Long Beach State Volleyball

Long Beach State Tops CSUN, Advances to Big West Championship

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The top-seeded Long Beach State men’s volleyball team held off an upset-minded CSUN team in the semifinals of the Big West Tournament in Hawaii on Friday night, 25-23, 22-25, 25-20, 25-22. The Beach advance to Saturday’s Big West Tournament championship, where they’ll face the winner of UC Irvine and host Hawaii. The championship match will be at 10 p.m. Long Beach time on Saturday night, and will be televised on ESPN+.

“Thought it was a close first set and we executed really nicely to close that,” said LBSU coach Alan Knipe. “We were up around 20 in set two and they went on a 5-0 run which wasn’t good. That was the only stretch I didn’t like, didn’t like our response to dealing with their server.”

The Beach (23-2) are the Big West regular season champs and the top-seed for the tournament. They could punch an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with a win Saturday night–a tournament they’re hosting in the Walter Pyramid April 30-May 4.

Long Beach State outhit CSUN .358 to .252 and overcame several Matador runs thanks to timely hitting by Clarke Godbold (18 kills), Sotiris Siapanis (13), and Skyler Varga (12). The Beach outblocked the Matadors 11-3 including seven from middle blocker Simon Torwie. Setter Aidan Knipe had 42 assists and libero Mason Briggs had seven assists and seven digs.

Among the interesting dynamics on the island are that it’s not exactly a neutral court, with Hawaii fans rooting hard for the CSUN upset. Asked about the crowd, Knipe laughed and said, “There’s certainly not a lot of ‘Go Beach.'”

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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.