The 49ers will host No. 11 Cal Baptist and top-ranked BYU in MPSF action this week.
March 20, 2013
The 49ers will entertain Cal Baptist on Thursday, March 21, at the Walter Pyramid, before taking on the Cougars Saturday (March 23) in the Gold Mine. Both matches are set for a 7 p.m. (PDT) start.
IN THE POLLS
LBSU dropped one spot to No. 4 in the AVCA national poll released on March 18. 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 185-109 overall record (.629) 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 CAL BAPTIST
No. 11 Cal Baptist (11-11, 7-9 MPSF) has won its last three as it defeated Hawai'i twice last weekend and topped Harvard in non-conference play on Monday. Levi Cabral leads the Lancers with 4.24 kills per set, while Guilherme Koepp is also averaging 4.01 kills and 1.64 digs per set. Brett Anderson has directed the offense to .300 hitting with 11.63 assists per set.
Long Beach State leads in its all-time series with Cal Baptist, 10-1. The 49ers have won three in a row, including a 26-28, 25-21, 27-25, 25-23 victory in Riverside on Jan. 29, 2013. Taylor Crabb paced the 49ers with a then career-high 23 kills and 12 digs. Dalton Ammerman also had 11 kills and 12 digs, while Andrew Sato added a match-best 15 digs. Guilherme Koepp was the Lancers' top performer with 21 kills and 10 digs.
SCOUTING THE COUGARS
BYU (15-3, 14-2 MPSF), which is coming off a bye week, is currently on a seven-match win streak. The Cougars will play at Cal State Northridge (March 22) before making their way to Long Beach. Taylor Sander is tops on the team with 3.86 kills, 1.46 digs and 0.41 aces per set, while Ben Patch is also averaging 3.35 kills and 0.86 blocks per set.
Long Beach State trails in its all-time series with BYU, 25-23. The 49ers claimed the first meeting between the two teams as they emerged with a 25-23, 19-25, 25-18, 16-25, 15-10 victory in Provo, Utah, on Feb. 1. Dalton Ammerman had one of his best performances of the season with a career-high 21 kills. Taylor Crabb also finished with 19 kills, seven digs and five blocks. Taylor Sander led the Cougars with 21 kills.
CLOSING IN ON 1,000
Junior outside hitter Taylor Crabb has already amassed 353 kills with seven matches left in the regular season. He has increased his career total to 952 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 returned to Long Beach for 12 of their next 13. LBSU is at the tail end of a season-long eight-match homestand as it will have ended up playing eight of its 10 contests in the month of March at either the Walter Pyramid or the Gold Mine. Long Beach State is 9-3 at home, with six 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 19 times. The Honolulu, Hawaii, native has totaled double-figure kills on 20 occasions, and has posted at least 10 in each of his last 19 starts. 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 ranks first in the MPSF and in the nation with 4.36 kills per set.
Junior outside hitter Dalton Ammerman, who sat out last season with an injury, has earned the start in all but one match this year. He has reached double-figure kills 11 times, including a career-high 21 at top-ranked BYU (Feb. 1) and vs. No. 15 George Mason (March 15). Against the Cougars, Ammerman finished with a .459 hitting percentage. 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 2.84 kills per set and is fourth with 1.62 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 10.28 assists per set. He had a season-high 52 helpers vs. George Mason on March 15. 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 seven double-doubles. Olbright, who was named to the UCSB/asics Invitational All-Tournament Team to start the year, currently ranks seventh all-time at Long Beach State with 2,484 career assists.
MIXING IT UP
After using the same starting lineup for nine weeks, Long Beach State mixed it up and saw some new faces play a big role in non-conference wins over George Mason and IPFW. Against the Patriots, Trevor Crabb had a career-high 23 kills, 10 digs and seven blocks, while Ryan Windisch added 10 digs. McKay Smith also finished with five kills and six blocks. In a 3-0 victory against the Mastodons, Dan Glamack totaled nine kills, four digs and three blocks, and John Henry had three kills and four blocks.
Long Beach State is back on the road for the first time in over a month as it heads to Pacific (March 29) and Stanford (March 30) for a pair of MPSF matches.
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