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Long Beach State Volleyball

PREVIEW: Long Beach State Volleyball Faces Hawaii in Big West Championship

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It couldn’t have been any other way. The two Big West historic powers, Long Beach State and Hawaii, will meet in the conference’s first-ever tournament tonight at 5 p.m. in LBSU’s Walter Pyramid. 

Long Beach State upset UCSB in five sets last night and Hawaii swept Cal Poly to usher the two into tonight’s Big West Tournament final–the winner will get an automatic NCAA Tournament bid, with LBSU looking for its first trip to the NCAA Tourney since 2014.

“We’ve been waiting 11 months for this,” said LBSU coach Tyler Hildebrand.

A large crowd is expected even with students being away for the Thanksgiving break, both because Long Beach is at home and because Hawaii travels so well. Both semifinal matches yesterday had approximately 2,000 fans on hand (final attendance numbers weren’t available).

There’s a deep history between the Beach and the Rainbow Warriors, who shared a conference for decades and who’ve met seven times in the NCAA Tournament (including Long Beach twice beating Hawaii en route to an NCAA title in 1989 and 1991). The two schools’ men’s programs have enjoyed a great rivalry recently as well.

Hawaii coach Robyn Ah Mow downplayed the history in previewing tonight’s match.

“It started from before, it’s (Hawaii coach Dave Shoji and LBSU coach Brian Gimmillaro),” she said. “Me and Tyler aren’t rivals, he’s a great coach. It’s going to be awesome. We’re in their home stadium, we have a good following, the crowd’s going to be awesome.”

We’ll have full coverage of the match this evening.

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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.