- #1 Long Beach def. #4 UC Irvine, 3-1 (25-18, 25-21, 22-25, 25-20)
- LBSU improves to 21-0, 6-0 Big West; UCI drops to 17-7, 3-3 Big West
- Irvine, California
- Attendance: 1265
- Box score
IRVINE, Calif. – Top-ranked Long Beach State used 14.5 blocks to fourth-ranked UCI’s 8.5 to contain the Anteater offense and earn their second-straight victory over UCI in as many nights with a four-set win in Irvine (25-18, 25-21, 22-25, 25-20). Additionally, their win, combined with CSUN’s surprise loss at UCSB Saturday night, had the 49ers three full games clear of a second-place log jam with 4 conference matches remaining.
Long Beach was led by TJ DeFalco with 19 kills on .333 hitting. DeFalco also added 8 digs, 5 blocks and an ace. Kyle Ensing added 18 kills on .324 hitting. He also finished with a team-high 10 digs, 5 blocks and a match-high 2 aces. Ensing’s double-double was his first of the season and seventh career double-double. No other LBSU player had more than 5 kills. Nick Amado blocked a career-high 9 balls on the night. Setter Josh Tuaniga ran the efficient offense (.333) by dishing out 42 assists and narrowly missed a double-double with 9 digs.
UC Irvine, who had a career night from Aaron Koubi Friday night, got 20 kills from Karl Apfelbach on .306 hitting. His 5 blocks also led the Anteaters at the net. The 49er block keyed on Koubi all night, who only managed 10 kills on .148 hitting. Setter Dante Chakravorti distributed 41 assists and added 7 digs on defense. Libero David Parker finished with a match-high 13 digs.
LBSU finishes their season with a home-and-home with last-place UCSD and on the road at Hawai’i for two. One win clinches at least a tie of the inaugural Big West regular season title.
Courtesy of Long Beach State Athletics
IRVINE, Calif. — Redshirt junior Nick Amado had an impressive night at the net as he put up a career-high nine blocks, while junior Kyle Ensing added a double-double in top-ranked Long Beach State’s 3-1 [25-18, 25-21, 22-25, 25-20] victory at No. 4 UC Irvine on Saturday night.
The Beach (21-0, 6-0 Big West) turned in several strong performances in the match as they extend their winning streak to 21, just one victory shy of the program-record.
Amado was unstoppable at the net as he led Long Beach State to 14.5 total team blocks and helped limit UC Irvine (17-7, 3-3 Big West) to just .188 hitting. Joining Amado with solid defensive efforts were Ensing and TJ DeFalco, who posted five blocks each, Simon Anderson, who tallied four blocks, and Bjarne Huus, who added three.
In addition to a five-block effort, Ensing finished the contest with 18 kills and 10 digs for his first double-double of the season and the seventh of his career. He also hit .324 (18-6-37) in the match. Also in double-figure kills for the Beach was DeFalco who led the team with 19 kills, while adding eight digs. DeFalco posted a .333 (19-6-39) attack percentage.
Junior setter Josh Tuaniga was outstanding, once again, as he came up one dig shy of a double-double. Tuaniga finished the match with 42 assists and nine digs, while also contributing two blocks, one kill, and one service ace, while piloting the Beach offense to a .333 attack percentage.
Long Beach State started the match off playing well on all sides of the ball. The Beach’s offense hit .370 (13-3-27) in the first set and the defense held the Anteaters to a mere .061 (10-8-33) attack percentage. With everything working for the Beach, LBSU led most of the frame and cruised to a 25-18 victory.
The Beach went up two sets to none with a 25-21 victory in the second set after battling UC Irvine through seven ties and five lead changes. Despite the back-and-forth nature of the game, Long Beach State emerged victorious after breaking a 13-13 tie on a kill off the hands of Ensing. Ensing’s spike gave the Beach a lead it would not relinquish as they went on to take the second set by four.
The third set was much like the second in that the two conference foes battled each other through eight ties and two lead changes. However, UC Irvine was the team that came away with the win as the Anteaters used a 3-0 run to go up 13-10 forcing an LBSU timeout. The `Eaters came out of the break in action and tacked on more points as the hosts took an 18-14 edge before forcing a fourth set with a 25-22 win.
Once again the crowd was treated to another back-and-forth set as the two teams exchanged points early on. This time, however, it would be Long Beach State that would take a 9-8 lead on back-to-back kills by DeFalco and Ensing forcing a UC Irvine timeout. From there, the Beach controlled the set as they held the lead the rest of the way. The Anteaters stayed within striking distance, but LBSU went on to win the set, 25-20, to complete the four-set victory.
UC Irvine received strong showings from Karl Apfelbach who knocked down 20 kills on .306 hitting, while adding five blocks. Aaron Koubi added 10 kills, while Dante Chakravorti dished out 41 assists, and David Parker tallied 13 digs.