No. 2 Seed Long Beach State Ready to Face BYU in the NCAA Semifinals
The Beach and the Cougars will face off on Thursday at 3 p.m. (PT)
No. 2 Seed Long Beach State (27-3) vs. No. 3 Seed BYU (25-4)
Date: Thursday, May 4
Time: 6 p.m. (ET)
Arena: St. John’s Arena (13,276)
Location: Columbus, Ohio
No. 2 Seed Long Beach State Ready to Face BYU in the NCAA Semifinals
Long Beach State, which comes into the NCAA Semifinals as the No. 1 ranked team in the nation and the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament, will face No. 3 seed BYU on Thursday, May 4 at 3 p.m. (PT) at St. John’s Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
The Beach punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament after winning their first-ever MPSF Championship with a four-set victory over No. 4 Hawaii. Long Beach State will make a return trip to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in back-to-back seasons since doing so in 1990 and again in 1991.
The Cougars made their way into the NCAA Semifinals after defeating Barton College in straight sets on Tuesday, May 2 in the NCAA Play-In match.
About The Beach
• Long Beach State comes into the NCAA Tournament with a 27-3 overall record, while riding a six-match winning streak and having won 20 of its last 21 matches.
• The Beach’s 27 victories mark the most in a single season since 2004 when LBSU racked up 28 wins. LBSU’s three losses are the least ever under head coach Alan Knipe and the fewest since 1973 when the squad had three documented losses.
• For the first time since 1991-1992, Long Beach State has posted a pair of back-to-back 25-plus win seasons.
• Long Beach State will make its first back-to-back appearance in the NCAA Tournament since doing so in 1990 and 1991.
• The Beach have won in straight sets on 20 occasions this season, marking the most three-set sweeps ever recorded in a single-season.
• 2017 has been a record-breaking season for Long Beach State as the Beach saw a program-record six players named AVCA All-Americans. With a total of 31 AVCA All-Americans, LBSU has the most of any school in AVCA history.
• This season Long Beach State had four First Team All-Americans in TJ DeFalco, Amir Lugo-Rodriguez, Andrew Sato and Josh Tuaniga. Additionally, Kyle Ensing was named a Second Team All-American, while Bryce Yould was an Honorable Mention selection.
• TJ DeFalco was named MPSF Player of the Year, becoming just the second Long Beach State men’s volleyball player to earn the honor after Paul Lotman in 2008.
• DeFalco was also named to the All-MPSF First Team for the second time in as many seasons. Joining DeFalco on the All-MPSF First Team were teammates Josh Tuaniga and Kyle Ensing.
• The Beach also placed three on the All-MPSF Second Team in Andrew Sato, Amir Lugo-Rodriguez and Bryce Yould.
• Long Beach State dominated the Off the Block National Awards as Amir Lugo-Rodriguez took home National Blocker of the Year and the Ryan Millar Award for the nation’s best middle attacker, while TJ DeFalco won the Karch Kiraly Award for the nation’s best outside hitter, Josh Tuaniga was named Setter of the Year, and Andrew Sato earned the Erik Shoji Award for the nation’s top libero.
• In his 14th year at the helm of the Long Beach State men’s volleyball program, Alan Knipe was named MPSF Coach of the Year for the second time in his career.
• Senior libero Andrew Sato continues his prowess in the backrow as he owns a total of 973 digs becoming just the 15th player in MPSF history to reach the 900-dig plateau. He is also Long Beach State’s all-time digs leader.
• Senior middle blocker Bryce Yould has been hot offensively as he owns a .489 (166-29-280) attack percentage all the while upping his career hitting percentage to .444 (499-117-860) to rank third all-time at Long Beach State.
• Sophomore setter Josh Tuaniga has totaled 1102 assists for an average of 11.13 to lead both the MPSF and the nation. Tuaniga has now accumulated a total of 2,466 assists in his career and has jumped into eighth place all-time.
• Amir Lugo-Rodriguez and Bryce Yould are Long Beach State’s leading hitters with attack percentages of .494 and .489, respectively. The pair are currently ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, in the LBSU single-season record book.
• Josh Tuaniga and Amir Lugo-Rodriguez both lead the nation as Tuaniga averages 11.13 assists per set, while Lugo-Rodriguez has posted 1.30 blocks per set.
• The Beach lead the nation with an impressive team hitting percentage of .371, which is the best team attack percentage in the MPSF rally scoring history.
In the Rankings
Long Beach State has held the No. 1 spot in the AVCA Division I-II Men’s Volleyball Poll in five of the last six weeks. The Beach currently own a record of 27-3 and are on a six-match winning streak and have won 20 of their last 21 contests.
BYU enters the NCAA Tournament ranked fourth in the nation as is the No. 3 seed in the tournament. The Cougars have won 19 of their last 21 matches and are 25-4 overall.
Scouting The Cougars
No. 4 BYU brings a 25-4 record into the NCAA Semifinal game against Long Beach State. The Cougars had a solid season in which they put together a 15-match winning streak which was snapped only by the Beach. Since their loss to LBSU, BYU has put together a 4-1 record which its only loss coming to Hawaii in the MPSF Tournament.
The Cougars are 10-1 when playing on the road this season and 1-1 when playing at a neutral site. BYU owns a record of 17-2 in three-set sweeps, is 6-1 in four-set matches and is 2-1 in five-set contests.
As a team, the Cougars are hitting .320 on 12.32 assists per set. They are averaging 8.55 digs and 2.64 blocks per set, while knocking down 1.69 service aces per set.
Ben Patch and Jake Langlois are the team’s leading attackers with Patch averaging 4.41 kills per set and Langlois posting 3.78. The two also average 1.39 digs per set, while Langlois puts up 0.67 blocks per contest to go along with a .356 hitting percentage.
Leo Durkin is the Cougars’ setter as he has dished out 980 assists on the year to average 10.43 per set. he also posts 1.23 digs per set and 0.66 blocks per set.
Defensively, Erik Sikes leads BYU with 2.51 digs per set,while Price Jarman patrols the net averaging 1.00 blocks per set.
Series vs. BYU
Long Beach State and BYU will meet for the 60th time in program history and BYU leads the all-time series 33-26. Earlier this season, the two teams met in Provo, Utah and split the series with the Cougars edging the Beach, 3-2, in the first match and the 49ers earning the 3-0 sweep over the Cougars in the second match. The conference foes have met eight times prior on a neutral court and BYU holds the edge, 5-3. The last time the two teams met in an NCAA Tournament match was in 2016 when the Cougars defeated the Beach, 3-1, in the NCAA Semifinals to end Long Beach State’s season.
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