LBSU Hosts Cal State Northridge in Regular-Season Finale on Saturday
49ers will honor their three seniors prior to the match
April 11, 2013
The second-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team is looking to close out the regular season with its fifth-straight win on Saturday, April 13, when it entertains No. 10 Cal State Northridge at 7 p.m.
LBSU will honor Alex Anshus, Trevor Crabb and Colten Echave in a Senior Night ceremony, which will be held prior to the match.
The 49ers have secured the program's 18th MPSF playoff appearance and locked up home court advantage for the quarterfinal round with a win at USC last Thursday (April 4). Long Beach State, which is currently a half-game behind UC Irvine in the conference standings, will be the No. 3 seed in the MPSF Tournament as the Anteaters hold the tiebreaker between the two teams.
LBSU will play the No. 6 seed, which will be determined following this weekend's matches. The 49ers could end up facing Stanford, UC Santa Barbara or Pepperdine.
IN THE POLLS
LBSU, which received two first-place votes, remained at No. 2 in the AVCA national poll released on April 8. Long Beach State has been ranked among the top-10 every week this season and has been in the top-four in each of the last 10 weeks. The MPSF continued to dominate with 10 of its 13 teams featured among the top-15.
BACK AT THE BEACH
Tenth-year head coach Alan Knipe returned to the helm of the 49er program in 2013 after taking a leave of absence to coach the U.S. Men's National Team. Knipe, who has amassed a 190-110 overall record (.633) 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.
SCOUTING THE MATADORS
No. 10 Cal State Northridge (11-14, 9-14 MPSF), which is in the race for the final MPSF playoff spot, has dropped its last four matches, including a 3-0 setback at UC Irvine on Wednesday. John Baker leads the Matadors with 3.59 kills per set, while Drew Staker is averaging 1.43 kills and a team-high 1.14 blocks per set.
Long Beach State leads in its all-time series with Cal State Northridge, 37-32. The 49ers defeated the Matadors, 3-1, in the first meeting of the year in Northridge on Feb. 22. Taylor Crabb led LBSU with 22 kills, while Dalton Ammerman finished with 11. Connor Olbright also had 47 assists and a team-high eight digs.
FIRST TO 20
Long Beach State was the first MPSF team to reach 20 wins this season after a 3-0 triumph at USC on April 4. It is the program's 16th 20-win campaign and first since going 23-7 in 2008. This also marks the fifth time in head coach Alan Knipe's 10 years at the helm that the 49ers have reached the 20-victory plateau.
The 49ers, who are 9-2 in away matches this year, won their final eight regular-season road contests. Overall, Long Beach State has won four in a row and seven of its last eight.
CRABB REACHES CAREER MILESTONE
Junior outside hitter Taylor Crabb compiled 32 kills in a pair of wins at Pacific (March 29) and Stanford (March 30) to put him over the 1,000-career kill mark. In his two-plus years at LBSU, Crabb has totaled 1,038 kills, putting him at No. 18 among the program's all-time leaders. This season, Crabb ranks second in the nation with 4.14 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 15 times, including a career-high 21 at top-ranked BYU and vs. No. 15 George Mason. Against the Cougars, Ammerman finished with a .459 hitting percentage. In addition, he had a double-double vs. Cal Baptist (12 kills, 12 digs), 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 2.89 kills per set and is fourth with 1.57 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 10.82 assists per set. He had a season-high 55 helpers at Stanford on March 30. Under his direction, the 49ers have hit over .300 in 13 matches, including a season-best .507 vs. UC San Diego (March 6). The Orange, Calif., native has also registered a team-leading nine double-doubles. Olbright, who was named to the UCSB/asics Invitational All-Tournament Team to start the year, currently ranks sixth all-time at Long Beach State with 2,754 career assists.
COLTEN IN THE MIDDLE
Senior Colten Echave has provided a steady presence in the middle, averaging 1.58 kills and 0.89 blocks per set. He is also tops among 49er starters with a .410 hitting percentage. Echave had a season-best 10 kills in a five-set win vs. Hawai'i (Jan. 18), and later matched that total at Stanford on March 30. He also had a perfect night at USC (April 4) with nine kills on nine swings. Echave is currently 10th among LBSU's all-time leaders with a .416 career hitting percentage.
GREGORY'S BLOCK PARTY
Redshirt freshman middle blocker Taylor Gregory, who was inserted into the starting lineup three weeks into the season, has stepped up for the 49ers, leading the squad in blocking 19 times. On the year, he is averaging a team-high 1.43 blocks per set, which also ranks first in the MPSF and second in the nation. Gregory registered a season-best 11 blocks (1 solo, 11 block assists) in a 3-2 win over No. 11 Cal Baptist.
SATTERFIELD STEPS UP
Junior Ian Satterfield has started the last four matches at opposite for Long Beach State, and has helped the 49ers to four-straight road wins. In a 3-1 victory at Pacific on March 29, Satterfield totaled a career-high 15 kills and nine digs. The following night, the Manhattan Beach native topped that performance with 16 kills and a career-best six blocks at Stanford. He also reached double-figure kills with 14 at Pepperdine on April 6. Over the last four matches, Satterfield is averaging 3.18 kills, 1.71 digs and 1.06 blocks per set.
Long Beach State begins postseason play next week when it hosts an MPSF quarterfinal match on Saturday, April 20. First serve will be at 7 p.m.
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