Men's Volleyball

LBSU Men's Volleyball Wraps Up Four-Match Road Swing at UC San Diego, UC Irvine

The 49ers will travel to unranked UCSD on Thursday before making their way to No. 8 UC Irvine on Friday.

March 25, 2014

No. 4 Long Beach State (15-6, 12-6 MPSF) at
UC San Diego (2-19, 1-18 MPSF)
Thursday, March 27
Time: 7 p.m. (PDT)
Location: La Jolla, Calif.
Arena: RIMAC Arena
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No. 4 Long Beach State (15-6, 12-6 MPSF) at
No. 8 UC Irvine (14-9, 11-8 MPSF)
Friday, March 28
Time: 7 p.m. (PDT)
Location: Irvine, Calif.
Arena: Bren Events Center
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Long Beach State Match Notes Get Acrobat Reader

The Last Meeting
UC San Diego0
Long Beach State3
February 21, 2014
Walter Pyramid
Long Beach State Sweeps UC San Diego to Complete Perfect Week
The sixth-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team needed just 67 minutes to top unranked UC San Diego, 25-11, 25-15, 25-16, Friday night at the Walter Pyramid.

The Last Meeting
UC Irvine0
Long Beach State3
February 19, 2014
Walter Pyramid
Sixth-Ranked 49ers Roll Past No. 7 UC Irvine, 3-0
The sixth-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team started off its season-long eight-match homestand on the right foot as it swept two-time defending national champion and seventh-ranked UC Irvine, 25-23, 25-16, 25-22, Wednesday evening at the Walter Pyramid.

The fourth-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team wraps up a four-match road swing when it heads to UC San Diego and No. 8 UC Irvine this week.

The 49ers will travel to La Jolla on Thursday, March 27, for a 7 p.m. tilt with the Tritons, before they make their way to UCI's Bren Events Center on Friday (March 28), when it squares off against the Anteaters at 7 p.m.

Long Beach State dropped two spots to No. 4 in this week's AVCA poll released on March 24. Loyola-Chicago earned the No. 1 ranking for the seventh-straight week, while BYU was second and Pepperdine was third. 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.

Eleventh-year head coach Alan Knipe secured his 200th career win with the 49ers' 3-1 victory at then No. 2 UCLA on Feb. 12. In his 10-plus years at the helm, Knipe has compiled a 208-117 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.

UC San Diego (2-19, 1-18 MPSF) earned its first conference win of the season with a five-set triumph over Cal Baptist before falling at league-leading BYU two weeks ago. Mike Brunsting leads the Tritons with 2.39 kills and 1.76 digs per set.

Long Beach State leads in its all-time series with UC San Diego, 58-5, and has won four in a row.

LBSU needed just 67 minutes to top then winless UC San Diego, 25-11, 25-15, 25-16 at the Walter Pyramid on Feb. 21. The 49ers hit a season-best .493 and owned a 9-to-1 advantage in total team blocks. Dalton Ammerman led the way with a match-high 11 kills and two aces. He did not commit an error on 17 swings for a career-best .647 attack percentage.

Taylor Crabb also finished in double figures with 10 kills, to go along with six digs. Taylor Gregory chipped in four kills and a match-high six blocks.

Mike Brunsting paced UCSD with nine kills and five digs.

UC Irvine (14-9, 11-8 MPSF) is also coming off a bye week as it was last in action on March 14, when the Anteaters saw their five-match win streak come to an end with a 3-0 loss at then No. 3 BYU. Zack La Cavera leads UCI with 3.51 kills per set and 28 service aces. Jeremy Dejno is also averaging 3.02 kills per set, while Michael Brinkley has anchored the back row with 2.31 digs per set.

Long Beach State leads in its all-time series with UC Irvine, 40-21, and has won the last two.

LBSU started a season-long eight-match win streak with a 25-23, 25-16, 25-22 victory over UC Irvine at the Walter Pyramid on Feb. 19.

Taylor Crabb had 19 kills and hit .485, while Dalton Ammerman finished with eight kills and seven digs. Connor Olbright directed the offense to a .351 team hitting percentage with 34 assists. He also chipped in six digs, three blocks and a season-high four kills.

Zack La Cavera led UCI with 15 kills, and Michael Brinkley had a match-high 10 digs.

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 after upsetting then No. 1 Pepperdine on Jan. 24, LBSU went 10-1 in MPSF matches, including six-straight victories. The win streak was snapped last weekend, however, as Long Beach State fell at top-10 opponents Pepperdine and USC.

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 eight-match homestand. LBSU capitalized on the home stretch as it went undefeated at 8-0, dropping just four sets along the way. Overall, Long Beach State is 9-1 when playing in the `Mid.

Seniors Taylor Crabb and Connor Olbright continue to move up the 49er career charts. Crabb recently claimed the eighth slot on the all-time list as he passed Olympian and former National Player of the Year Paul Lotman with 1,479 career kills. Crabb is also fourth in total attempts (3,391) and fifth in digs (752), while Olbright is No. 5 in assists (3,832).

Five 49ers rank among the top-25 in all of NCAA Division I-II in six different statistical categories. Taylor Crabb leads the nation in kills (4.85/set), and also ranks second in points (5.38/set), 19th in hitting percentage (.367) and is 21st in digs (2.24/set). Connor Olbright is second in the country with 11.81 assists per set, while Andrew Sato is fifth with 2.67 digs per set. In addition, Jeff Ornee (1.25/set) and Taylor Gregory (1.18/set) rank eighth and 12th, respectively, in blocks per set.

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 per set (4.85) and ranks second in points per set (5.38). 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 then 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 a double-double 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 4.85 kills and 2.24 digs per set, and has registered a .367 hitting percentage.

Senior All-American setter Connor Olbright (Orange, Calif.) is second in the nation with 11.81 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 four double-doubles on the season, added a career-high 17 digs against the Cardinal.

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 1.25 blocks per set. Ornee had a career-high 13 blocks against top-ranked Pepperdine on Jan. 24, 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.

Sophomore middle Taylor Gregory, the 2013 NCAA blocking champion and All-MPSF honorable mention selection, ranks second on the squad with 1.18 blocks per set. The Saugus, Calif., native has seven matches with at least six blocks, including a season-high 10 at UC Santa Barbara. He also had a career-best nine kills against the Gauchos. On the season, Gregory is averaging 1.47 kills per set, while hitting at a .402 clip.

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 12 double-digit dig matches, including a career-high 19 vs. then No. 1 Pepperdine. The Calabasas, Calif., native is tops on the squad and fifth in the nation with 2.67 digs per set.

Long Beach State returns to the Walter Pyramid next weekend when it begins a three-match home stretch by hosting No. 5 UC Santa Barbara on Thursday, April 3, and No. 9 UCLA on Saturday, April 5. LBSU will also entertain Cal State Northridge (April 10) in its final regular-season home match the following week.



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