Long Beach State Men's Volleyball Signs Five to National Letters of Intent
June 14, 2013
LONG BEACH - Long Beach State men's volleyball head coach Alan Knipe has announced the signing of five prep standouts to National Letters of Intent. Matt Butler, Zach Gates, Curtis Stallings, Scott Stephanoff and Bryce Yould will join the 49ers in 2013-14.
Matt Butler (Huntington Beach, Calif.) lettered four years at Huntington Beach High School. Butler was recently named the CIF-Southern Section Division I Player of the Year after leading the Oilers to their first CIF title in 19 years. He also earned first-team all-county honors. As a junior, Butler was named the Sunset League Co-MVP, was an All-CIF selection and a second-team all-county pick. In addition, the 6-foot setter is a member of The HBC Volleyball Club, where he garnered all-tournament accolades after guiding his team to a fourth-place finish in the 18-Open division of the 2012 Boys' Junior National Championships. Butler also excelled in soccer at HBHS.
"Matt has proven to be one of the most capable offensive setters in the country," Knipe said. "We are excited to get Matt's unique volleyball ability and persistent competitiveness in our gym."
Zach Gates (Huntington Beach, Calif.), a 6-foot-6 opposite, is a teammate of Butler at both Huntington Beach High School and The HBC Volleyball Club. He lettered in basketball and baseball before committing to volleyball full-time following his sophomore year. As a senior, Gates helped the Oilers to the Division I CIF-SS championship and was a second-team all-county selection. As a junior, he earned All-CIF and All-Sunset League honors. Gates was also a member of The HBC team that finished fourth in the 18-Open Division at last year's Boys' Junior National Championships.
"Zach is big and he is a very physical blocker," Knipe said. "We are looking forward to having his size and physicality next season."
Curtis Stallings (Chesapeake, Va.), a 6-foot-5 setter, was a four-year starter at Grassfield High School in Virginia. As a senior, he led the Grizzlies to a 16-2 district record, earning him Southeastern District Player of the Year honors. Stallings was also a two-time first-team All-Tidewater and All-Eastern Region selection. In addition, he plays for Coastal Volleyball Club and was recently selected to the 2013 U.S. Boys' Youth National Team.
"Curtis has proven himself as one of the top tier setters in the nation," Knipe said. "He has very good size and athletic ability which allows him to be a very complete player."
Scott Stephanoff (Gardena, Calif.) attended Mira Costa High School, where he led the Mustangs to a Bay League title and a semifinal appearance in the 2013 Division I CIF-Southern Section Championships. Stephanoff garnered All-CIF and all-league honors. As a junior, the 6-foot-5 opposite/middle blocker was a first-team all-league, All-CIF and Daily Breeze All-Area selection. He also plays for Southern California Volleyball Club (SCVC) and helped the squad to the 17-Open title at the 2012 Boys' Junior National Championships. Stephanoff was named to the all-tournament team.
"Scott brings a lot of versatility with him to The Beach," Knipe said. "He has a great arm and can jump very well. We are excited to see what his talent can manifest into."
Bryce Yould (Laguna Niguel, Calif.) lettered four years at Dana Hills High School. The 6-foot-4 middle blocker led the Dolphins to a 23-4 overall record and an appearance in the Division I CIF-SS quarterfinals as a senior. He garnered second-team all-county recognition. Yould is also a member of The HBC Volleyball Club, which finished fourth in the 18-Open Division of the 2012 Boys' Junior National Championships.
"Bryce has been one of the top offensive middle blockers in the country since he was a sophomore," Knipe said. "He has a special arm and jumping ability, which are two things we hold to a premium here at Long Beach State. We believe Bryce will step in and be able to make a strong impact on our program right away."
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