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LBSU block too much for Cal Baptist

Taylor Gregory rose above the Lancers to record seven block assists in the 49ers’ sweep of Cal Baptist.

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LBSU block too much for Cal Baptist

Long Beach State middle blocker Bryce Yould attacks the ball against Cal Baptist middle blocker Enrique de Diego Garcia on Wednesday in the Walter Pyramid.

Long Beach State middle blocker Bryce Yould attacks the ball against Cal Baptist middle blocker Enrique de Diego Garcia on Wednesday in the Walter Pyramid.

Bobby Yagake

Long Beach State middle blocker Bryce Yould attacks the ball against Cal Baptist middle blocker Enrique de Diego Garcia on Wednesday in the Walter Pyramid.

Bobby Yagake

Bobby Yagake

Long Beach State middle blocker Bryce Yould attacks the ball against Cal Baptist middle blocker Enrique de Diego Garcia on Wednesday in the Walter Pyramid.

Kayce Contatore, Contributing Writer

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The domineering block of the Long Beach State men’s volleyball team overcame a slow start to secure a sweep over Cal-Baptist Wednesday night.

The No. 9 49ers (12-9, 8-8 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) earned 13.5 blocks on the night, with junior middle blocker Taylor Gregory contributing seven block assists. Gregory said LBSU is progressing well as postseason play approaches.

“[We have] a snowball on top of a hill, and we’re just going to keep pushing it down and hopefully it keeps rolling and rolling and getting bigger as it goes along,” Gregory said. “That’s our goal, to keep getting better every match and keep the ball rolling.”

The Lancers’ (6-15, 2-13 MPSF) shaky season continued with another loss. Injuries forced Cal-Baptist to change its rotations and style of play. LBSU head coach Alan Knipe said his team switched up the game plan it had prepared during the week, and saw the match as great practice before the MPSF tournament.

Knipe said the team handled the early deficit well despite hitting just .125 compared to the Lancers’ .194 hitting percentage in the first set.

“I think that was a great first game for us because it didn’t go perfect for us and we had to make some adjustments on the fly and they did a good job,” Knipe said. “The ability to be able to adapt to that, where you’re not only going to win if they do exactly what they say on paper, it’s not a chess game or a video game. It’s athletes playing.”

Knipe said his team stayed consistent from the service line, reigning down five aces on the Lancers with only 12 errors, which benefited the 49ers’ block.

“More importantly than the aces, [Cal-Baptist’s] setter was running around a lot tonight and when he’s running around that limited how many options he had and that usually resulted in a lot of blocks,” Knipe said. “Blocks on defense are really dictated by serving.”

Junior opposite hitter John La Rusch led the 49ers in kills, slamming down 10 on the night to overpower the Lancers.

“We have been making great strides in just playing as a unit no matter who is on the court,” La Rusch said. “We’re all doing our job.”

Junior opposite hitter Roy Powell led the Lancers with 12 kills. Cal-Baptist clung to the lead for the majority of the third set, but struggled to maintain its high energy as the 49ers fought back with an ace and a kill from junior outside hitter Dan Glamack to take the match.

“The energy level you bring to the court can work for you or against you,” Lancers head coach Wes Schneider said. “If you’re up, you’re really high and if you’re low you’re really low with your energy.”

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