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Long Beach State men’s volleyball wins 12th straight game

49ers have no problem in victory against Loyola.

Long Beach State outside hitter TJ De Falco tries to spike the ball past USC sophomore middle blocker Ryan Moss on Jan. 20

Bobby Yagake

Long Beach State outside hitter TJ De Falco tries to spike the ball past USC sophomore middle blocker Ryan Moss on Jan. 20

Monica Gallardo, Staff Writer

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On Saturday, the men’s volleyball showed no signs of slowing down from their win streak as the team swept No. 10 Loyola University Chicago to win the ASICS Tournament at the Walter Pyramid.

Setter Josh Tuaniga and opposite hitter Kyle Ensing received ASICS All-tournament Team honors, while outside hitter TJ DeFalco was named tournament MVP.

“I wouldn’t have won that if I didn’t have my teammates,” DeFalco said. “Everything from Josh [Tuaniga] setting me the ball and [Andrew] Whitt and [Andrew] Sato passing it so well, I wouldn’t have won MVP if I didn’t have my teammates, so it’s all to them.”

The 49ers (19-2, 13-1 MPSF) opened the game with a kill by DeFalco, who went on to rack up a total of 11 kills and a .360 attacking percentage at the end of the night. LBSU remained in control throughout the first set, taking advantage of 11 errors committed by the Loyola Ramblers. A kill by Ensing gave the 49ers a quick 12-5 lead and Tuaniga later ended the set with a service ace, giving the LBSU the 25-13 set win.

The Ramblers (11-7, 6-3 MIVA) then got the early lead in set two after a service error by Tuaniga, which DeFalco and middle blocker Bryce Yould answered with a block of Collin Mahan’s attempted attack. Both teams went on to be tied 12 more times in the set before LBSU crept closer to a sweep. Just before Tuaniga was about to serve for the set point, Loyola shouted for a timeout but had no luck after regrouping, as their two hitting errors gave the 49ers the set win 25-20.

Set three began in favor of the 49ers due to a kill by Ensing. Despite having a team attacking percentage of .414 compared to Loyola’s .050, LBSU once again found itself going back and forth with the set lead. The Ramblers later called their final timeout after DeFalco’s service ace gave the 49ers a 20-16 lead. Loyola, however, watched DeFalco serve another ace after they came back from the bench and lost the set 25-19 when Ensing served an ace of his own.  

Coach Alan Knipe said, “I thought our offense was really good throughout the tournament…overall, I thought our blocking defense was better than it’s been the last couple of weeks, and I thought our offense got going in each match.”

The 49ers will travel to No. 11 Cal State Northridge to face the Matadors on Friday at 7 p.m.

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