Men's Volleyball, Sports

49ers downed in five sets by No. 4 Stanford

The No. 9-ranked Long Beach State men’s volleyball team continued its struggles against conference opponents by losing in five sets, 18-25, 25-17, 22-25, 25-20, 15-12 to the No. 4-ranked Stanford Cardinal Friday night at Walter Pyramid.

LBSU (5-5, 1-4 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) has only one win against fellow MPSF members.

LBSU had swept the season series last year against Stanford including an upset in the MPSF tournament that spoiled Stanford’s hopes at a trip to the National Championship.

Stanford’s veteran outside hitter Brad Lawson had revenge on his mind when he posted a match-high 21 kills on a fantastic .360 hitting percentage. In 3 of the 5 sets Lawson went errorless, including Stanford’s spotless second set.

Sophomore Taylor Crabb paced the ‘Niners with 13 kills and 11 digs, posting his second double-double of the season.

On a night when LBSU needed him the most, senior Jim Baughman could not be found. Baughman was benched in the fourth set for freshman John La Rusch due to meager .036 hitting percentage including six errors.

“He was swinging, but they were just digging it,” said head coach Andy Read.

The most efficient part of the ‘Niners offense came from their middle blockers. Sophomore Jeff Ornee and senior Ryan Meehan combined for 20 of LBSU’s 57 kills and committed only 2 errors.

Meehan and Ornee continued to play well on the defensive side of the ball helping LBSU to their fourth straight game out-blocking their opponents.

Both teams traded points during the first set until two out of character attack errors each by Lawson and sophomore Brian Cook set up a 7-2 run by LBSU.

Stanford wasn’t able to recover and watched as one of Ornee’s 11 kills landed for an end to a quick first set.

The Cardinal were not to be outdone and proved to be resilient by putting up 15 kills and no errors on a match high .556 hitting percentage humbling LBSU in the second set.

LBSU answered by coming back in the third set to post their best attacking set of the night with 16 kills and 2 errors on .467 hitting.

Back-to-back kills by Ornee and Crabb put LBSU up 23-19 sealing a 2-1 set advantage for the Beach.

Again, Stanford would not go down without a fight. The Cardinal opened up the fourth set with an amazing six point run in which Lawson notched two of his four service aces.

The ‘Niners tried to recover but Lawson proved to be too much leading the Cardinal on a four-point run later on in the set to send the match to a fifth and final set.

Both teams traded points until Ornee seemingly blocked a kill by current MPSF player of the week Steven Irvin.

Ornee was called for being on the net costing Long Beach to go down 12-14 late in the fifth.

The final nail in the LBSU coffin was fittingly put in by none other than Lawson whose kills seemed un-returnable all match

LBSU must recover quickly as it faces No. 15 Pacific Saturday night. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. 

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