April 18, 2012
No. 6 Long Beach State (15-14, 10-12 MPSF) at
No. 4 BYU (23-6, 17-5 MPSF)
Date: Saturday, April 21
Time: 6 p.m. (PDT)
Location: Smith Fieldhouse
Channel: DirecTV - 374; Dish Network - 9403
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LONG BEACH - The sixth-seeded Long Beach State men's volleyball team will make its 17th MPSF Tournament appearance on Saturday, April 21, when it takes on No. 3 seed BYU at Smith Fieldhouse. First serve is set for 6 p.m. (PDT).
Saturday's MPSF quarterfinal match featuring Long Beach State and BYU will be aired live on BYUtv (DirecTV - Channel 374; Dish Network - Channel 9403). The game will also be streamed online at byutvsports.com/gameday.
49ERS IN THE MPSF TOURNAMENT
LBSU is 12-16 overall in MPSF Tournament matches and owns a 3-1 record against BYU. The two teams last met in the conference tournament in 2006 when the 49ers topped the Cougars, 3-1, in first round action at the Walter Pyramid. The only MPSF postseason meeting in Provo, Utah, was in the 2004 championship match where BYU prevailed, 3-1.
IN THE POLLS
Long Beach State jumped two spots to No. 6 in the AVCA Division I-II Poll released April 16. USC topped the list with 255 points and was followed by UC Irvine (227), Stanford (218) and BYU (208).
A GLANCE AT BYU
Fourth-ranked BYU earned the No. 3 seed in the MPSF Tournament as it finished the regular season with a 23-6 overall record and a 17-5 mark in MPSF play. Taylor Sander leads the Cougar attack with 4.82 kills per set. Robb Stowell is also averaging 3.37 kills per set, while Russ Lavaja has registered a team-best 1.51 blocks per set. Joe Kauliakamoa has guided the offense to a .325 hitting percentage with 10.92 assists per set.
Long Beach State trails in its all-time series with BYU, 24-22. The Cougars had won eight matches in a row until the 49ers snapped the streak with a 3-2 win in the second meeting of the MPSF season series on March 24. LBSU's last victory in Provo was on March 25, 2005.
BAUGHMAN REACHES MILESTONE
Senior Jim Baughman (Valencia, Calif.) had four kills at then No. 5 Stanford, making him the 19th player in Long Beach State history to register 1,000 career kills. He is currently 18th among the 49ers' all-time leaders with 1,005. Baughman tallied his ninth career 20-plus kill match in a five-set win over then No. 11 UC Santa Barbara, and has totaled double-figure kills 11 times this season. He is tops on the team with 2.83 kills per set. Baughman has seen limited action late in the season due to a knee injury.
Sophomore Taylor Crabb has reached double-figure kills in 15 matches this season. He pounded down a season-high 20 kills at Hawaii on March 31. Crabb has also registered a team-best seven double-doubles, including three-straight from Feb. 10-14. He 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 18 kills to go along with 10 digs in a 3-2 win over No. 4 BYU on March 24 and 16 kills and 14 digs at Pacific (April 7). Crabb is currently second on the team with 2.77 kills per set and leads the squad with 1.92 digs per set.
A SENIOR NIGHT TO REMEMBER
Senior Brad Hemmerling saved his best offensive performance for his final match at the Walter Pyramid as he tied his career high with 17 kills in a 3-1 win vs. Pepperdine on Senior Night (April 14). He also committed just two errors on 28 attempts for a .536 hitting percentage. Hemmerling has tallied eight double-figure kill matches, including two double-doubles this year. His first came against UC Irvine (Jan. 6) when he finished with 12 kills and a career-high 12 digs before repeating the feat with 11 kills and 11 digs at Cal State Northridge on Jan. 20. On the season, Hemmerling is averaging 2.03 kills and 1.58 digs per set.
IN THE MIDDLE
Long Beach State's middle blockers have provided a steady presence as sophomore Jeff Ornee and senior Ryan Meehan have combined for 313 kills and 195 blocks, while hitting .413.
Ornee, who earned a starting role this year, has averaged 1.70 kills and 1.05 blocks per set. He ranks 11th in the MPSF in hitting percentage (.412) and 12th in blocks average. 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 10 kills at Pacific, 13 at Hawaii, 13 vs. BYU, 11 vs. Stanford and 10 vs. UC Santa Barbara. Ornee added a career-best seven blocks against UH and UCSB.
Meehan (Dana Point, Calif.), a two-year starter, is averaging 1.68 kills and 1.06 blocks per set. He ranks 10th in the conference with a .413 hitting percentage and is 11th in blocks average. Meehan totaled a career-high 14 kills against BYU (March 24) and finished with 12 vs. Lewis. He also had a season-best nine blocks in the second match at Hawaii.
OLBRIGHT WITH THE DISH
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 .278 hitting percentage with 10.46 assists per set, which ranks him sixth in the MPSF. He has finished with at least 50 helpers eight times, including a season-high 62 assists vs. BYU (March 24). Olbright also compiled a career-best 16 digs against the Cougars.
MCELDERRY MAKES THE CHANGE
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 second on the team and ranks 11th in the MPSF with 1.88 digs per set. He had a career-high 17 digs at Pacific (April 7) and also reached double figures with 14 digs at Cal State Northridge, 12 digs at UC Santa Barbara, 12 digs vs. UCSB, 10 digs vs. Stanford and 10 digs vs. UCLA.
ECHAVE STARS IN STARTING ROLE
Junior middle blocker Colten Echave shined in his first career start against UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 17. The Ladera Ranch, Calif., native led the 49ers to a 3-1 victory over the Gauchos with a career-high 17 kills and five blocks. Echave committed just one hitting error on 26 swings for a .654 percentage. He also started against Pepperdine on April 14 and totaled 10 kills, while hitting at a .526 clip.
The MPSF Tournament semifinals (April 26) and finals (April 28) will be held next weekend at the campus site of the highest remaining seed. The winner of the MPSF Tournament earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships at USC's Galen Center, May 3-5.