Daily 49er

No. 1 Long Beach State hits the road for two game road trip

The 49ers look to keep consecutive sets streak alive.

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The No.1 ranked Long Beach State men’s volleyball team heads east this week as the players prepare for a two-game road trip against Harvard (1-3) and George Mason (3-6).

LBSU (10-0) looks to improve on a historical start to the season, as it is now the best start for the program in over 10 years. The team is also in the midst of a 23 consecutive sets won streak.

The team’s first obstacle waits in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where it will face Harvard Thursday at 4 p.m. PT.

The Crimson are lead by senior setter Marko Kostich who leads the team with 87 assists, averaging a stout 5.44 assists per set. Kostich ranks top five on the squad in kills (26), digs (29), and blocks (8).

“The good thing about them [Harvard] is they are incredibly well coached,” head coach Alan Knipe said. “They are generally a very good ball-controlled team. So they are going to create some opportunities for themselves through serving.”

The 49ers are coming off a sweep against Concordia, which saw junior outside hitter Kyle Ensing leave the match late with “tightness” in his shoulder. He was sidelined at Monday’s practice.

“There’s different times early in the week that we give certain guys some rest,” Knipe said.

With Ensing sidelined on Monday, senior opposite Davis Cannon was seen taking reps in his place.

“We feel like Davis is one of the best opposites in the country,” Knipe said. “We’re just lucky to have him in our gym.”

With two road matches against sub .500 teams, the 6-foot-7 lefty could be a player to watch on the road trip.

Long Beach will be led by a core of three juniors, outside hitters TJ DeFalco, Kyle Ensing and setter Josh Tuaniga.

DeFalco is coming off a match against Concordia in which he recorded a double-double (12 kills, 12 digs) that would propel him to Big West Conference player of the week.

Ensing leads the team in kills with 105 (3.39 per set), ranking 19th in the country in kills per set. Meanwhile, Tuaniga has cracked into the top ten in the nation in assists per set at seventh with 10.2.

Long Beach will play Harvard at 4 p.m. Thursday in Cambridge, Massachusetts at the Malkin Athletic Center, followed by a match against George Mason at 4 p.m. Saturday in Fairfax, Virginia at the Recreation Athletic Complex.

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