LONG BEACH – The fourth-ranked Long Beach State men’s volleyball team turned in a stellar performance Friday night as the Beach swept No. 5 Hawaii (25-19, 25-14, 25-18) while never committing a reception error in the contest. Additionally, the Beach hit .534 and limited the Warriors to just .191 hitting in the match.
Long Beach State is now 6-1 on the year and 3-1 in MPSF action, while Hawaii falls to 5-2 overall and 0-2 in league play. The Warriors’ only two losses on the season have been to LBSU.
The Beach were on point the entire match as they committed just three attack errors (one in each set) en route to hitting .534 (34-4-58) in the contest. In addition to their hot hitting, LBSU was solid defensively as the Beach was perfect in the backrow collecting 40 receptions without a miscue for a 1.000 reception percentage. Additionally, Long Beach State posted 10.0 team blocks, while Hawaii was unable to record a block throughout the match.
The sophomore trio of Kyle Ensing, TJ DeFalco and Josh Tuaniga set the tone in the match with their top-notch level of play and intensity. Ensing led all scorers with 11 kills on 19 attempts without committing an attack error for a .579 hitting percentage. Meanwhile, DeFalco hit .438 registering seven kills on 16 attempts without an error. Completing the trifecta was Tuaniga who posted an attack percentage of .750 (3-0-4) and also did not commit an attack error in the match.
Tuaniga added 26 assists and four blocks, while DeFalco knocked down five service aces, while recording 12 receptions in the backrow. The defense was led by senior libero Andrew Sato who recorded five digs and 17 receptions without an error.
At the net, senior Amir Lugo-Rodriguez led the team once again with five block assists, while Tuaniga added four and Bjarne Huus put up three as well as a solo stop. Huus was also solid in the backrow with 11 receptions to help pace the Beach.
The first set started off with the conference foes trading points until they were deadlocked at 18. However, a 6-0 run by LBSU broke the tie as the Beach went on to win 25-19.
In the frame, Long Beach State hit .600 (13-1-20) as Ensing led the way with four kills and Tuaniga dished out nine assists.
The Beach dominated the second set, out-hitting Hawaii .400 to -.087 with a sideout percentage of 73 as they cruised to a 25-14 win. DeFalco notched a pair of service aces in the frame to bring his total to four, while Ensing knocked down four kills.
The third and final set saw Hawaii try to get back in the game as the Warriors hit .360 (13-4-25) for their best offensive performance of the night. However, the 49ers countered with a .565 attack percentage as they knocked down 14 kills on 23 attempts with just one error.
Long Beach State and Hawaii saw half a dozen ties early on, but the Beach went on a 4-0 run, highlighted by an Ensing kill, to jump out in front 10-6. With the lead, the 49ers never allowed the Warriors to come closer than two points, before the Beach closed out the set and match with a 25-18 victory.
Hawaii struggled offensively as the Warriors only had one scorer reach double-figures in Stijn van Tilburg (10 kills). Patrick Gasman led the team with a .727 attack percentage (9-1-11), while Jennings Franciskovic (19 assists) and James Anastassiades (14 assists) split setter duties.