The 49ers will host the annual Active Ankle Classic this weekend.
March 12, 2013
No. 3 Long Beach State (14-5)
Date: Saturday, March 16
Time: 7 p.m. (PDT)
Location: Walter Pyramid
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The third-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team will host No. 15 George Mason (March 15) and IPFW (March 16) in the annual Active Ankle Classic this weekend. First serve for both matches is 7 p.m.
IN THE POLLS
LBSU remained at No. 3 in the AVCA national poll released on March 11. The MPSF continued to dominate with 11 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 183-109 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 GEORGE MASON
No. 15 George Mason improved to 9-8 overall after sweeping EIVA opponents, NJIT and Rutgers-Newark, last weekend. The Patriots have won four of their last five matches, with their loss coming to then No. 8 Lewis. Mark Jones and Michael Kvidahol lead George Mason with 3.33 and 3.26 kills per set, respectively. Javier Perez has directed the offense with 10.32 assists per set, and Max McFarland has registered a team-best 2.60 digs per set.
Long Beach State is 3-1 all-time against George Mason. The two teams last met in 1995 when the 49ers defeated the Patriots, 3-1, in Long Beach.
SCOUTING THE MASTODONS
IPFW (8-7), which is tied for fifth in the MIVA, snapped a three-match losing streak with a pair of wins last weekend. The Mastodons defeated Sacred Heart, 3-1, and notched a 3-2 upset over then No. 10 Penn State. Eddie Rivera has paced IPFW with 3.12 kills and 1.77 digs per set.
The 49ers lead in their all-time series with IPFW, 19-3, and have won the last 12 meetings. The two teams faced each other on March 9, 2012, when LBSU emerged with a 3-0 victory in Long Beach.
CLOSING IN ON 1,000
Junior outside hitter Taylor Crabb has already amassed 335 kills with nine matches left in the regular season. He has increased his career total to 934 and is on pace to break the 1,000-kill milestone in 2013.
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 18 times. The Honolulu, Hawaii, native has totaled double-figure kills on 19 occasions, and has posted at least 10 in each of the last 18 outings. Crabb also has six 20-plus kill matches on the year, including a career-high 24 vs. No. 2 UC Irvine on March 9. He added a career-best 15 digs against the Anteaters for his 15th career double-double. Crabb also had a double-double with 23 kills and 12 digs at Cal Baptist, and 17 kills and 11 digs at No. 5 UCLA. A preseason All-American, Crabb is averaging an MPSF-leading 4.41 kills per set and ranks ninth in the league with 1.79 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 10 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. UC Irvine (13 kills, 12 digs) 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 2.75 kills per set and is third with 1.64 digs per set.
OLBRIGHT WITH THE DISH
Junior Connor Olbright, who led Long Beach State in assist average as a freshman and sophomore, ranks third in the MPSF with 10.86 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 nine matches, including a season-best .507 vs. UC San Diego on March 6. The Orange, Calif., native has also registered a team-leading five double-doubles. 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 2,400 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 153 digs (2.01/set). He has reached double figures in digs five times and established a season-high 16 vs. UCLA on March 13. He also had 15 digs at Cal Baptist. Andrew's father, Gary, has been involved with the U.S. Men's National Team for over 20 years, serving as an assistant coach on the 1988 Olympic Gold Medal-winning team and on the 1992 squad that claimed the Bronze Medal. His uncle, Eric, and aunt, Liane, are also Olympic medalists.
Long Beach State resumes MPSF play next week when it closes out its eight-match homestand against No. 12 Cal Baptist (March 21) and top-ranked BYU (March 23).
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