- McMaster def. #2 Long Beach State, 3-2 (25-23, 19-25, 25-23, 21-25, 15-13)
- Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
- Attendance: 650
- Box score
HAMILTON, Ont. – The McMaster Marauders, ranked 9th in the most recent U SPORTS rankings in Canada, bested #2 Long Beach State in the finale of the weekend series in five sets Saturday night (25-23, 19-25, 25-23, 21-25, 15-13). LBSU lost the initial match of the series in four sets on Friday night.
The Marauders were led by Andrew Richards and Matt Passalent who pounded 17 kills each. Richards also had the match’s lone double-double by adding a match-high 10 digs. Peter Khodkevych added 9 kills on a team-high hitting percentage of .615 and a team-high 4 blocks. Setter David Doty ran the offense efficiently (.250) with 50 assists and added 8 digs to the defense.
For the 49ers, an improved offensive effort kept them in the match. LBSU was led offensively by Kyle Ensing with a match-high 22 kills, hitting .500 on the night. His 2 solo blocks and 4 total blocks were also team-highs. T.J. DeFalco added 17 kills for the visitors, hitting .452, and added 5 digs, 3 blocks and 2 aces for a well-rounded effort. Nick Amado also reached double-digit kills with 10, hitting a remarkable .692 and adding a team-high 4 blocks as well. Setter Josh Tuaniga ran the highly efficient offense (.358) with 50 assists.
The consistent tone of the match, however, were LBSU’s untimely errors. In all, 15 unforced hitting errors and 26 service errors (including set point of set 1 and four SE in set 5) had the 49ers playing catch-up throughout the match.
Courtesy of McMaster Athletics
Ensuring that fans got their money’s worth in the back half of their weekend doubleheader, the McMaster Marauders and Long Beach State 49ers took their match at Burridge Gym right down to the wire in set five, where the hosts ultimately edged it 15-13 to sweep the series in dramatic fashion.
Set scores were 25-23, 19-25, 25-23, 21-25 and 15-13 in favour of the U SPORTS ninth-ranked Marauders, who notched their fourth consecutive win over NCAA opposition this season with the victory over the second-seeded 49ers.
Long Beach State put up a consistent fight in defeat, and out-earned McMaster in both kills and points while posting a .358 hitting average versus Mac’s .250. But they were undone by their sloppy play from the service line, where the 49ers were a -24 on the night (two aces versus 26 service errors).
Serving as McMaster’s leading scorer on the night, with 17 kills and 19 points, outside hitter Andrew Richards (London, ON) sealed the match emphatically by wiping a heavy shot from the left off the Long Beach State block and long on match point.
Richards hit .294 on the night, and posted two aces and a team high 10 digs in an all-action performance, while teammate Matthew Passalent (Hamilton, ON) matched him with 17 kills on 36 attempts and was an efficient 36 per cent in attack.
The Marauders raced out of the gates in set one, sending the 49ers to an early timeout when they won seven of the first eight points of the match. That trend would slow, but McMaster still enjoyed a four-point lead at the technical timeout after Passalent dealt brutally with a high ball on the right for 16-12.
With a five-point lead and a magic number of just two at 23-18, McMaster appeared to have things wrapped up nicely in the first, before Long Beach State reeled off four consecutive points and sent the hosts to a timeout after a Brandon Koppers (Georgetown, ON) error for 23-22.
Mac recovered sufficiently after the break to see out the set, and took it after one of Long Beach State’s 26 service errors found the tape on set point.
There was little to choose between the teams early in the second set, until the 49ers pieced together a 6-2 run to power into the technical timeout after a kill from American international TJ DeFalco.
McMaster’s best look at a comeback came at 20-17, before Long Beach State embarked on another run, this one capped by a Nick Amado kill, to wrap up the set and level the match overall.
Returning to side-out volleyball in the third, neither team was able to truly impose themselves on the set, and when Kyle Ensing dusted off the overpass, the 49ers took a slender 16-14 lead into the technical timeout. McMaster clawed that deficit back quickly and proved the more opportunistic team at set’s end, winning it by the minimum when Richards blasted a cut shot to the floor through the seam.
The side-out trend continued in the fourth, where it was the Marauders who took a slim lead into the technical timeout after an Ethan Siegfried service error for 16-15. Long Beach State found a new gear, and real separation, after the break, reeling off a 7-3 run from 18-all to snatch the set and level the match yet again.
It was anyone’s guess as to who would take the decider as side-out volleyball ruled once more to open the fifth. But McMaster’s opportunity came on the eve of the changeover, where the Marauders pieced together a 5-1 run capped by a Richards ace for 11-7.
Long Beach State stormed back to within striking distance, but the hosts were not to be denied, and after a Peter Khodkevych (Woodbridge, ON) kill brought up match points at 14-12, Richards arrived to tool the final block.