched his career high with 29 kills, while committing just one error on 56 attempts (.500). He added a career best 16 digs to go along with five blocks and one ace against the Bruins. Crabb also had 29 kills, 12 digs and two aces at No. 7 Stanford (Jan. 31). In the second meeting with the Cardinal on Feb. 28, he finished with 22 kills and 11 digs. Crabb also recorded a double-double in a five-set win over No. 1 Pepperdine (24 kills,13 digs) and at Hawai'i on Jan. 17 (22 kills, 10 digs). On the season, Crabb is averaging 5.05 kills and 2.31 digs per set, and has registered a .382 hitting percentage.
BRINGING THE HAMMER
Senior Dalton Ammerman has been a consistent force on the outside for LBSU, reaching double figures in kills seven times. Ammerman started the season with back-to-back double-digit kill performances, notching 18 vs. Harvard and 13 at Cal Baptist. The Parker, Colo., native then suffered an ankle sprain early in the first set at BYU (Jan. 11), forcing him to miss that match along with the first contest at Hawai'i. He came back with 10 kills in the second meeting against the Rainbow Warriors and tied for the team lead with 11 kills vs. USC. Ammerman also had 13 kills at UCLA and at UC Santa Barbara. Ammerman, who was named the MVP of the UCSB Asics Invitational, ranks second on the team with 2.53 kills per set.
OLBRIGHT WITH THE DISH
Senior All-American setter Connor Olbright (Orange, Calif.) ranks first in the nation with 11.86 assists per set. He has registered at least 50 assists four times, including a season-high 56 in a win over top-ranked Pepperdine. Olbright also started the 2014 campaign with 55 helpers in a 3-1 victory over Harvard at the UCSB Asics Invitational, where he earned all-tournament honors for the second year in a row. In addition, he dished out 52 assists and amassed a career-high 17 digs at No. 7 Stanford. Olbright has three double-doubles on the season.
RETURN TO THE MIDDLE
Senior Jeff Ornee has started every match at middle blocker after playing most of the 2013 season at opposite. The Cypress, Calif., native has worked his way back into his original position nicely as he leads the team and ranks eighth in the nation with 1.27 blocks per set. Ornee had a career-high 13 blocks against top-ranked Pepperdine, marking the second time that he has reached double figures in blocks as his previous best was 10 vs. UC San Diego (Jan. 5, 2013).
LIVING UP TO THE NAME
Sophomore Andrew Sato comes from a decorated volleyball family and he has kept the tradition alive as he was named to the MPSF All-Freshman Team last year. This season, he has registered nine double-digit dig matches, including a career-high 19 vs. top-ranked Pepperdine. The Calabasas, Calif., native also finished with 15 digs vs. Stanford and 14 vs. Harvard. On the season, Sato is tops on the squad and fourth in the nation with 2.73 digs per set.
Long Beach State wraps up its season-long eight-match homestand next week when it hosts the annual Active Ankle Classic. The 49ers open the four-team tournament against Ohio State on Friday, March 14, before entertaining Penn State on Saturday, March 15. Both matches will start at approximately 7 p.m.