#1 Long Beach State won their second men’s volleyball championship in program history and first since 1991. The 27 years was the longest drought ended in the history of the men’s championship for any team that has already won a title.
LBSU Head Coach Alan Knipe became the fourth person ever to win a title as a player and as a coach. Fittingly, Knipe was part of the only two titles LBSU has earned. The other three people were Rod Wilde, Bob Yoder and John Speraw.
Entering the title match, Long Beach led the nation in hitting percentage at .377. UCLA held them below their average at .325. UCLA entered hitting .351 as a team, and LBSU held them slightly below their average at .328.
AVCA National Player of the Year and junior setter Josh Tuaniga of Long Beach averaged 10.5 assists per set all season. His 46 assists last night gave him an average of 9.1 for the match. Micah Ma’a, his counterpart at UCLA, had a season average of 10.56 assists per set, slightly ahead of Tuaniga. Ma’a failed to find as many terminators, finishing with 52 assists, which is a 10.4 assists per set average.
UCLA’s Four-Bruin attack was definitely evident, but not in the order of expectation. Hessenauer’s 12 kills kept him a full kill below his average, while Gyimah averaged 2 kills per set more in the championship than he had during the rest of the season. Arnitz (2.29 kps) and Missry (2.16 KPS) were right where their averages took them.
Setter Micah Ma’a led the Bruins in blocks on the night with 5. This was the only time all season that Ma’a led the Bruins in blocking.
UCLA finished almost a full kill per set below their average of 13.11. Their 62 kills averages to 12.4 per set.
UCLA middle blocker Gyimah hit .375 in the match—nearly 170 points lower than his average.
UCLA did not have a single full-time player average more than 1.8 digs per set. However, both JT Hatch (11 digs) and Christian Hessenauer (10 digs) did so Saturday night.
Long Beach graduates 5, only one of which (Huus) was a full-time player.
UCLA also graduates 5, but 4 (Martin, Hatch, Hessenauer and Arnitz) were regular players. All five played in the National Championship Saturday night.
Leave a Reply