#2 Long Beach State To Host #6 UC Irvine, UC San Diego

  0 volleymob | February 28th, 2017 | College - Men's Indoor, MPSF, News

No. 2 Long Beach State (15-2, 11-1 MPSF) vs. No. 6 UC Irvine (10-5, 7-4 MPSF)

Date: Wednesday, March 1
Time: 7 p.m. (PT)
Arena: Walter Pyramid (4,200)
Location: Long Beach, Calif.

Live Stats: BeachLiveStats.com
Radio: KBeach.org
Radio Talent: Jacob Fisk
Webcast: LongBeachState.com

No. 2 Long Beach State (15-2, 11-1 MPSF) vs. UC San Diego (5-11, 2-9 MPSF)

Date: Friday, March 3
Time: 7 p.m. (PT)
Arena: Walter Pyramid
Location: Long Beach, Calif.

Live Stats: BeachLiveStats.com
Radio: KBeach.org
Radio Talent: Jacob Fisk
Webcast: LongBeachState.com

No. 2 Long Beach State Welcomes No. 6 UC Irvine, UC San Diego to the Pyramid
The second-ranked Long Beach State men’s volleyball team hosts a pair of MPSF conference matches this week as the Beach welcome No. 6 UC Irvine and UC San Diego to the Pyramid. LBSU and UCI will go head-to-head on Wednesday, March 1 at 7 p.m., and the Beach and the Tritons will meet on Friday, March 3 at 7 p.m.

About The Beach
• The Beach brings an eight-match winning streak into this week’s matches against UC Irvine and UC San Diego as they have now won 12 of their last 13 matches and went undefeated during the month of February.
• Senior libero Andrew Sato continues to pace the back row as he has accumulated 873 career digs and is just 14 away from setting a new school record in that category. The senior also owns the program record for most matches with 10 or more digs with 48.
• Senior middle blocker Bryce Yould has been hot offensively as he leads the Beach with a .500 attack percentage (85-15-140) all the while upping his career hitting percentage to .438 (418-103-720) to move into fifth-place all-time at Long Beach State.
• Sophomore setter Josh Tuaniga has totaled 639 assists for an average of 11.62 to lead both the MPSF and the nation. As a team, the Beach are averaging 12.83 assists per set which is also tops in the country and conference.
• The Beach’s offense is averaging 13.76 kills per set which puts them in first in the NCAA and MPSF. Sophomore TJ DeFalco leads the team with 4.16 kills per set which is good for fourth in the conference and sixth in the country.
• Long Beach State also leads the nation and MPSF in attack percentage with a clip of .381.The Beach have three players hitting over .500 on the year in Josh Tuaniga (.515 – 43-8-68), Amir Lugo-Rodriguez (.514 – 87-12-146), and Bryce Yould (.500 – 91-16-150).
• LBSU has three players leading the MPSF in statistical categories as Josh Tuaniga (11.62 assists per set) and Amir Lugo-Rodriguez (1.39 blocks per set) lead both the league and the nation in their respective categories. Andrew Sato leads the conference in digs per set with 2.60, which is also good for seventh in the country.
• After a stellar performance against No. 5 Hawaii, sophomore opposite Kyle Ensing was named AVCA and MPSF Player of the Week for the first time in his career.
• 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 eight-match winning streak has kept the Beach in second in the AVCA Division I-II Men’s Volleyball Poll. With an 11-1 MPSF record, the Beach are tops in the league and have officially punched their postseason ticket into the eight-team MPSF Tournament.

UC Irvine moved up in the rankings from the No. 7 spot into the No. 6 spot after going 2-0 last week with a pair of five-set victories over then-No. 6 UCLA and then-No. 13 UC Santa Barbara.

UC San Diego is not ranked, but has been receiving votes in the last few polls.

This season, Long Beach State will face 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 Anteaters
UC Irvine is ranked sixth in the AVCA Division I-II Men’s Volleyball Poll and has won its last three matches against then-No. 13 CSUN (3-2), then-No. 6 UCLA (3-2), and then-No. 13 UC Santa Barbara (3-2). The Anteaters own an overall record of 11-5 and are 8-4 in the MPSF.

The ‘Eaters are hitting .303 on the year and averaging just under 13 kills per set on 12.3 assists per contest. Their opponents have a .262 attack percentage and have knocked down 11.9 kills per game this season.

Tamir Hershko is UCI’s leading scorer with 179 kills for an average of 3.14 per set, while hitting .311. He also adds 0.96 digs per set and 0.51 blocks per set. Michael Saeta is the ‘Eaters’ primary setter with 8.50 assists per game, Dillon Hoffman leads the backrow with 2.45 digs per set, while Scott Stadick owns a blocks per set average of 1.11.

Series vs. UC Irvine
Long Beach State and UC Irvine will meet for the 68th time in program history and the Beach lead the all-time series 43-24. The 49ers have won the last three meetings after defeating the ‘Eaters, 3-0, last month and sweeping them during the 2016 season. When playing UC Irvine at the Pyramid, Long Beach State boasts a 21-8 record.

Scouting the Tritons
UC San Diego has been riding a series of streaks this season. The Tritons opened the year on a five-match losing streak, then went on a five-match winning streak, only to find themselves currently on a six-match losing streak. Despite the ups and downs, UCSD is receiving votes in this week’s poll with a 5-11 overall record and a 2-9 conference mark.

The Tritons have struggled offensively this season as their opponents are outhitting them .304 to .246. Additionally, their counterparts own a kills per set average of 12.8, while the Tritons are averaging 10.8 kills per game. However, UCSD owns a slight edge in blocking over its counterparts as the Tritons average 2.1 blocks per set to their opponents’ 2.0.

Tanner Syftestad leads the Tritons in scoring with 4.13 kills per set and is also the team’s leader in service aces with 17. Milosh Stojcic is UCSD’s setter with 9.12 assists per game, while Ryan Lew paces the backrow with 2.17 digs per set. At the net, Drew Sloane is the team leader with 1.06 blocks per set.

Series vs. UC San Diego
Long Beach State and UC San Diego have squared off 69 total times in program history and the Beach own a 64-5 advantage in the all-time series. LBSU has won the last 10 meetings as UCSD is looking to earn its first win over the 49ers since 2012 when they edged the Beach in five sets. When playing at the Pyramid, Long Beach State owns a 30-2 record over UC San Diego.

Up Next
Long Beach State welcomes George Mason, Loyola and CSUN to the Walter Pyramid for the Active Ankle Tournament. The two-day tournament begins Friday, March 10 with Loyola taking on CSUN at 5 p.m., followed by Long Beach State hosting George Mason in the nightcap. The tournament concludes Saturday, March 11 with George Mason and CSUN playing at 5 p.m., and Loyola and Long Beach State wrapping things up at 7 p.m.

News courtesy of Long Beach State Athletics.

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