Men's Basketball, Men's Sports, Sports

No. 1 Long Beach State stays undefeated in sweep against No. 13 USC

Update: 1/29/18 at 2 p.m.

The No. 1 Long Beach State men’s volleyball team extended its winning streak to nine games after defeating No. 13 USC 25-22, 25-17, 25-16 Saturday at the Walter Pyramid.

LBSU (9-0) was led by junior outside hitter Kyle Ensing and senior outside hitter Bjarne Huus. Ensing had a match high 13 kills (.435) to go with seven digs and two blocks. This is his seventh time leading the 49ers in kills this season. Huus also added ten kills, four service aces, two digs and a block, which gave him player of the game honors.

“I think it reflects our practice,” Huus said. “I myself had a tough time serving in the first couple of matches, but [after] getting feedback from my teammates, I went back and changed some stuff and it was easy for me to go back and hit my serve tonight.”

Junior setter Josh Tuaniga led all players with 36 assists to go along with nine digs and two blocks. Freshman middle blocker Simon Anderson led the match with four blocks to go with six kills. Junior libero Jordan Molina led all players with a career-high 12 digs to go along with his three assists.

USC (3-5) put Long Beach on its heels to start the match, grabbing an early 15-11 lead in set one.

“Tonight’s match was a little bit different for us than normal this season,” 49ers head coach Alan Knipe said. “We were trailing a few points in the middle of the first set.I think we did a good job of not getting frustrated, and continuing to pass.”

Serves were key for Long Beach in being able to take the lead back and run away with the game.

“They were making a ton of effort plays,” USC head coach Jeff Nygaard said. “That’s a part of their culture, they expect themselves to go after those balls so they end up getting quite a bit.”

Long Beach scored multiple points off long rallies that had players from both teams flying all over the floor. One rally saw DeFalco fly into the scorers table for a one-handed over the shoulder save, which would result in a Huus kill.

“It’s what makes the game so much fun,” DeFalco said. “We practice for that. We prepare for that.”

The 49ers’ serves gave the Trojans trouble all night as the team would collect eight aces in the match.

“They were relentlessly bombing it,” Nygaard said. “That’s a physical team so it’s something you have to accommodate to.”

With Saturday’s win, Long Beach has tied the school’s best start since 2008 and is now 9-0, winning 20 consecutive sets. Long Beach will look to move to 10-0 at 7 p.m. on Wednesday when it plays Concordia at the Walter Pyramid.

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