- #4 Long Beach State against Fort Wayne (25-16, 25-20, 25-21) and McKendree (29-27, 25-16, 25-21)
- Long Beach State starts off season with 2-0 record
- Thunderdome at UC Santa Barbara for UCSB Tournament
- Fort Wayne Stats McKendree Stats
Friday night marked the 9th time that Long Beach State won a season-opener to start of their season, thanks to a 2-0 record with wins over Fort Wayne and McKendry. Long Beach State started off by dominating against Fort Wayne with a .366 hitting percentage. TJ DeFalco led the team with a 10 kills and opposite Kyle Ensing hit .500 with 7 kills. Fort Wayne couldn’t get past Long Beach State’s defense and had 22 hitting errors hitting only .070.
McKednree took Long Beach State to a tight first game at 29-27 but couldn’t close out, leaving LBSU with another sweep. Josh Tuaniga had a total of 75 assists for the day and totaled 44 assists against McKednree. Libero Andrew Sato collected 11 digs.
McKendree’s Nolan Rueter and Maalik Walker both produced double digits kills with 13 kills each. But the team had 8 service errors and only 2 aces which wasn’t enough to get past Long Beach State.
Courtesy of: Long Beach State Athletics
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The No. 4 Long Beach State men’s volleyball team kicked off the 2017 season with a pair of sweeps against Fort Wayne (25-16, 25-20, 25-21) and McKendree (29-27, 25-16, 25-21) at the UCSB Tournament on Friday in the Thunderdome on the campus of UC Santa Barbara.
With the win against Fort Wayne (0-3), the Beach have now won nine straight season-openers. After defeating McKendree (0-3), LBSU improved to 2-0 on the season.
“I think we did a good job against two very talented teams that we don’t see very often,” Long Beach State head coach Alan Knipe said. “Coming out and getting going was good. I thought there were a lot of things our guys did well throughout the day. Primarily, the adjustments made within the match were more important to me than the individual successes of blocking, hitting or what have you.”
Long Beach State did a solid job offensively as the Beach hit .366 in the first match against Fort Wayne, then came back and hit .478 in the nightcap versus McKendree.
Sophomore outside hitter TJ DeFalco led the team in scoring in both matches notching double-figure kills in each. He posted 10 kills versus Fort Wayne and 14 against McKendree. Sophomore opposite Kyle Ensing was also a key component to the 49ers’ offense as he hit .500 (7-1-13) in the first match with seven kills and came back that night and led the team with a .632 attack percentage (13-1-19) to go along with 13 kills.
Setter Josh Tuaniga paced the offense with a total of 75 assists on the day. The sophomore dished out 31 helpers against the Mastodons and then collected 44 assists versus the Bearcats.
“I thought offensively we did well,” Knipe said. “Kyle Ensing did a really good job all day and Josh (Tuaniga) set really well in both matches for us. There are a lot of good things that were done by everyone today.”
In addition to the solid offensive output by the Beach, the 49ers also played stout defense as they limited Fort Wayne to just .070 hitting as they forced 22 attack errors and allowed just 28 kills on 86 attempts.
The Beach’s defense was anchored by senior libero Andrew Sato who collected 10 digs in the first match and 11 in the second. LBSU also received a good effort at the net from middle blockers Amir Lugo-Rodriguez and Kyle Ensing. Lugo-Rodriguez finished the day with five block assists, while Kyle Ensing notched three.
Long Beach State did not allow any of the Mastodons to reach double-figures as Fort Wayne was led by Colton Stone and Pelegrin Vargas who each tallied nine kills. However, Stone committed 10 attack errors to give him a -.034 hitting percentage, while Vargas posted a .125 attack percentage (9-6-24).
McKendree managed to get a pair of scorers in double digits as Nolan Rueter and Maalik Walker each posted 13 kills. However, the Beach took advantage of eight Bearcats’ service errors against just two aces.
LBSU had a solid opening day at the UCSB Tournament as the 49ers go into the final day of tourney action with a positive outlook.
“When we look at the stats as a staff, we just feel like there are so many other things that we can tighten up,” Knipe said. “And that’s a fun feeling.”
The Beach will take on Quincy on Saturday, Jan. 7 at Rob Gym at 4 p.m. Live stats will be available on LongBeachState.com.