Long Beach actually did it. I didn’t think they would pull it off. The 49ers looked tired, defeated and lost for most of the first set and the beginning of the second. But everyone was shown once again why there’s so much hype surrounding this team. The greatest dynasty this school has ever seen. Not just for success on the court, but the culture that the team has created for the city.
The city loves the Long Beach State men’s volleyball team, and the team loves them back.
A few hours after the game, wearing their championship shirts and hats, the team was able to recollect their thoughts and reminisce on the last few years.
“Everything that the city has done for us, its something I’ll never forget,” redshirt senior Nick Amado said. “Long Beach will always be my home, I’m thankful for everything.”
TJ DeFalco, Josh Tuaniga and Kyle Ensing sat together and for the first time in two years, they dropped their humble act and celebrated like champions. The trio went out on top as the best players in the nation on the best team in the nation and they knew it. Getting one to two percent better everyday finally paid off.
DeFalco and Tuaniga are household names for fans of volleyball, but also for everyone in Long Beach.
At the California Journalism Awards Gala held in Long Beach Saturday night, public editor of the Press Telegram Rich Archibald gave updates as the event went on. Bars like Legends and EJ Malloy’s held watch parties and hosted after party events.
Mayor Robert Garcia, do Long Beach a favor and give this historic team a parade through downtown or Second Street.
There may never be a team and recruiting class like this again. The 2019 class brought four years of greatness for a school that hasn’t seen much success in its athletic programs in the last 20 years. Another NCAA championship banner will hang in the Walter Pyramid, and this team will go down as the greatest in school history.
Kevin Colindres is a fourth year journalism major and has worked for the Daily 49er for two years. He started as a staff writer covering women’s volleyball, then became the Assistant Sports Editor and is now the Sports Editor of the Daily 49er. He has covered multiple Division I sports at LBSU including Men’s Basketball, Women’s Basketball and Women’s volleyball. He is a Los Angeles native and hopes to cover either the Lakers, Dodgers or Rams for the Los Angeles Times.