FROM LBSU REPORTS
The Long Beach State men’s golf, women’s water polo and beach volleyball were honored on Thursday after softball and men’s volleyball won awards earlier this week.
Junior Joe Fryer was named the Big West Men’s Golfer of the Month for March after two top ten finishes, including winning the Sacramento State Invitational.
Fryer shot a 6-under 210 over 54 holes as the Valley Hi Country Club on the way to his second career win, propelled by an outstanding final round. The junior shot a five-under 67 on the final day of the tournament, charging up the leaderboard for the win.
He then finished in the Top 10 at the GCU Invitational, shooting a 2-under 211 with rounds of 71 and 72 before another strong finish with a 68 on the final day. Fryer has now won the Big West Golfer of the Month twice this year, earning the distinction in September as well.
Assistant coach Kristian Kuld was named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association “Thirty Under 30” list of coaches to watch for 2018. Kuld has been an assistant with the Beach for the last three seasons, and during that time has made two trips to Gulf Shores, and has finished in the nation’s Top 10 in each of the last three years. This season, Long Beach State is currently ranked No. 6 in the nation, with an 18-4 overall record.
“This award is really meaningful because I’ve put a lot of time and effort into volleyball, and recognition like this from a great committee is very flattering,” said Kuld. “I’m grateful that I’ve been surrounded by good people to help me get where I am today. In particular I’d like to thank Mike Campbell and Joy McKienzie-Fuerbringer for giving me the opportunity to coach at this great institution.”
Kuld played collegiately at UCLA before founding the Actyve Volleyball Club in 2014, where he now serves as a Co-Director and Head Coach. Under his leadership, Actyve has made six top five finishes in USAV/AAU Nationals or qualifier tournaments.
Women’s Water Polo
Senior Virginia Smith was awarded with her second career Big West Women’s Water Polo Player of the Week honor. Smith delivered a four-goal performance as LBSU defeated No. 19 Cal State Northridge 10-8 in a thrilling overtime match on Saturday. Along with her four-goal performance, the senior’s last goal proved to be the game winner. Smith also scored one goal as the Beach defeated Brown 10-4 on Thursday. With 25 goals on the season, Smith is currently tied for second in goals scored on the team with 25.
Long Beach State took two out of the three Big West Conference weekly awards as TJ DeFalco was named Big West Player of the Week, while Simon Anderson garnered Freshman of the Week honors.
The duo helped lead the top-ranked Beach to a pair of Big West Conference victories over then-No. 4 UC Irvine to remain undefeated as LBSU improved to 21-0 on the year and 6-0 in league action.
DeFalco captured his second Big West Men’s Volleyball Player of the Week honor after averaging 4.56 kills per set as he knocked down 22 kills against the Anteaters on Friday, before registering 19 in the rematch. The junior outside hitter also recorded 15 digs (1.67 per set), six service aces (0.67 per set), and 10 total blocks (1.11 per set) in an all-around effort. DeFalco finished the week hitting .329 (41-13-85) to bring his season clip to .402.
Anderson collected his seventh Big West Men’s Volleyball Freshman Player of the Week award after a pair of excellent performances against UC Irvine last week. The 6-foot-8 middle blocker hit .435 with 12 kills on 23 swings, while committing just two errors as the Beach extended their winning streak to 21. Anderson was also a force at the net posting six blocks for an average of 0.67 per set.
Cielo Meza led LBSU to a sweep of Hawai’i in a dominant week in the circle, setting a school record in the process to earn Big West Pitcher of the Week honors for the second time this season.
Meza made two starts against the Rainbow Wahine last weekend, and turned in a complete game shutout in both, going 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA over the weekend.
In her first start, Meza broke the school record set in 2008 by Brooke Turner with 17 strikeouts, scattering four hits on the way to a 6-0 win. One day later, she was dominant in a different fashion, pitching her third career no-hitter, and second this season, against the Rainbow Wahine, allowing just one base-runner via a walk.
The two shutouts pushed her total this season to eight, third in the country, and her 157 strikeouts on the year rank 14th in the country.
Meza claimed Big West Pitcher of the Week honors earlier this season as well after throwing her first no-hitter of the season against then No. 21 Minnesota.