No. 8 Long Beach State Sweeps No. 8 Southern California
Santa Barbara, Calif. - Senior Paul Lotman recorded 16 kills and Dean Bittner 15 to lead the Long Beach State (1-0) men's volleyball team to a 30-27, 30-22, 30-24 win over No. 8 USC (0-1) in its season opener at the UCSB Elephant Bar Collegiate Invitational.
Long Beach then fell in the semi-finals on Friday evening in four games to Alberta, 30-28, 30-24, 26-30, 30-24. The Alberta match will count as an exhibition match and won't count against the 49ers overall record.
Against USC, the tenth-ranked 49ers got solid play throughout the lineup. Freshman setter Mike Klipsch recorded 38 assists and the 49ers recorded 12.0 team blocks in the straight set victory. Offensively, Lotman and Bittner were complimented by six kills from Dan Alexander, five kills from Kyle Friend and four kills from Fletcher Anderson. Anderson had a team-high, and career-high, seven blocks in the match. Klipsch and Alexander both added four block assists.
Dustin Watten led the 49er defense with seven digs. Lotman and Friend each tallied five. Long Beach also recorded seven aces in the match as Lotman, Bittner and Anderson each recorded two.
In the opening game the 49ers jumped to leads of 14-9 and 25-19. After a mini 3-0 USC run, cutting the deficit to 25-22, Lotman got a big sideout with a kill and then the Trojans had a hitting error to give Long Beach a 27-22 lead. Lotman had eight kills in the opening stanza, while Bittner added seven.
Game two saw the 49ers jump out to an early lead again, this time 13-7. USC responded with a 6-1 run to pull to within 14-13, but Long Beach countered with solid blocking to take control of the game. The 49ers went on an 8-1 run highlighted by three blocks from Anderson (two solos, one assisted) and a solo block by Friend to take a 22-14 lead. In game three USC was up 7-4 before the 49ers used a 7-2 run to take an 11-9. The 49ers never trailed the remainder of the contest.
Juan Figueroa led the Trojans with 14 kills, freshman Murphy Troy added 12 and Andrew Vernon tallied eight.
The 49ers will play in the 3rd place match on Saturday at 4 pm against UC Irvine. That match will be played in Robertson Gymnasium on the UCSB campus.
Article courtesy of Long Beach State athletics.