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Long Beach State prepares to take on UC Irvine in MPSF semifinals

Long Beach State aims to advance to MPSF Championship game.

Andrew Whitt passes the ball during Long Beach State 3-1 victory last Thursday at Walter Pyramid.

Bobby Yagake

Andrew Whitt passes the ball during Long Beach State 3-1 victory last Thursday at Walter Pyramid.

Matthew Simon, Sports Editor

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On Tuesday, after the men’s volleyball team was finished with practice, coach Alan Knipe sat in front of the group and asked them to critique practice.

With the 49ers preparing to take on UC Irvine tonight at 7:30, Tuesday’s practice wasn’t about the Anteaters, but what they needed to do and work on to get better as a whole.

That’s the mentality No.1 49ers (25-2, 16-2 MPSF) have had all year; they don’t look ahead but focus on what’s directing in front of them. They keep the mentality that if stick to the game plan they will succeed.

So, after LBSU cruised past USC last Thursday in a 3-1 victory, the mentality is the same.

“A mindset for a tournament like this where you’re playing [today] and hopefully Saturday, has to be developed in the early stages of a season,” Knipe said. “You have to identify what you’re goals are and you have to have realistic expectations of yourself, but you also have to be able to do the work.”

The 49ers had no issues against UC Irvine during the regular season, sweeping the Anteaters with a 3-0 win Feb. 11 and a 3-1 victory March 1.

LBSU will look to go for 3-for-3 against UCI tonight, but will not underestimate its opponent.

“Our expectations ha[ve] always been that we’re going to look at this season we’re going to get timed out at some point. Eventually someone’s  going to tell us you’re out of practice dates and this is it. We never wanted to feel like we weren’t improving, we just wanted to make sure we felt like we were going to make the most of every minute possibly can because someone will tell us when it’s over as far as time.”

Sophomores TJ DeFalco, Josh Tuaniga and Kyle Ensing will be a big part of making sure that LBSU’s season continues as they try to maintain Knipe’s game plan.
“Our goal is to do a really good job of controlling what we have absolute control over,” Knipe said. “What we have absolute control over is what we do on a daily basis.”

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