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Long Beach State Volleyball

Long Beach State Swept Out of NCAA Final Four By UCLA

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The Long Beach State men’s volleyball team has picked up some signature postseason wins over UCLA in recent years. In 2018 the Beach beat the Bruins in Pauley Pavilion for the national championship, and last year Long Beach rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat UCLA in five sets in the NCAA Final Four.

This year? It was the Bruins’ turn to autograph their postseason with a big win over their SoCal rival. UCLA took care of Long Beach State in straight sets on Thursday night in the NCAA Final Four, sweeping the Beach 25-16, 25-14, 25-19.

The loss ends Long Beach State’s season at 21-5 overall with three of their five losses to the Bruins. UCLA will face Hawaii Saturday at 2 p.m. Long Beach time for the NCAA championship, in what should be a great contest between the top two ranked teams in the nation.

Long Beach led the first set 2-1 but led at no other time in the match, as UCLA hit an eye-popping .458 in the match and kept the Beach off kilter all match. The Bruins’ aggressive serving kept the Beach out of system, and while Sotiris Siapanis had 10 kill on 333 hitting, no other member of the team came close to double-digit kills. Spencer Olivier had seven kills on .357 hitting.

The Beach will return the bulk of their roster next year, with the NCAA Tournament set to take place in the Walter Pyramid, where the team won the 2019 NCAA title. The program had a record seven players receive All-American honors this year, and while Olivier and middle blocker Shane Holdaway graduate, the rest of them come back. Next year setter Aidan Knipe, libero Mason Briggs, middle blocker Simon Torwie, and pin hitters Sotiris Siapanis and Clarke Godbold (each of whom received All-American honors) will start the season with high expectations.

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Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.