Daily 49er

Long Beach State men’s volleyball team loses to BYU in semis

LBSU can't gain any momentum in loss Thursday.

Left+to+right%3A+Senior+Amir+Lugo-Rodriguez%2C+sophomore+Kyle+Ensing+and+LBSU+coach+Alan+Knipe+answer+questions+during+press+conference+after+loss+to+BYU.+
Left to right: Senior Amir Lugo-Rodriguez, sophomore Kyle Ensing and LBSU coach Alan Knipe answer questions during press conference after loss to BYU.

Left to right: Senior Amir Lugo-Rodriguez, sophomore Kyle Ensing and LBSU coach Alan Knipe answer questions during press conference after loss to BYU.

Matthew Simon

Matthew Simon

Left to right: Senior Amir Lugo-Rodriguez, sophomore Kyle Ensing and LBSU coach Alan Knipe answer questions during press conference after loss to BYU.

Matthew Simon, Sports Editor

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — After a season of firsts, the Long Beach State men’s volleyball team saw its season end in similar fashion as it lost to Brigham Young University, 20-25, 18-25, 23-25, in the NCAA semifinals for the second straight year.

BYU will advance to face Ohio State in the championship for the second straight year.

LBSU (27-4) split with BYU (26-4) in the regular season, but from the opening set the 49ers looked like a different team as they couldn’t establish any momentum after taking an early 4-1 lead.

In the first set, LBSU hit for a .083 hitting percentage after leading the nation in the category after the regular season.

“It certainly took us awhile to get going,” LBSU head coach Alan Knipe said. “A lot of credit to BYU.”

BYU took control of the match as they kept the 49ers on their heels with stellar serving and behind junior outside hitter Brenden Sander who had a match-high 15 kills.

“This isn’t an outcome any of us wanted,” LBSU coach Alan Knipe said. “We knew coming in that all four teams are more than capable of not only advancing in the tournament, but winning [the championship].”

In the second frame, the 49ers suffered more uncharacteristic defensive mistakes as BYU combined for a .591 hitting percentage.

While the team hadn’t played in 12 days, Knipe mentioned that the team wasn’t able to block the way they did in MPSF play and it changed the course of the match as BYU was able to hit its way out of trouble when it seemed the 49ers were gaining momentum.

“When we got them into trouble, they were able to swing themselves out of it,” Knipe said. “We’ve led the conference in blocking most of the year and we’ve outblocked most teams and tonight we only had one block.”

Although LBSU couldn’t make it to the championship game, this was one of the program’s most successful and prestigious seasons as a whole and individually.

As a team, LBSU won its first-ever MPSG title over Hawai’I April 22 and had six members earn All-American honors for the first time in program history.

Three of those members are sophomores TJ DeFalco, Josh Tuaniga and Kyle Ensing. With that core returning Knipe is confident that trio will work to get even better

“They all have big-time aspirations of how good they can be,” Knipe said. “I have everything to believe they’ll have the same approach this offseason. You’ll see them come in and they’ll be significantly better in areas than they were before.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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