Long Beach State Volleyball

No. 1-Ranked Long Beach State Volleyball Sweeps UCSD

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The Long Beach State men’s volleyball team asserted itself as the best team in the nation on Friday night in an 85-minute sweep of UC San Diego that showcased how good the Beach is in every facet of the game. In front of 1,873 fans at the Walter Pyramid, the Beach led wire to wire and outhit the visitors .370 to .101 in a dominant victory, 25-17, 25-15, 25-16.

“There was just a lot of good in pretty much every area,” said head coach Alan Knipe. “We served well, had a lot of opportunities for our blocking defense, we passed really well, sideout at 76, 87, 75 percent those are big numbers. They outdug us but we had a ton of blocks and digs. At this point in the season I’m just really happy to see so much of the stuff we’re working on in the training gym transferring over into matches.”

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The Beach got great ball distribution form setter Aidan Knipe, who had 28 assists in three sets, with the team hitting .500 on balls he set. The Beach’s middles combined for 11 kills, and opposite Skyler Varga got 10 kills on the right. With 37 kills in the match that means the ball was moving around a lot and making it hard for the Tritons’ blockers to set up their defense.

“Aidan did a great job as far as balance, the middles got a decent number of sets and both hit well, really good balance front row and back row and both sides of the court,” said Knipe.

Both coach and setter acknowledged the importance of their team’s passing in making that job easier. The Tritons got just one ace against 12 service errors and and the Beach were in system almost the entire night.

“Everyone played well,” said Varga, who had 10 kills and an astounding eight blocks on the right side. “Aidan played great, it was good to see his one kill out there too.”

The Beach outblocked the Tritons 13.5 to 2, and were so well set up that on a few of Simon Torwie’s five blocks he just gently tapped the ball straight down because the hitter had seemingly given up mid-swing

The challenge for the Beach as always in the Big West schedule is a quick reset, as they head down to San Diego for the second match in the series this evening.

PHOTOS: Long Beach State vs UCSD Volleyball
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.