#2 LBSU Hits .524 to Knock Off Shorthanded #14 USC Trojans

  0 Braden Keith | February 25th, 2017 | College - Men's Indoor, MPSF, News

Match Stats

  • #2 LBSU def. #14 USC 3-0 (25-17, 25-12, 25-15)
  • LBSU moves to 15-2 (11-1 MPSF); USC falls to 6-10 (5-8 MPSF)
  • Walter Pyramid, Long Beach, California
  • Attendance: 2067
  • Match Stats

The 2nd-ranked LBSU Beach topped #14 USC in straight sets on Saturday in front of over 2,000 fans at the Walter Pyramid. That’s an 8th-straight win for LBSU who still control the MPSF conference midway through the season.

For USC, the loss halts two weeks of momentum for the team that semed to finally be finding its groove. The team started the season 3-9 but had run off 3 straight wins, including beating ranked teams Stanford and Pepperdine, before being hammered by LBSU. The Trojans struggled without Lucas Yoder, the defending VolleyMob National Player of the Week and national leader in kills and points, who sat out the game with an abdominal strain.

The result was only an .096 offensive output for USC, while Long Beach State hit .524. When USC has played well this year, it’s been relying largely on a small core of players – a strategy that becomes unstable if one of those players, and arguably the most important of those players, gets hurt.

Long Beach State played a tight 9-man rotation int he win with TJ DeFalco leading them with 14 kills on .550 hitting percentage. Amir Lugo-Rodriguez had 8 block assists – part of 11.5 block team effort for LBSU, as compared to just 3 for USC.

LBSU also had 6 aces as a team, and broke 84% of USC’s serves.

This is not only the second time that the Beach have hit over .500 this season, it’s the second time they’ve done it against a ranked opponent – in January, they hit .534 in a 3-set win against Hawaii. Nobody else has achieved that plateau in 2017 against a single top 15 team, though CSUN hit .557 against USC early in the year, before the Trojans were ranked.

LBSU plays UC Irvine and UCSD next week again in the Walter Pyramid, while USC travels to Hawaii for a pair against the Rainbow Warriors.


Press Releases

Courtesy LBSU Athletics:

LONG BEACH — The No. 2 Long Beach State men’s volleyball team was solid offensively hitting .524 on its way to a 3-0 [25-17, 25-12, 25-15] sweep over No. 14 USC on Friday night at the Walter Pyramid.

The Beach have now won eight consecutive matches to improve to 15-2 on the year and 11-1 in the MPSF, while posting a perfect 6-0 record at home, and going 8-0 in the month of February. Meanwhile, the Trojans fall to 6-10 overall and 5-8 in conference play.

Long Beach State came out firing on all cylinders tonight as it never hit below .400 in any of the three sets. The Beach knocked down a total of 38 kills on 63 attempts, while committing just five errors to hit .524 in the match. Additionally, their defense was on point as the 49ers limited the Trojans to just .096 (26-19-73) hitting in the contest.

“I’m just glad they came out with a significantly better sense of competitiveness and sense of urgency to play every point here tonight,” Long Beach State head coach Alan Knipe said. “There’s no doubt that a lot of the little things went our way tonight unlike the beginning of our match on Wednesday night where a lot of things didn’t go our way in the first set.

“The lesson learned for us is to just keep pressuring and good things usually happen. I just like the response by the guys to come out and be ready to go right out of the gate for whatever they are going to bring at us.”

The Beach kept the pressure on the Trojans throughout all three sets as they took advantage of 11 USC service errors, four blocking errors and six reception errors.

Sophomore setter Josh Tuaniga did a good job of pacing the 49ers’ offense as he dished out 33 assists, while contributing a pair of kills himself. He also tacked on two service aces, while adding five blocks and four digs.

TJ DeFalco led the Beach in scoring for the sixth-straight match as he tallied 14 kills while hitting .550 for his 15th double-figure contest of the season.

LBSU’s offense also got a boost from Kyle Ensing’s nine-kill effort on 16 attempts without an attack error. Ensing hit .562 in the match and added five total blocks to help lead the Beach at the net along with senior middle blocker Amir Lugo-Rodriguez who posted eight block assists as the 49ers finished the match with 11.5 total team blocks.

Senior libero Andrew Sato once again set the tone for the backrow with nine digs. Defensively, the Beach owned a reception percentage of 97.1 percent as they only committed one reception error in the contest.

With the offense going strong and the defense playing its game, the Beach managed to roll over the Trojans never allowing them to score more than 17 points in a single frame.

The first set was the closest as the two teams battled back-and-forth early on, but it did not take long for LBSU to break the 10-10 tie and go on a 6-0 run and never look back. Following the run, the Beach led by as many as nine points (21-12) before taking set one by a score of 25-17.

Long Beach State started the second set on a 4-0 run and never allowed the Trojans to come closer than three (8-5) before the 49ers broke the game wide open and cruised to a 25-12 victory.

The third set was much like the first. The two teams fought through several early ties, but Long Beach State broke the 9-9 deadlock and took a 15-11 lead forcing a timeout before running away with the game, 25-15.

USC’s scorers were all held to single digits as Lucas Lossone and Ryan Moss led the team with five kills apiece. Gert Lisha tallied 21 assists, while Lossone and Blake Markland each notched three digs to lead the Trojans.

Long Beach State returns to action on Wednesday, March 1 when it hosts No. 7 UC Irvine at 7 p.m. in the Walter Pyramid.

Courtesy USC Athletics:

TJ DeFalco had 14 kills while hitting .550 to lead the No. 2-ranked Long Beach State men’s volleyball team to a 25-17, 25-12, 25-15 sweep over shorthanded No. 14 USC in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match on Friday (Feb. 24) in Long Beach.

Long Beach State improved to 15-2 overall and 11-1 in the MPSF. USC had its season-best 3-match winning streak snapped while falling to 6-10 overall and 5-8 in the MPSF.

USC played without starting outside hitter Lucas Yoder, the nation’s kills and points leader, who was nursing an abdominal strain. The Trojans’ other starting outside hitter, Gianluca Grasso, didn’t enter the game until the third set after missing the previous 4 matches with an ankle sprain.

Ryan Moss and Lucas Lossone topped USC with 5 kills each, with Moss hitting .455.

Kyle Ensing added 9 kills for the 49ers while hitting .562 and he had 5 blocks. Amir Lugo-Rodriguez had 8 blocks.

LBSU hit .524 to USC’s .096 and the 49ers had more blocks (11.5 to 3.0), digs (22 to 16) and aces (6 to 1). Long Beach State went on a 6-point run in the first set to go up 16-10 and cruised in the rest of the way. The 49ers scored 5 of the second set’s first 6 points and were never threatened. With the third set tied at 9-9, LBSU scored consecutive points to open up a 2-point margin that it continued to build.

USC next travels to play at No. 4 Hawaii for a pair of matches, the first one an MPSF contest on March 2 and then a non-conference match on March 3.

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of VolleyMob.com. Braden's first foray into sports journalism came in 2010, when he launched a swimming website called The Swimmers' Circle. Two years later, he joined SwimSwam.com as a co-founder. Long huge fans of volleyball, when Braden and the SwimSwam partners sought an opportunity to …

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