Men's Sports, Men's Volleyball, Sports

LBSU beats Cal Baptist before facing nation’s best

The Long Beach State men’s volleyball team took down No. 14 Cal Baptist in four grueling sets Tuesday evening and will finsh the week by playing top-ranked Brigham Young on the road.

Junior Taylor Crabb continued his all-star play by reaching a career-high 23 kills and 12 digs, giving him his second double-double of the season. The 49ers (7-3, 5-2 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) also had plenty of help from Junior Dalton Ammerman, who compiled 11 kills, 12 digs and four blocks.

LBSU made a 6-2 run midway through the first set to give itself an early edge, but CBU (4-4, 1-2 MPSF) stayed within reach after capitalizing on four straight points. The 49ers then distanced themselves for a brief moment after kills from Ammerman and Crabb put them up 23-20 and forced CBU to take a timeout.

The timeout was followed by three straight Lancer points to tie it up. That gave them the home-crowd momentum they needed to finish off the set and take a 28-26 win.

The Lancers carried their momentum into the second set by going up 10-6 early. LBSU was able to battle back to knot things up at 17 though, and an ace from junior Connor Olbright and a set-ending kill from Freshman Taylor Gregory cemented a 25-21 win for The Beach.

Sets three and four were nail-biting affairs for both teams.

Set three had intense play by Cal Baptist’s Guilherme Koepp, who paced the Lancers with 21 kills and 10 digs, and Levi Cabral, who finished the night with 18 kills. LBSU found a way to match them point-for-point, however, and finished off the third set with a powerful kill from Crabb to earn a 27-25 win and a 2-1 lead overall.

In the fourth set, a double block from Gregory and junior Jeff Ornee gave LBSU the chance it needed to put an end to a Lancer comeback attempt. Senior Colton Echave’s kill gave the ‘Niners a 25-23 win in the set and sealed the deal with a 3-1 match victory.

LBSU will now shift its focus to Provo, Utah, where it will take on the nation’s top-ranked team.

No. 1 BYU (5-1, 4-0 MPSF) has been on bye after sweeping UC San Diego last week. Junior Taylor Sander is a standout on the court for the Cougars, as he averages 3.86 kills and 1.32 digs per set.

The Cougars rose to No. 1 by way of defeating defending national champion UC Irvine earlier in the season. In what proved to be the biggest win of the year so far for the Cougars, BYU took down UCI 3-1 in a match that likely had noise decibels reaching all-time highs in Smith Fieldhouse.

LBSU will look to filter out the noise that the Smith Fieldhouse is known for and pull off the upset. The match will be aired live on BYUtv and is set to start at 6 p.m.

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