It was another statement weekend for the Long Beach State men’s volleyball team, which posted dominant sweeps of Penn State and Ohio State in the Pyramid while hosting the AVCA Showcase. On Saturday evening in front of nearly 2,000 fans, Long Beach State swept the Buckeyes, 25-19, 25-18, 25-21.
To date, Long Beach State is 12-0 on the season and has dropped just one set.
“Tonight was two really good programs with great traditions,” said Long Beach State coach Alan Knipe.
Long Beach was humming on most, if not all, cylinders against Ohio State, hitting .475 while holding the Buckeyes to .250, with setter Josh Tuaniga spreading the ball out all over the net. Kyle Ensing had 11 kills, TJ DeFalco had 10, and four other players had four kills apiece. That total includes Tuaniga, who had four dump attempts and got all four to go down. Normally the quarterback of the offense, Tuaniga has been increasingly effective dropping the ball over the net himself.
“We’ve been pushing him actually (to do that more),” said Knipe. “It’s just too good of a weapon. It’s a little bit against how he’s wired, he’s not about Josh ever. But we want the defense to account for another guy, that helps everyone else.”
Louis Richard continued his excellent season with four kills on .400 hitting and six digs. More importantly he had no receiving errors. Because Richard was the only new starter on this year’s team, opponents have been testing him in serve receive, and he’s responded in the last few weeks.
The fifth-year senior said he’s happy with how he’s playing.
“Playing with the other people here at my position, guys like TJ and Bjarn (Huus), they’ve really pushed me to get better, I’ve learned a lot from them,” he said.
The road gets tougher this weekend for Long Beach State, as they host No. 4 UCLA in the Walter Pyramid on Saturday at 7 p.m., in a rematch of last year’s NCAA Final.