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Long Beach State hits the road for MPSF series at No. 14 Hawaii this weekend

Long Beach State travels to the Aloha State for MPSF matches at No. 14 Hawaii on Friday and Saturday.

March 27, 2012

No. 9 Long Beach State (11-12, 6-10 MPSF) at
No. 14 Hawaii (7-16, 4-14 MPSF)
Friday, March 30
Time: 10 p.m. (PDT)
Location: Stan Sheriff Center
Follow the 49ers: Watch | Live Stats

No. 9 Long Beach State (11-12, 6-10 MPSF) at
No. 14 Hawaii (7-16, 4-14 MPSF)
Saturday, March 31
Time: 10 p.m. (PDT)
Location: Stan Sheriff Center
Follow the 49ers: Watch | Live Stats

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LONG BEACH - The ninth-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team travels to the Aloha State this weekend when it takes on No. 14 Hawaii in a pair of Mountain Pacific Sports Federation matches.

The 49ers will face the Warriors on Friday (March 30) and Saturday (March 31) at Stan Sheriff Center. First serve for both matches is 10 p.m. (PDT).

Long Beach State remained at No. 9 in the AVCA Division I-II Poll released March 26. UC Irvine topped the list with 270 points and was followed by USC (246), UCLA (236) and BYU (210).

With three weeks remaining in the regular season, there are three MPSF quarterfinal spots still up for grabs. UC Irvine, UCLA, BYU, USC and Stanford have already secured a playoff appearance. Pepperdine is currently in sixth place with a 7-9 MPSF record, while LBSU is tied with Cal State Northridge for seventh (6-10 MPSF). Eight teams advance to the postseason with the top four hosting a quarterfinal match.

Hawaii (7-16, 4-14 MPSF) is currently on a four-match losing streak and has dropped 11 of its last 12. During that stretch, however, the Warriors played the No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 teams in the nation. Their last win was a 3-1 triumph at third-ranked Stanford on March 7. Steven Hunt leads UH with 4.13 kills per set, while JP Marks is averaging 2.51 kills and 1.17 digs per set.

Long Beach State trails in its all-time series with Hawaii, 37-33, and has come up short in the last four meetings. In 2011, the Warriors defeated the 49ers, 3-0 and 3-1 in Long Beach.

This weekend will mark the homecoming for 49ers Taylor Crabb and Trevor Crabb. The Crabb's hail from Honolulu, Hawaii, and attended Punahou High School.

Senior Jim Baughman (Valencia, Calif.) is two kills away from becoming the 19th player in Long Beach State history to register 1,000 career kills. He is currently 20th among the 49ers' all-time leaders with 998. Baughman tallied his ninth career 20-plus kill match in a five-set win over then No. 11 UC Santa Barbara on March 2, and has totaled double-figure kills 11 times this season. He is tops on the team with 2.89 kills per set.

Sophomore Taylor Crabb has reached double-figure kills in 13 matches this season. He has also registered a team-best six double-doubles, including three-straight from Feb. 10-14. Crabb had 16 kills and 11 digs vs. UCLA, 13 kills and 11 digs vs. Stanford, and 14 kills and 11 digs vs. Pacific. Earlier in the season, Crabb totaled 15 kills and a career-high 14 digs at Pepperdine (Jan. 14). The Honolulu, Hawaii, native also had a season-best 18 kills to go along with 10 digs in a 3-2 win over No. 4 BYU on March 24. Crabb is currently second on the team with 2.68 kills and 1.76 digs per set.

Senior Srdjan Nadazdin started at opposite for an injured Jim Baughman last weekend and he didn't disappoint as he was the 49ers' kill leader in both matches. Nadazdin compiled a career-high 18 kills and nine digs in a five-set win over No. 4 BYU.

Long Beach State's middle blockers have provided a steady presence as sophomore Jeff Ornee and senior Ryan Meehan have combined for 246 kills and 147 blocks, while hitting .433.

Ornee, who earned a starting role this year, has averaged 1.64 kills and 1.02 blocks per set. His blocks average ranks ninth in the MPSF. The Cypress, Calif., native notched a career-high 16 kills against UC San Diego on March 15. He also had 14 kills, while committing no errors on 18 attempts against Loyola-Chicago (Jan. 6), and reached double figures again with 13 kills vs. BYU, 11 vs. Stanford and 10 vs. UC Santa Barbara. Ornee added a career-best seven blocks against the Gauchos.

Meehan (Dana Point, Calif.), a two-year starter, is averaging 1.69 kills and 0.96 blocks per set. He also ranks seventh in the conference with a .444 hitting percentage. Meehan totaled a career-high 14 kills against BYU and finished with 12 vs. Lewis.

Sophomore Connor Olbright took over the starting setter role midway through last season and he hasn't missed a beat in 2012. The Orange, Calif., native has directed Long Beach State to a .289 hitting percentage with 10.34 assists per set, which ranks him sixth in the MPSF. He has finished with at least 50 helpers seven times, including a season-high 62 assists vs. BYU (March 24). He also totaled a career-best 16 digs against the Cougars.

Kyle McElderry (La Palma, Calif.), who appeared in 10 matches in his first three years at Long Beach State, made the transition from outside hitter to libero prior to his senior campaign. The 6-foot-5 McElderry has settled into his new role, as he is tops on the team and ranks 10th in the MPSF with 1.80 digs per set. He had a career-high 14 digs at Cal State Northridge on Jan. 20, and also reached double figures with 12 digs at UC Santa Barbara, 12 digs vs. UCSB, 10 digs vs. Stanford and 10 digs vs. UCLA.

Long Beach State begins the final stretch of the regular season next weekend when it heads to Northern California for a pair of MPSF matches at Stanford (April 6) and Pacific (April 7).



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