LA JOLLA, Calif. - UC San Diego was beaten by No. 4 Long Beach State, 3-0, in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) men’s volleyball match at RIMAC Arena on Thursday night. Scores were 25-11, 25-14, 25-15.
UCSD (2-20, 1-19 MPSF) surrendered a .582 hitting percentage, a season high for a Triton opponent. Long Beach State (16-6, 13-6 MPSF), which had dropped two straight, both on the road, completed its sweep of the 2014 season series between the teams, having also won in three sets in Long Beach on Feb. 21. The 49ers have taken five straight match-ups.
A Dalton Ammerman kill made it 8-3 in the opening set and led to the first timeout of the evening by the Tritons. After a 5-0 run made the visitors’ advantage a commanding 15-5, UCSD used its final timeout down 22-10. A service error ended the frame with the 49ers having tallied six of the last seven points.
LBSU showed even offensive distribution in the first game courtesy of senior All-American setter Connor Olbright, with all five starting hitters winding up with either two or three kills off of his 11 assists. UCSD’s senior outside hitter Mike Brunsting (Poway/Francis Parker School) led all players, however, with four kills.
A pair of early ties of 1-1 and 2-2 in the second set preceded a four-point run by Long Beach State that suddenly made it a 6-2 scoreline. That stretch included two kills and a block assist by reigning American Volleyball Coaches Association National Player of the Year Taylor Crabb. Another run of four points, with Olbright assisting three separate teammates on kills and adding a combination block with Taylor Gregory, stretched the lead to 12-6.
Despite a pair of Mathew Schnitzer kills, UCSD’s deficit stood at nine, 20-11, when it took its second timeout of the frame. Crabb’s seventh kill of the game and 10th of the night came on set point, with the senior outside hitter reaching double figures in kills for the 22nd time in 22 contests in 2014. Six of those kills came over the 49ers’ first 14 points.
Kirill Rudenko’s kill gave UCSD its first lead of the night to open game number three. The next four points in a row came from Long Beach State. Mini runs of three and four points meant 11-6 and 21-11 bulges for the 49ers. The latter stretch was followed immediately by four successive points by the Tritons, with a Brunsting kill, Johl Awerkamp ace, Rudenko kill and stuff block by Rudenko and Ganesh Elie. Up six at 21-15, LBSU called its only timeout of the contest, but then rattled off the final four points, three on Cody Martin kills before an attack error on match point.
Brunsting wound up with 12 kills to lead the Tritons, adding five digs to share the team high with redshirt freshman libero Tanner Howard. Rudenko had eight kills off the bench. Schnitzer came up with six. Junior setter Garrett Dempsey collected 26 assists and four digs.
Crabb finished with a match-high 13 kills, with Ian Satterfield joining him in double figures at 11. Neither player made a single hitting error, with Crabb attacking at a .542 rate (13-0-24) and Satterfield at .786 (11-0-14). The 49ers had just three hitting errors as a team (42-3-67).
Olbright produced a double-double with 32 assists and a match-high 11 digs, to go along with four total blocks. Libero Andrew Sato had eight digs and Jeff Ornee contributed a match-high six blocks.
UCSD hosts Cal State Northridge this Saturday at 7 p.m. inside RIMAC Arena.