The defending NCAA National Champion Long Beach State men’s volleyball program got its condensed scheduled underway last weekend by splitting a pair of Big West Conference matches with No. 3 UC Santa Barbara.
The Beach, ranked No. 10 in the nation, lost on the road but extended its 20-game home winning streak by beating the Gauchos in four sets on Sunday at Walter Pyramid. That winning streak is the second longest in school history.
Redshirt sophomore Spencer Olivier had a career night on Sunday as he notched a double-double with 16 kills and 17 digs. Both of those are career highs for Olivier. He hit .333 in the match and averaged four kills, four digs and more than a block per set.
Olivier wasn’t the only Beach player to notch a double-double as freshman outside hitter Clarke Godbold impressed in his Walter Pyramid debut with 13 kills and 13 digs. He also had two blocks. Freshman opposite Simon Torwie chipped in 11 kills, 11 digs, five blocks and an ace.
LBSU hosts UC Irvine on Friday night.
The Dirtbags season got off to a rough start in Hawaii where LBSU dropped three of four games. Freshman center fielder Connor Kokx was a bright spot all weekend with six hits in his 13 at bats and a .611 on-base percentage in the four games.
On Friday night in the season opener the Dirtbags were a strike away from a 2-1 victory when consecutive infield errors allowed Hawaii to celebrate a walkoff win— just like the Dirtbags did last year it their season opener at home. The errors wasted a stellar start from pitcher Alfredo Ruiz who gave up one run and struck out six in five innings.
Hawaii swept the Saturday doubleheader 1-0 and 6-4 to take the series. Freshman pitcher Luis Ramirez only allowed three hits and struck out eight in seven innings of the 1-0 tough luck loss. The Dirtbags pitching staff combined for an impressive 2.41 ERA in the four games.
“Hawaii was good but this was a good punch in the face for us and I felt like the boys reacted well,” Dirtbags coach Eric Valenzuela said. “But we have a ways to go. Friday night’s game was tough right off the bat. We will get better.”
The Dirtbags host Cal State Northridge this weekend.
LBSU (7-4) swept visiting UC Riverside over the weekend while Alyssa Gonzalez had five hits and four RBIs in the three-game Big West series.
Senior Suzy Brookshire set an LBSU record by hitting three homers in the final game on Monday in the 7-3 win. Kellie White improved to 4-2 in the circle with five quality innings in the finale that included six strikeouts and only one walk.
The Beach visits UC Davis for three games this weekend.
Women’s Water Polo
The Shana Welch era has begun at LBSU. The first-year head coach, who was an Associate head coach under Gavin Arroyo, has junior Elena Kotanchyan back after she scored a team-high 54 goals last season. Welch won’t have star attacker Orsi Hertzka, who is redshirting this season.
LBSU dropped its first two games of the short Big West schedule against UC Irvine over the weekend. The Beach is scheduled to play 11 games before the conference tournament starts on April 30. They visit UC Davis this weekend.
LBSU (4-6) won a pair of home matches last Friday with a 4-1 victory over Boise State and a 5-0 sweep of Utah. The wins snapped a five-match losing streak for the Beach. LBSU was able to secure both of their duals early taking the first three points of each match and only dropped three sets all day.
LBSU will take on Colorado Mesa and Concordia in Irvine on Tuesday before going to San Lois Obispo this weekend for the Big West Challenge.
Track & Field
The Beach is back in action and had a great showing in the field over the weekend in the Trojan Invitational at USC.
Senior Charlie Vernoy won the men’s discus with a mark of 56.49, just beating out his teammate, Alec Jones, who posted a personal best of 54.31 in second place. They are the top two discuss throwers in the Big West. Jones is last first in the conference with a 58.57 hammer throw.
“I’m happy so see us open (the season) with some good marks and consistent performances from the throwers,” said LBSU throwers coach Cory Loebl. “It’s been a long wait for them and they are very hungry for competition. We set some very high goals within this group and what took place today is just the first step toward reaching them.”
Porte Joie Tshiaba won the men’s high jump at 2.15m, which ranked third in the nation. Michael Magula won the men’s pole vault at 4.70m. Teammate Preston Sladek was just behind him in second with a personal best at 4.40m.
The Beach is back in action at the Bob Larsen Track Meet on Saturday in Los Angeles.
LBSU will be at The Goodwin golf course in Stanford for a three-day tournament that starts on Thursday.