No. 1 Long Beach drops its first match of the year against Hawaii

It took 86 sets and a three-hour battle for the No. 1 Long Beach State men’s volleyball team to finally suffer its first loss in what has been a historic season. Emotions were high for both sides, but the crowd of almost 6,000 overwhelmed the 49ers, causing their meltdown in the final two sets of the game. Long Beach (24-1, 9-1 Big West) fell to No. 6 Hawaii (18-7, 6-4 Big West) 25-21, 22-25, 23-25, 25-20, 15-11 after narrowly defeating the Rainbow Warriors in five sets the night before, losing the final game heading into the Big West Tournament. “It’s huge for us, we battled and we got the win for our seniors,” Hawaii head coach Charlie Wade said via Spectrum Sports Hawaii. “We think we’re one of the best teams in the nation, and we want to show that we belong in the NCAA tournament.” Errors and a lack of composure proved to be the Achilles’ heel for the 49ers, piling up 17 hitting errors, 21 services errors, six receiving errors and eight blocking errors. “Execution wise I don't think we were at our best this weekend, and we certainly weren't tonight,” head coach Alan Knipe said via LBSU_MVB

By | 2018-04-15T18:46:02+00:00 Apr 15, 2018 | 6:37 pm|Categories: Men's Sports, Men's Volleyball, Sports, Today|Tags: , , , , , |

No. 1 Long Beach State trounce UC San Diego in 3-0 sweep for Big West title

The ball would go back and forth over the net multiple times before creating a two-on-one matchup at the net, UC San Diego’s Nathan Thalken against Long Beach State junior outside hitter Kyle Ensing and senior middle blocker Jason Willahan. The three players would clash at the net with Ensing and Willahan blocking the ball for a Long Beach point, bringing the 1,411 fans to their feet. It was a special moment for Willahan, who turned to his teammates with arms wide open to celebrate the point. Willahan and four of his teammates celebrated senior night Saturday at the Walter Pyramid with a three set sweep over San Diego 25-21,25,18,25-13. The 49ers said goodbye to opposite hitter Davis Cannon, libero Matt Butler, outside hitter Bjarne Huus, and middle blockers Zach Gates and Willahan. “It’s been an honor to play for this program and for this logo and for the coaching staff,” Willahan said. “It’s been all positive, I have nothing negative to say.” Long Beach (23-0, 8-0 Big West) would go on to earn the victory, and marked a 23-0 start, which is the longest ever in program history and the first ever Big West men's volleyball regular season champions

No. 1 Long Beach State takes down No. 4 UC Irvine in five set thriller

The No.1 ranked Long Beach men’s volleyball team did something that it hasn’t done all season. On Friday, the 49ers played five sets and were pushed the distance against No. 4 UC Irvine edging the Anteaters in a five set thriller at the Walter Pyramid. Long Beach (20-0, 5-0 Big West) would start the match with a slow and flat energy. The team would struggle to put kills away at the net in the first set, hitting a unimpressive .192 UC Irvine (17-6, 3-2 Big West) would take the first set, coming out with a storm of energy and transferring that into solid defensive play which would last the rest of the game. Irvine would hold Long Beach to a .281 attacking percentage, well below its season average of over .400. “These are two good teams, it was a close match even though the sets may have been lopsided,” UC Irvine head coach David Kniffin said. After the dropped first set, the 49ers would find their rhythm and take the next two sets, by a combined 19 points. Long Beach cruised with momentum into the fourth set, the 49ers would jump out to an early 4-0 lead. Irvine counterered with

No. 1 Long Beach State men’s volleyball assistant moving up the ranks

While the campus at Long Beach State has been quiet for spring break, the No. 1 Long Beach State men’s volleyball team made some noise of its own. On Wednesday, the men’s volleyball program promoted assistant coach and recruiting director Nick MacRae to associate head coach. "He's an enormous part of our success and I couldn't be happier for Nick on his new title of associate head coach as he continues to move up the ladder and develop,” head coach Alan Knipe said. “It is a pleasure to work with him...It couldn't happen to a better guy.” MacRae is in the midst of his sixth season on the Long Beach State coaching staff. He originally arrived starting as the director of operations before being moved to assistant coach and recruiting director. "I'm super excited. Long Beach is my home and this is my family," MacRae told LBSU Athletics. "A big thanks to my family, President Jane Conoley for making this happen, our Athletics Director Andy Fee, our sport supervisor Mark Edrington, and our head coach Alan Knipe. Big thanks and love to the entire Long Beach community. I'm fired up to move forward." MacRae is a Long Beach product himself,

By | 2018-04-01T16:30:01+00:00 Apr 1, 2018 | 4:30 pm|Categories: Men's Sports, Men's Volleyball, Sports, Today|Tags: , , , , , , |

No. 1 LBSU extends its historic season

The No. 1 Long Beach State men’s volleyball team continues its historic run after sweeping No. 12 UC Santa Barbara Thursday night. Long Beach (18-0, 3-0 Big West) defeated UC Santa Barbara (9-6, 2-1 Big West) 25-17, 25-19, 25-19 after holding the Gauchos to a hitting percentage of .189 and finishing the night with six service aces. “It was kind of the match that we anticipated it would be,” head coach Alan Knipe said. “[UC Santa Barbara was] an incredibly prepared team that was going to play hard.” Although the Gauchos fell in three sets, they were resilient throughout the whole match and would end the night out-digging the 49ers 33-30. “It’s not often that we get out-dug in a match, but tonight they played hard and that's a huge credit to what they do out there,” Knipe said. The 49ers set the tone early on in the match, taking the first set with ease, but would begin to play passively in the final two sets. Long Beach had trouble maintaining leads and would eventually face a tied game at 15-15 in the second set. In a Phil Jackson-esque way, Knipe refused to call a timeout and let his team

By | 2018-03-16T17:09:56+00:00 Mar 16, 2018 | 5:09 pm|Categories: Men's Sports, Men's Volleyball, Sports, Today|Tags: , , |

No. 1 Long Beach State men’s volleyball sweeps Mount Olive

The Long Beach State men’s volleyball team etched its own mark into the program’s history Wednesday night by becoming the first team ever to start 17-0. “I think it’s a testament to what we are doing in practice an coming into every match like it’s not something special,” junior outside hitter Louis Richard said. Long Beach (17-0, 2-0 Big West) were visited by Mount Olive (10-5, 7-2 Conference of Carolinas) a division II program. This would provide an opportunity for the 49ers to give some key contributors some rest and allow some unlikely faces to see the court with 14 different 49ers seeing action in the match. “We were able to start some guys that normally don’t get out there and start for us, and I thought they did a great job,” head coach Alan Knipe said. Among the new faces to see the floor, Louis Richard made the biggest impact going for a career high seven kills, four digs and three blocks on the night. “I think having a new career high is good for me it’s good for the team,” Richards said. “Being comfortable playing the brand of volleyball we play. Being confident that I know the system

By | 2018-03-07T23:09:37+00:00 Mar 7, 2018 | 11:09 pm|Categories: Men's Sports, Men's Volleyball, Showcase, Sports|Tags: , , , |

No. 1 Long Beach State handle No. 12 CSUN at home

No.1 Long Beach State and No.12 Cal State Northridge went to battle for the second time in three nights on Sunday. Long Beach swept both matches in three sets, extending its win streak to 16. Long Beach (16-0, 2-0 Big West) returned home, where it has been nearly impossible to beat, rattling off 22 consecutive wins inside the Walter Pyramid, the second longest streak in school history. CSUN (8-7, 0-2) entered the match on the opposite end of the spectrum, being one of the worst teams on the road this season. Owning a 1-4 record coming into the match. The 49ers would jump on the Matadors early in the first set, opening an 9-7 lead, thanks to two early kills and an early block by redshirt junior middle blocker Nick Amado. Amado would finish the night with five kills and two blocks. Long Beach would not relinquish the lead for the rest of the set. Junior outside hitter Kyle Ensing would finish the first set with four kills and a sizzling .667 hitting percentage. “That falls on Josh [Tuaniga], he does a good job of finding the hot hitter,” Ensing said. Long Beach would ramp up the energy in the

By | 2018-03-06T09:02:19+00:00 Mar 4, 2018 | 10:19 pm|Categories: Men's Sports, Men's Volleyball, Showcase, Sports|Tags: , , , |

Long Beach States TJ DeFalco’s decision to stay at Long Beach

After leading the Long Beach State men’s volleyball team to a second consecutive Final Four in 2017, it is no surprise that a professional team in Italy came knocking on the doorstep of junior outside hitter TJ Defalco to recruit him. This offer left DeFalco with a decision to make. DeFalco, 20, took a few months to weigh his options on whether or not his collegiate career would be over. He had just come back from playing for the United States 2017 FIVB World League team when he finally decided to commit to his final two seasons at Long Beach. “I was never really torn, it’s just a long decision making process,” DeFalco said. “I wanted to make sure I covered all my bases.” In order to  avoid possible NCAA violations, all contact with the Italian team was through his father, Torey, so the specific team has not been named. DeFalco’s decision to stay and see his college career through at Long Beach has brought ease and stability in his three years at program. The reigning AVCA player of the year is one of the focal players on the No. 1 ranked team through a remarkable 14-0 season by contributing

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