Long Beach State Selected to Win Big West Conference Men’s Volleyball Title
The Beach received four first-place votes and a total of 34 points in the coaches poll
LONG BEACH – A week after being selected to start the season with a No. 2 national ranking, the Long Beach State men’s volleyball team was chosen to win the Big West Conference men’s volleyball title in the league’s inaugural season. The conference announced the preseason poll, which was voted on by the six head coaches, on Thursday.
No. 2 Long Beach State earned four first-place votes and a total of 34 points from the Big West coaches to take first place. No. 5 Hawaii claimed the remaining two first-place votes for a total of 32 points to come in second. No. 11 CSUN and No. 7 UC Irvine tied for third as both teams garnered 21 points. UC Santa Barbara (10 points) and UC San Diego (8 points) rounded out the coaches poll taking fifth and sixth, respectively.
The Beach return three AVCA All-Americans led by junior outside hitter TJ DeFalco, who is the reigning AVCA National Player of the Year. DeFalco finished the 2017 season hitting .389 with 3.99 kills per set and notched double-digit kills in 29 of 31 matches.
Also making a return to the court for the Beach are juniors Josh Tuaniga and Kyle Ensing. Tuaniga is an AVCA First Team All-American and the 2017 national leader in assists per set with 11.06, while Ensing is an AVCA Second Team All-American who hit .335 and averaged 3.37 kills per set a year ago.
Long Beach State returns 11 players from last year’s squad and welcomes 12 newcomers to the team which is led by AVCA Coach of the Year Alan Knipe, who is in his 15th year at the helm.
The Beach finished the 2017 campaign with a 27-4 overall record, won the MSPF Tournament, and reached the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year.
The 2018 season begins on Wednesday, Jan. 3, when Long Beach State hosts McKendree at 7 p.m. in the Walter Pyramid.
Big West Coaches Preseason Poll Results
1 Long Beach State (4) – 34 points
2 Hawaii (2) – 32 points
T3 CSUN – 21 points
T3 UC Irvine – 21 points
5 UC Santa Barbara – 10 points
6 UC San Diego – 8 points
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