Daily 49er

No.1 Long Beach State squares off against No. 2 UCLA in anticipated matchup

The 49ers face tough test with Bruins coming to Long Beach.

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Saturday at the Walter Pyramid will be the premier men’s volleyball matchup of the year, as No. 1 LBSU will host No. 2 UCLA in Long Beach for a highly anticipated matchup.

Long Beach (12-0) will enter the contest coming off of a two-game road trip in which it took care of Harvard (1-6) and George Mason (4-7) in six straight sets.  The wins pushed them to 12-0 on the season and added to their total of 29 consecutive sets won.

“It was a good trip, I thought that we played pretty well against Harvard,” head coach Alan Knipe said. “We didn’t have our best match against George Mason, but I thought offensively we had a really good match.”

UCLA (14-1) heads into the Walter Pyramid riding a seven-game win streak, taking care of crosstown rivals USC in its last match in straight sets on Valentine’s Day.

The Bruins are led by junior setter Micah Ma’a, whose 12.5 assists per set and ability to lead the offense to a .443 hitting percentage, would earn him American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) National Men’s Volleball  player of the week honors. The Bruins were 3-0 in last week’s games.

“Like any of the good teams in the country they are going to stress you because they have good balance,” Knipe said. “They’re not going to be super predictable in every rotation. They’re distribution offensively will be good and balanced and that creates stress on its own.”

Long Beach will counter with an impressive setter of their own in junior Josh Tuaniga. Tuaniga enters the game sixth in the country in assists per set at 10.28. He also is tied for second on the team with 64 digs.

The match will begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday inside the Walter Pyramid.

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