No. 4 Long Beach State Sweeps No. 3 BYU
Long Beach, Calif. - In a match-up of two teams that were tied for first place in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) standings, it was fourth-ranked Long Beach State defeating the third-ranked Cougars of Brigham Young 30-23, 30-28, 30-27 in the Walter Pyramid.
Long Beach improved to 18-3 overall and 13-2 in the MPSF while the Cougars fell to 17-3 and 12-3 in league play, losing its second consecutive match.
Both teams entered the match ranked in the top four in the nation in hitting percentage, as both were well above the .300 mark. Long Beach hit only .282 in the match, but they limited the strong Cougar attack to a .237 hitting percentage.
The victory was the 150th for 49er head coach Alan Knipe, who is in his eighth year at the helm of the 49er program.
Sophomore Dean Bittner led the 49ers with 18 kills, four digs and five service aces while hitting at a .387 clip. Senior Paul Lotman added 18 kills and freshman Josh Riley tied his career-high with eight kills. The 49ers had eight service aces on the evening, while BYU had none. Defensively, Dustin Watten, Bittner and Mike Klipsch each had four digs and Dan Alexander had a match-high six blocks.
BYU was led by Andrew Stewart's 12 kills. Ivan Perez added 10 kills, but was well below his 4.38 kill per game average this season. They were the only Cougars in double digits. Perez garnered six digs and Russell Holmes had four blocks. Holmes entered the match leading the nation in hitting percentage at .474, but he hit just .091 in the match (2-1-11), recording just two kills.
In game one the 49ers trailed early, 7-2, but rallied to take a 10-9 lead. With the score tied at 18-18, the 49ers used a 4-0 run, highlighted by two aces from Bittner,taling a 22-18 lead. Long Beach, which won the game 30-23, had five aces in game one, four by Bittner. He also added six kills. Game two saw the 49ers rebound from a 27-26 deficit with a 3-0 run to take control at 29-27. The 49ers eventually won 30-28 as Lotman had seven kills in the game. In game three the 49ers trailed late, 26-25, but rallied again with three straight points to take a 28-26 lead. After a Cougar sideout, Long Beach closed the match with two kills, including a match-winner by Riley on a BYU over-pass.
The two teams will meet again on Friday at 7 pm in the Walter Pyramid.
Article courtesy of Long Beach State athletics.