March 18, 2014
No. 2 Long Beach State (15-4, 12-4 MPSF) at
No. 4 Pepperdine (12-5, 12-5 MPSF)
Date: Thursday, March 20
Time: 7 p.m. (PDT)
Location: Malibu, Calif.
Arena: Firestone Fieldhouse
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No. 2 Long Beach State (15-4, 12-4 MPSF) at
No. 7 USC (12-8, 11-8 MPSF)
Date: Saturday, March 22
Time: 7 p.m. (PDT)
Location: Los Angeles, Calif.
Arena: North Gym
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Long Beach State Match Notes
The second-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team will hit the road for the first time in over a month as it resumes MPSF play at No. 4 Pepperdine and No. 7 USC this week.
The 49ers are set to face the Waves at Firestone Fieldhouse on Thursday, March 20, before making their way to USC's North Gym for a Saturday (March 22) tilt with the Trojans. First serve for both matches is 7 p.m. (PDT).
Long Beach State's match at USC was originally scheduled to take place at the Lyon Center, but has been moved to the North Gym in the P.E. Building on campus.
IN THE POLLS
Long Beach State remained at No. 2 in this week's AVCA poll released on March 17. Loyola-Chicago earned the No. 1 ranking for the sixth-straight week, while BYU, Pepperdine and UC Santa Barbara rounded out the top-five. 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 208-115 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.
SCOUTING THE WAVES
No. 4 Pepperdine (12-5, 12-5 MPSF) has won three in a row, including a pair of road victories at UCLA and UC Santa Barbara last week. Josh Taylor (4.14 kills/set) and Parker Kalmbach (3.64 kills/set) lead the Wave attack, while Brennan Anderson has anchored the back row with 2.18 digs per set. Matt West is also averaging 11.39 assists and 2.14 digs per set.
Long Beach State trails in its all-time series with Pepperdine, 39-38, but has won the last two.
LAST TIME WE MET
Long Beach State upended then No. 1 Pepperdine, 25-14, 21-25, 21-25, 25-23, 15-11, at the Walter Pyramid on Jan. 24. It was the Waves' first loss of the season.
The 49ers had one of their best defensive performances of the year with 63 digs and a season-high 22 blocks. The 22 blocks were the most by an LBSU squad since posting 23 in a five-set match against Hawai'i on April 6, 2007. Jeff Ornee led the effort at the net with a career-high 13 blocks, while Andrew Sato picked up a career-best 19 digs in the back row. Taylor Crabb and Ian Satterfield carried the load offensively for Long Beach State. Crabb finished with 24 kills and 13 digs, while Satterfield delivered a career-high 19 kills.
Josh Taylor (28 kills, 10 digs) and Parker Kalmbach (22 kills, 11 digs) each recorded a double-double, while Matt West also had 53 assists and 17 digs.
A GLANCE AT USC
No. 7 USC (12-8, 11-8 MPSF) earned a split last week, falling at UC Santa Barbara, 3-2, before defeating UCLA, 3-1. Lucas Yoder is tops on the team with 4.05 kills per set. Henry Cassiday also leads the MPSF with 3.01 digs per set, while Micah Christenson is averaging 11.76 assists and 2.46 digs per set.
Long Beach State trails in its all-time series with USC, 54-45, but has won two of the last three.
LAST TIME WE MET
USC spoiled the 49ers' home opener as the Trojans pulled out a 25-19, 25-22, 33-31 victory at the Walter Pyramid on Jan. 22.
LBSU hit a season-low .202. Taylor Crabb and Dalton Ammerman tied for the team lead with 11 kills each. Ammerman added a team-best seven digs. Lucas Yoder led the Trojans with a match-high 19 kills, while Micah Christenson registered 46 assists and 17 digs.
49ERS RETIRE WINSLOW'S JERSEY
Long Beach State men's volleyball great Brett Winslow had his No. 15 jersey retired in a ceremony prior to last Saturday's win over Penn State. Winslow was the team captain of the 1991 squad that brought home the program's first and only national championship in school history. The 6-foot-5 middle blocker had 22 kills in the title match against USC and was named to the All-NCAA Final Four Team. He was a four-time All-American, four-time all-conference selection and three-time NCAA hitting percentage leader in his four years at The Beach.
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 10-1 in MPSF matches, including six-straight victories. The win streak has catapulted Long Beach State into second place in the MPSF standings behind only league-leading BYU.
After playing eight of their first 10 MPSF contests away from Long Beach, the 49ers returned to the friendly confines of the Walter Pyramid for an extended stay as they wrapped up a season-long eight-match homestand last weekend. LBSU took advantage of the home stretch where it went undefeated at 8-0 and dropped just four sets along the way. Overall, Long Beach State will play 11 of its final 16 matches in the `Mid.
CLIMBING THE CHARTS
Seniors Taylor Crabb and Connor Olbright continue to move up the 49er career charts. Crabb recently claimed the No. 8 slot on the all-time list as he passed Olympian and former National Player of the Year Paul Lotman with 1,453 career kills. Crabb is also fifth in both total attempts (3,310) and digs (740), while Olbright is fifth in assists (3,762).
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 a two-time MPSF Player of the Week honoree, leads the nation in kills (4.96) and points (5.51) per set. He has reached double figures in kills in every match, with eight of those coming by way of 20-plus kill performances. Crabb also has a team-leading seven 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. He added a career-best 16 digs to go along with five blocks against the Bruins. Crabb also had 29 kills and 12 digs at No. 7 Stanford (Jan. 31). In the second meeting with the Cardinal, he finished with 22 kills and 11 digs. He also recorded double-doubles against Ohio State (23 kills, 11 digs), vs. BYU (21 kills, 13 digs), vs. Pepperdine (24 kills, 13 digs) and at Hawai'i on Jan. 17 (22 kills, 10 digs). On the season, Crabb is averaging 4.96 kills and 2.30 digs per set, and has registered a .383 hitting percentage.
BRINGING THE HAMMER
Senior Dalton Ammerman has been a consistent force on the outside for LBSU, reaching double figures in kills nine times. At the Active Ankle Classic last weekend, he had a season-high 19 kills to go along with nine digs against Ohio State, before recording nine kills and 10 digs vs. Penn State. Ammerman was named to the all-tournament team for his efforts. In the first week of March, the Parker, Colo., native notched his first double-double of the season with 16 kills and a career-high 13 digs to lead the 49ers to a 3-1 win over BYU. He also started the season with back-to-back double-digit kill performances, registering 18 vs. Harvard and 13 at Cal Baptist, before suffering an ankle injury early in the first set at BYU (Jan. 11), which forced him to miss that match along with the first contest at Hawai'i. Ammerman, who was named the MVP of the UCSB Asics Invitational, ranks second on the team with 2.69 kills per set.
OLBRIGHT WITH THE DISH
Senior All-American setter Connor Olbright (Orange, Calif.) is tops in the nation with 11.99 assists per set. He has registered at least 50 assists six times, including a career and MPSF season-high 63 in a win over Ohio State. Olbright also had 61 helpers vs. BYU, 56 vs. Pepperdine, 55 vs. Harvard and 52 at both UCLA and Stanford. Olbright, who has three double-doubles on the season, added a career-high 17 digs against the Cardinal.
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 1.26 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). He also finished with a season-high 11 kills vs. Ohio State.
Long Beach State remains on the road next week as it travels to UC San Diego (March 27) and UC Irvine (March 28).