The 49ers will host Stanford in an MPSF Quarterfinal match at the Walter Pyramid on Saturday.
April 18, 2013
No. 6 seed Stanford (15-12) at
No. 3 seed Long Beach State (22-7)
Date: Saturday, April 20
Time: 7 p.m. (PDT)
Location: Walter Pyramid
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The second-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team begins postseason play this weekend as it welcomes No. 6 Stanford to the Walter Pyramid for a 7 p.m. MPSF quarterfinal match on Saturday, April 20.
49ERS IN THE MPSF TOURNAMENT
LBSU finished in a tie for second with UC Irvine in the MPSF regular-season standings, but earned the No. 3 seed due to the Anteaters holding the tiebreaker between the two teams. Stanford clinched the No. 6 seed with a win over Cal Baptist last Friday (April 12).
The 49ers are making their 18th MPSF Tournament appearance, where they own a 12-17 overall record. They are hosting their first playoff match since 2008.
Long Beach State and Stanford have faced each other twice in the conference tournament with LBSU holding a 2-0 advantage. The most recent meeting came in 2011 when the 49ers edged the Cardinal, 3-2, in the MPSF quarterfinals at Maples Pavilion.
IN THE POLLS
LBSU, which received one first-place vote, remained at No. 2 in the AVCA national poll released on April 15. 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 11 weeks. The MPSF continued to dominate with 10 of its 13 teams featured among the top-15.
SIX 49ERS EARN ALL-MPSF HONORS
Long Beach State had six players named to the All-MPSF Team the conference office announced Thursday. Junior Taylor Crabb was a first-team selection, while classmate Connor Olbright earned second-team honors. Junior Dalton Ammerman, senior Colten Echave and redshirt freshman Taylor Gregory also garnered honorable mention recognition. In addition, Gregory and Andrew Sato were two of seven honorees on the All-Freshman Team.
A GLANCE AT STANFORD
Sixth-ranked Stanford split its final two regular-season games, defeating No. 5 Cal Baptist, 3-2, before falling to No. 1 BYU in straight sets. Outside hitters Brian Cook and Steven Irvin lead the Cardinal with 3.99 and 3.24 kills per set, respectively. Irvin also has a team-best 1.74 digs per set.
Long Beach State leads in its all-time series with Stanford, 43-28, and swept the regular-season series this year. The 49ers dominated the Cardinal in a 25-20, 25-18, 25-11 triumph at the Walter Pyramid on Feb. 16, before holding off a Stanford comeback in a 25-10, 25-23, 18-25, 21-25, 15-6 victory at Maples Pavilion on March 30. Taylor Crabb totaled 32 kills in the two matches, while Ian Satterfield had a career-high 16 kills in the road win.
FIRST TO 20
Long Beach State was the first MPSF team to notch 20 overall 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.
Long Beach State closed out the regular season on a five-match winning streak and has prevailed in eight of its last nine contests. The 49ers were also victorious in their final eight road games.
LBSU has reached double figures in total team blocks 19 times, with a season-best 18 against Hawai'i. The 49ers have steadily improved their blocking over the course of the year and own a 67.5-to-28.0 advantage against their opponents over the last five matches. They were even more impressive over their final three regular-season contests where they outblocked their adversary, 41-11.
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 1,051 kills, putting him at No. 18 among the program's all-time leaders. He needs just seven more to pass Martin Wagner for the 17th spot.
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 10.76 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 14 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 2,780 career assists.
COLTEN IN THE MIDDLE
Senior Colten Echave has provided a steady presence in the middle, averaging 1.58 kills and 0.92 blocks per set. He is also tops among 49er starters with a .416 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 tied for eighth among LBSU's all-time leaders with a .420 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 1.42 blocks per set, which also ranks first 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. He has been selected as one of three finalists for the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Blocker of the Year award.
The MPSF semifinals and finals will be held at the highest remaining seed on April 25 & 27. The winner of the Long Beach State-Stanford match will play the victor of the No. 2 UC Irvine and No. 7 UC Santa Barbara match in the semifinals.
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