Match Preview courtesy Long Beach State Athletics:
No. 1 Long Beach State (24-3) vs. No. 10 USC (14-13)
Date: Saturday, April 15
Time: 7 p.m.
Arena: Walter Pyramid (4,200)
Location: Long Beach, Calif.
Live Stats: BeachLiveStats.com
Radio Talent: Jacob Fisk
No. 1 Long Beach State Hosts No. 10 USC in MPSF Quarterfinals
The top-ranked Long Beach State men’s volleyball team kicks off the MPSF tournament hosting No. 10 USC, which is the No. 8 seed in the conference tournament. LBSU and USC will face off on Friday, April 15 at 7 p.m. inside the Walter Pyramid with the winner advancing to the MPSF Semifinals on Thursday, April 20.
About The Beach
• The Beach have held steady in the No. 1 spot in the AVCA National Rankings after having won 17 of their last 18 matches.
• Sophomore outside hitter TJ DeFalco was named MPSF Player of the Year, becoming just the second Long Beach State men’s volleyball player to earn the honor after Paul Lotman in 2008.
• DeFalco was also named to the All-MPSF First Team for the second time in as many seasons. Joining DeFalco on the All-MPSF First Team were teammates Josh Tuaniga and Kyle Ensing.
• The Beach also placed three on the All-MPSF Second Team in Andrew Sato, Amir Lugo-Rodriguez and Bryce Yould.
• Senior libero Andrew Sato continues his prowess in the backrow as he owns a total of 948 digs becoming just the 15th player in MPSF history to reach the 900-dig plateau. He is also Long Beach State’s all-time digs leader.
• Senior middle blocker Bryce Yould has been hot offensively as he owns a .498 (147-25-245) attack percentage all the while upping his career hitting percentage to .445 (476-112-818) to rank third all-time at Long Beach State.
• Sophomore setter Josh Tuaniga has totaled 993 assists for an average of 11.28 to lead both the MPSF and the nation. Tuaniga has now accumulated a total of 2,357 assists in his career to move into ninth place in the Long Beach State career records.
• With the regular season coming to an end, Long Beach State’s Amir Lugo-Rodriguez’s attack percentage of .513 ranks second among LBSU players in a single-season. Meanwhile, Yould’s clip of .498 ranks him fifth in the single-season record book.
• LBSU has three players currently leading the MPSF in their respective statistical categories. Sophomore setter Josh Tuaniga’s 11.28 assists per set lead not only the MPSF, but the nation. Seniors Andrew Sato and Amir Lugo-Rodriguez also lead the league with 2.48 digs per set and 1.26 blocks per set, respectively.
• The Beach lead the nation in a pair of statistical categories. Long Beach State sets the standard in hitting percentage (.377) as well as kills per set (13.57).
• Long Beach State was chosen to finish third in the MPSF Preseason Coaches’ Poll with 103 total points. The Beach were picked to come in behind BYU (119 points), which garnered nine first-place votes, and UCLA (111 points), which tallied three first place votes.
In the Rankings
Long Beach State’s stayed in the No. 1 spot in the AVCA Division I-II Men’s Volleyball Poll after earning a three-set sweep over No. 14 CSUN to end the regular season last week. The Beach are the top-seed in the MPSF Tournament after winning the regular season title.
USC is ranked 10th in the AVCA Poll and earned a No. 8 seed in the MPSF Tournament after closing the regular season with a pair of four-set wins over Cal Baptist.
This season, Long Beach State faced 12 of the 15 ranked teams, while taking on the top three finishers from a year ago (Ohio State, BYU, UCLA) on the road.
Scouting The Trojans
No. No. 10 USC owns a 14-13 overall record and finished MPSF action with an 8-10 ledger. The Trojans are 4-8 when playing on the road this season.
USC has won eight of its last nine matches, with it’s only loss coming to then-No. 6 UCLA in a 3-0 sweep to the Bruins.
The Trojans are 5-7 in three-set matches, 5-3 in four-set contests and 4-3 when playing five sets. Lucas Yoder leads the Trojans in scoring as his 4.80 kills per set lead the conference. He also adds 1.29 digs per set, 0.33 blocks per contest, while hitting .318. Gert Lisha is the team’s setter with 10.79 assists per set to pace a Trojan offense that is hitting .266.
On defense, USC is led by Andy Benesh’s 1.09 blocks per set and Matt Douglas’ 2.07 digs per contest.
Series vs. USC
Long Beach State and USC will meet for the 107th time in program history and the Trojans lead the all-time series 58-48. Earlier this season, the two teams split the series as USC earned a 3-1 victory over LBSU onJan. 11, and the Beach swept the Trojans on Feb. 24.