No. 2 Long Beach State Rallies for Win Over No. 12 UC Santa Barbara


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Long Beach, Calif. - Dean Bittner recorded 24 kills and Paul Lotman added 20 as the second-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team rallied for a 30-27, 30-28, 28-30, 25-30, 15-13 win over 12th-ranked UC Santa Barbara on Saturday evening in the Gold Mine. The 49ers improve to 13-2 overall and 9-2 in the MPSF, while the Gauchos fell to 7-10 overall and 5-8 in league action.

Game five saw the 49ers rebound from a 12-9 deficit, to tie the game at 13-13. Lotman gave the 49ers their 14th point on a service ace and then Long Beach clinched the win as the Gauchos Jeff Menzel hit the ball into the net.

Long Beach hit .240 on the evening and were out-dug 48-to-32. Bittner hit an impressive .360 (24-6-50) in the match, but he was the only 49er starter to hit above .300. Setter Mike Klipsch had 53 assists on the night and the 49ers had 14.0 team blocks. Tommy Pestolesi led the way with seven blocks and Dan Alexander added six. Dustin Watten recorded 14 digs, his fourth consecutive game with double figures in digs. The 49ers also recorded 11 service aces, as Lotman had four and Bittner and Alexander recording three apiece.

For the Gauchos, Theo Brunner had 26 kills and hit .476 (26-6-42) on the evening. Menzel added 22 kills and six digs, while Mike Runkle and Phil Matthews both had seven kills. The Gauchos hit .286 in the match, but had only 9.0 blocks. Setter Vince Devany had 60 assists and eight digs. Libero Ben Brockman led the way defensively with 16 digs.

UCSB led in all five games, but the 49ers came from behind in games one and two to earn victories. Trailing 23-20, the 49ers tied the game at 26-26 and put things away with a Bittner ace, a triple block and a Gaucho service error. Bittner had six kills in the game as the 49ers hit .294. Game two saw Bittner record seven more kills. Long Beach trailed 23-21, but fought back to tie the game at 28-28. An Alexander ace gave Long Beach a 29-28 lead and the 49ers closed out the win on a UCSB passing error on a free ball.

In games three and four the Gauchos led throughout. Game three saw UCSB hit .444 (21-5-36) and build leads of 15-9 and 23-16. Menzel excelled with eight kills in the game. Game four saw UCSB jump out 14-8 and 26-19 before finally winning 30-25.

The 49ers will next be in action on Wednesday, March 5 when they host the University of the Pacific at 7 pm in the Walter Pyramid.

Article courtesy of Long Beach State athletics.

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