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Long Beach State men's volleyball finishes season at 15-15

Sophomore outside hitter Taylor Crabb earned second-team All-MPSF honors.

April 30, 2012

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LONG BEACH - The sixth-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team battled back from a 2-0 deficit against No. 4 BYU, but ultimately fell in five sets in an MPSF quarterfinal match on April 21 at Smith Fieldhouse in Provo, Utah. The 49ers closed out the season with a 15-15 overall record.

Long Beach State remained at No. 6 in the latest AVCA Division I-II Poll released April 23. USC topped the list with 270 points and was followed by UC Irvine (244), Stanford (235) and BYU (220).

Sophomore Taylor Crabb was the only 49er to earn All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation honors the conference office announced on April 19. Crabb was a second-team selection after averaging 2.77 kills and 1.92 digs per set during the regular season. He finished the year with 16 double-figure kill matches and a team-best seven double-doubles. Crabb was an All-MPSF honorable mention and All-Freshman Team selection last year.

BYU 3, Long Beach State 2
Long Beach State nearly pulled off an improbable upset in the MPSF quarterfinals. After falling behind, 2-0, to BYU in front of a hostile crowd of 2,221 at Smith Fieldhouse, the 49ers rebounded to win the next two sets, but the Cougars came alive in the decisive fifth set to hold on for the 25-23, 25-14, 20-25, 21-25, 15-7 victory.

Jim Baughman came off the bench to spark the 49er rally with 15 kills, four blocks and a .400 hitting percentage. Taylor Crabb finished with 12 kills and eight digs, while Brad Hemmerling also had 12 kills. Ryan Meehan chipped in four kills and a team-best six blocks. Connor Olbright guided the offense to .237 hitting with 46 assists and added a team-high nine digs.

Senior Jim Baughman (Valencia, Calif.) had four kills at then No. 5 Stanford to make him the 19th player in Long Beach State history to join the 1,000-kill club. He finished his four-year career ranked 18th among the 49er all-time leaders with 1,020. Baughman tallied his ninth career 20-plus kill match in a five-set win over then No. 11 UC Santa Barbara, and totaled double-figure kills 12 times this season. He was tops on the team with 2.83 kills per set.

Sophomore Taylor Crabb reached double-figure kills in 16 matches, including a season-high 20 kills at Hawaii on March 31. Crabb also registered a team-best seven double-doubles with 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 finished second on the team with 2.75 kills per set and led the squad with 1.91 digs per set.

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 committed just two errors on 28 attempts for a .536 hitting percentage. Hemmerling also had 12 kills in the MPSF quarterfinal match at BYU. He tallied nine double-figure kill matches, including two double-doubles on the 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 averaged 2.05 kills and 1.53 digs per set.

Junior Trevor Crabb played a key reserve role for the 49ers this season. Trevor came off the bench to register a career-high 16 kills in a 3-1 win at Pacific on April 7. He previously reached double figures with 10 kills vs. Ohio State (Jan. 7), at UC Santa Barbara (March 2) and vs. IPFW (March 9). Trevor added a season-best seven digs against the Gauchos.

Senior Srdjan Nadazdin (Los Alamitos, Calif.) had a couple of big matches late in the season when he stepped in at opposite for an injured Jim Baughman. Nadazdin tallied his first double-double with 13 kills and 12 digs at Pacific on April 7. He also compiled a career-high 18 kills and nine digs in a five-set win over No. 4 BYU, and reached double figures again with 11 kills at Hawaii (March 30).

Long Beach State's middle blockers provided a steady presence all season long. Sophomore Jeff Ornee and senior Ryan Meehan combined for 320 kills and 205 blocks, while hitting .401.

Ornee, who earned a starting role this year, averaged 1.65 kills and 1.04 blocks per set. He ranks 11th in the MPSF in hitting percentage (.399) 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, averaged 1.63 kills and 1.07 blocks per set. He ranks ninth in the conference with a .404 hitting percentage and is 10th 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.

Sophomore Connor Olbright took over the starting setter role midway through his freshman campaign and didn't miss a beat this year. The Orange, Calif., native directed Long Beach State to a .276 hitting percentage with 10.40 assists per set, which ranks him sixth in the MPSF. He 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.

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 settled into his new role, ranking second on the team and 11th in the MPSF with 1.83 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.



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