Long Beach St. upends No. 3 UCLA
LONG BEACH - No. 8 Long Beach State fought back from a 2-0 deficit to upend third-ranked UCLA, in a thrilling 19-25, 22-25, 25-14, 25-22, 15-13 victory Friday evening at the Walter Pyramid.
The 49ers avenged a loss to the Bruins earlier in the year at the Gaucho Invitational on Jan. 8, in which LBSU won the first two sets before ultimately falling, 3-2.
Long Beach State (4-3, 3-1 Mountain Pacific Sports Fderation) hit .301 on the match and was led by junior Jim Baughman, who had 15 kills and seven digs. Senior Josh Riley chipped in 14 kills and nine digs, while freshman Taylor Crabb finished with 10 kills and a .450 (10-1-20) hitting percentage.
Senior Mike Klipsch registered a double-double with 46 assists and 10 digs. Senior Antwain Aguillard also compiled a match-high nine blocks.
UCLA (6-2, 1-1 MPSF) opened the first set with a 13-7 lead. After the 49ers called a timeout, they went on a 6-3 run, capped by an Aguillard kill, to cut the deficit to 16-13. The Bruins then pulled ahead by six before LBSU scored three unanswered points to trail, 22-19. UCLA kept its composure, however, as an Aguillard hitting error ended the game in favor of the visitors, 25-19.
The Beach had 11 hitting errors in the first game for a negative .067 hitting percentage. UCLA, meanwhile, hit for a .346 clip.
In the second game, Long Beach State raced out to a 4-1 advantage after a double block by Aguillard and Kyle Friend. The 49ers stayed out front until UCLA fought back to take its first lead of the set at 17-16 on a Jeremy Casebeer and Thomas Amberg block. The Bruins eventually went up 24-20, but LBSU was able to hold off two set points, forcing UCLA to call a timeout. Crabb then missed his serve coming out of the break to give the Bruins the 25-22 victory.
The 49ers vastly improved their offensive efficiency, hitting for a .320 clip, but the Bruins also stayed hot with a .385 percentage.
Long Beach State started strong once again in the third set, going up 6-2 on an ace by Klipsch. After the Bruins pulled back within three, the 49ers used a 9-3 spurt, which ended on a Riley ace, to take a 15-6 advantage. LBSU cruised from there as a service ace by Aguillard kept The Beach alive with the 25-14 win.
LBSU hit a blistering .571 in the third set and held UCLA to a .130 hitting percentage.
The two teams traded points to start the fourth game until Long Beach State pulled out front, 9-6, on a kill by Klipsch. The 49ers went up by as many as five with an Aguillard kill giving them an 18-13 advantage. The Bruins then responded with back-to-back points to cut LBSU's lead to three. After The Beach used a timeout, a Riley kill ended the visitors' run and the 49ers finished strong as a Baughman kill closed it out at 25-20.
It went back-and-forth in the decisive fifth set before Long Beach State went up, 9-7, on a double block by Klipsch and Aguillard. The Bruins then responded with three unanswered points to take a 10-9 advantage. The 49ers quickly regained the lead after a Baughman kill and an Aguillard/Crabb block. LBSU eventually took match point on a UCLA service error and on the next play, Weston Dunlap hit the ball wide to give the 49ers the 15-13 victory.
UCLA hit .272 on the night and was led by Gonzalo Quiroga, who had a match-high 20 kills. Dunlap also finished with 14 kills, while Tom Hastings had 11 digs.
Long Beach State returns to the Walter Pyramid next weekend when it takes on MPSF foes Pacific (Jan. 28) and No. 2 Stanford (Jan. 29).