No. 1 Long Beach State (26-3) vs. No. 4 Hawaii (26-4)
Date: Saturday, April 22
Time: 7 p.m.
Arena: Walter Pyramid (4,200)
Location: Long Beach, Calif.
Live Stats: BeachLiveStats.com
Radio Talent: Jacob Fisk
Live Stream: Flo Volleyball
Top-Ranked Beach Looking for First-Ever MPSF Championship
Long Beach State, which is both the top-ranked team in the nation and the No. 1 seed in the MPSF Tournament, hosts No. 3 seed Hawaii, which is ranked fourth in the AVCA Poll, in the MPSF Championship match on Saturday evening. Both the Beach and the Rainbow Warriors are vying for their first-ever MPSF title. The two teams will battle it out on the court on April 22 at 7 p.m. at the Walter Pyramid.
About The Beach
• The Beach have held steady in the No. 1 spot in the AVCA National Rankings after having won 19 of their last 20 matches.
• For the first time since 1991-1992, Long Beach State has posted a pair of back-to-back 25-plus win seasons.
• The Beach have won in straight sets on 20 occasions this season, marking the most three-set sweeps ever recorded in a single-season.
• 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 968 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 .494 (160-27-269) attack percentage all the while upping his career hitting percentage to .445 (493-115-849) to rank third all-time at Long Beach State.
• Sophomore setter Josh Tuaniga has totaled 1065 assists for an average of 11.21 to lead both the MPSF and the nation. Tuaniga has now accumulated a total of 2,429 assists in his career and has jumped into eighth place all-time.
• Amir Lugo-Rodriguez and Bryce Yould are Long Beach State’s leading hitters with attack percentages of .500 and .494, respectively. The pair are currently ranked fifth and sixth, respectively, in the LBSU single-season record book.
• Josh Tuaniga and Amir Lugo-Rodriguez both lead the nation as Tuaniga averages 11.21 assists per set, while Lugo-Rodriguez has posted 1.31 blocks per set.
• The Beach lead the nation with an impressive team hitting percentage of .371, which is the best team attack percentage in the MPSF rally scoring history.
• 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 has stayed in the No. 1 spot in the AVCA Division I-II Men’s Volleyball Poll after ending the regular season winning 17 of their last 18 matches. The Beach currently own a record of 26-3 and are on a five-match winning streak.
Hawaii comes into the MPSF Championship match as the No. 3 seed with a No. 4 national ranking. The Rainbow Warriors have held steady in the No. 4 spot after winning 21 of their last 23 matches. The ‘Bows also bring a six-match winning streak into the game against the Beach.
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 Rainbow Warriors
No. 4 Hawaii brings a 26-4 overall record into the MPSF Championship match. The Rainbow Warriors are riding a six-match winning streak and have won 21 of their last 23 matches.
When playing on the road this season, Hawaii is 7-4, and when playing Long Beach State inside the Walter Pyramid, the ‘Bows are 0-2.
Hawaii is 19-3 in three-set matches, 7-0 in four-set matches and 0-1 in five-set contests.
The ‘Bows are led in scoring by Stijn van Tilburg who averages 4.33 kills per set on .388 hitting. He also adds 1.20 digs per set to go along with 0.72 blocks per set. Jennings Franciskovic is the team’s setter as he has dished out 910 assists to average 10.22 per set.
Defensively, Larry Tuileta paces the backrow with 2.37 digs per set, while Patrick Gasman and Henrik Mol guard the net with 1.13 and 1.09 blocks per set, respectively.
Series vs. Hawaii
Long Beach State and Hawaii will meet for the 84th time in program history and the Beach hold a slight edge on the Rainbow Warriors as the own an all-time record of 42-41. LBSU swept the regular season against the ‘Bows earlier this year as they defeated Hawaii, 3-2, then 3-0, at the Pyramid early in MPSF action. The Beach have won the last four meetings with the ‘Bows as Hawaii is looking for its first win over Long Beach State since April 25, 2015.
News courtesy of Long Beach State Athletics.