May 7, 2013
LONG BEACH - The Long Beach State men's volleyball team (24-8), which was predicted to finish sixth in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation preseason poll, exceeded expectations by putting together its best season since 2008. The 49ers were one win away from advancing to the NCAA Championships as they were the runners-up in both the MPSF Tournament and the conference's regular-season standings.
- Long Beach State advanced to the MPSF Tournament finals for the first time since 2006.
- LBSU produced its 16th 20-win campaign and first since 2008. It is also the fifth time in head coach Alan Knipe's 10 years at the helm that the 49ers have reached 20 victories in a season.
- Taylor Crabb was named the AVCA National Player of the Year, becoming the third 49er to earn the honor. He joined Brent Hilliard (1992) and Paul Lotman (2008) in the exclusive group.
- Crabb (first team) and Connor Olbright (second team) garnered AVCA All-America accolades.
- Six 49ers were selected to the All-MPSF Team, marking the most honorees for Long Beach State since 2000.
MPSF TOURNAMENT RECAP
Long Beach State closed out the year playing some of its best volleyball of the season. The 49ers, who finished in a tie for second with UC Irvine in the regular-season standings, defeated both Stanford and the Anteaters to advance to the MPSF Tournament championship match.
In the quarterfinal round on April 20, LBSU took care of business, topping No. 6 Stanford, 25-21, 25-17, 30-28 at the Walter Pyramid. Ian Satterfield had a team-high 12 kills on .308 hitting, while Taylor Crabb totaled 11 kills and a match-best nine digs. Colten Echave added nine kills (.538) and Dalton Ammerman finished with eight. Connor Olbright directed the offense to .309 hitting with 39 assists.
The 49ers then faced UC Irvine in the semifinals in Provo, Utah, on Thursday, April 25. After falling to the Anteaters three times during the regular season, Long Beach State got the win when it mattered most, outlasting second-seeded and third-ranked UCI, 25-22, 22-25, 20-25, 25-15, 22-20. The fifth set was the second-longest in MPSF Tournament history. LBSU held match point at 14-10, but UC Irvine scored four unanswered to even it up at 14-all. It then went back-and-forth with six ties and four lead changes. The 49ers eventually took their final match point on an Anteater service error and a double block by Crabb and Taylor Gregory gave them the win. Crabb finished with 23 kills, 11 digs and seven blocks. Satterfield chipped in 11 kills, while Echave matched his season best with 10 kills on .533 hitting. Gregory led the first line of defense with 11 blocks as LBSU notched a season-best 19 total team blocks.
Two days later, Long Beach State was unable to pull off the upset at top-ranked BYU, falling in three tightly contested sets in the championship match (28-26, 25-22, 25-22). LBSU led late in each game but the Cougars had an answer every time to pull out the win. Crabb led the 49ers with 16 kills, while Ammerman had 13. Ryan Windisch tallied a team-high eight digs.
IN THE POLLS
LBSU was ranked third in the final AVCA national poll released on May 7. Long Beach State was ranked among the top-10 every week this season and remained in the top-four in each of the last 12 polls.
CRABB CLAIMS TOP HONOR
Junior Taylor Crabb was named the 2013 AVCA Division I-II Men's National Player of the Year, the American Volleyball Coaches Association announced at its annual awards banquet on May 1. Crabb, who led the nation in kills for most of the season, finished the year ranked fourth with 4.18 kills per set. He was also among the top-10 in points (5th, 4.71/set) and hitting percentage (8th, .353).
CRABB, OLBRIGHT NAMED ALL-AMERICANS
Juniors Taylor Crabb and Connor Olbright were named to the AVCA Division I-II Men's All-America Team the American Volleyball Coaches Association announced on April 25. Crabb was a first-team selection, while Olbright received second-team recognition.
SIX 49ERS EARN ALL-MPSF HONORS
Long Beach State had six players named to the All-MPSF Team. Taylor Crabb was a first-team selection, while 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 selected to the All-Freshman Team.
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