Long Beach State Takes On Ohio State In NCAA Final Four
2018 Men's Volleyball Release No. 18 - Updated
Top-ranked and top-seeded Long Beach State battles Ohio State in the Final Four tonight as the NCAA Men's Volleyball Championships continue at Pauley Pavilion. Host UCLA and BYU play in the other semifinal match.
Beach To Face Ohio State In National Semi
Long Beach State will battle Ohio State in an NCAA Men’s Volleyball Championship national semifinal on Thursday at 5 pm (PT) inside UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion.
It is the third straight year the Beach have reached the Final Four, and the 10th time overall for the program. LBSU has come up short in the previous two seasons, falling to BYU on both occasions.
The top seed in this year’s tournament, LBSU is seeking its first trip to the national championship match since 2004, which coincidentally also resulted in a loss to BYU. The Beach also lost in the 1999 finals to the Cougars – at Pauley Pavilion.
LBSU won the program’s first and only national championship in 1991. The Beach are 8-8 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
To get to the finals, LBSU must topple the two-time defending national champion Buckeyes. The two programs have never met in the NCAA Tournament. The national championship match is set for Saturday, May 5 at 4 pm (PT) on ESPN2.
How They Got Here: Long Beach State
Long Beach State won the inaugural Big West Tournament on its own home court, extending the Walter Pyramid winning streak to 29 straight matches with dominant victories over CSUN and Hawai‘i.
The top-seeded Beach won their 18th and 19th contests by sweep in knocking off the fourth-seeded Matadors and second-seeded ‘Bows. The 19 wins by sweep is just one shy of the school’s single season record.
LBSU has maintained the nation’s No. 1 ranking for 14 straight weeks in the AVCA Division I-II poll. The Beach began the year with a program record 24-match winning streak, and have suffered just one loss this season, a five-set contest in Honolulu against Hawai‘i.
It is LBSU’s fifth trip to the NCAA Tournament under head coach Alan Knipe, the program’s 10th overall.
Congratulations Are In Store
Long Beach State claimed three of the top national awards announced by the American Volleyball Coaches Association this week.
Junior setter Josh Tuaniga was selected the 2018 TeamSnap/AVCA Division I-II Men’s Player of the Year, the fifth Beach recipient behind Brent Hilliard (1992), Paul Lotman (2008), Taylor Crabb (2013) and current teammate TJ DeFalco (2017). Tuaniga and DeFalco made LBSU the first school to win back-to-back POY honors since USC in 2011 and 2012.
In addition, Alan Knipe received USMC/AVCA Division I-II National Coach of the Year recognition, while Associate Head Coach Nick MacRae secured AVCA Division I-II Men’s National Assistant Coach of the Year laurels. The two helped lead LBSU to the inaugural Big West regular season and tournament titles, and have kept the Beach at No. 1 in the polls since Jan. 15.
Sixteen Big West Players Named AVCA All-Americans
➜ The Big West had 16 players named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division I-II All-America Teams on Monday. Long Beach State led all programs in this year’s class with four All-American representatives.
➜ Five players were named to the AVCA All-America First Team, including the Long Beach State junior trio of outside hitter TJ De Falco, opposite Kyle Ensing and setter Josh Tuaniga. Hawai‘i duo Stijn van Tilburg and Larry Tuileta also earned first team acclaim. DeFalco is a three-time first team All-American. Tuaniga and van Tilburg were honored as first teamers for the second straight year.
➜ A total of five players captured AVCA All-America Second Team honors, including LBSU junior Nick Amado and UC Irvine teammates opposite Karl Apfelbach and middle blocker Scott Stadick. CSUN senior Arvis Greene and Hawai‘i junior Joe Worsley also received second team recognition.
➜ Earning honorable mention AVCA All-American status were six Big West players – LBSU freshman Simon Anderson, UCI senior Aaron Koubi and freshman Joel Schneidmiller, UC San Diego senior Tanner Syftestad and Hawai‘i sophomores Patrick Gasman and Rado Parapunov.