The No. 1 Long Beach State men’s volleyball team continued its impressive undefeated start to the season as it swept Stanford 25-13, 25-17, 25-14 Friday at the Walter Pyramid.
LBSU (8-0) was carried by junior outside hitters Kyle Ensing and TJ DeFalco. Ensing led the team with nine (.333) and added five blocks. DeFalco collected eight kills of his own and hit a match high .889. DeFalco’s third kill of the game was also number 1,000 in his career, making him the 21st player in school history to reach that milestone.
“I had no idea,” DeFalco said. “I was as surprised as everyone else was, I don’t necessarily look at numbers. I just look at the teams performance throughout the season. I guess my reaction was ‘well that’s all thanks to my teammates’.”
Junior setter Josh Tuaniga led the match with 28 assists to go along with his match-high five digs and on the defensive end, freshman middle blocker Simon Anderson led the match with a game high seven blocks.
Stanford (1-7) played tough to start the first set and was even able to tie the game at 9-9. Long Beach would then score five straight points, highlighted by two kills from redshirt junior and middle blocker Nick Amado. The 49ers took command from then on and finished the set on a 16-4 run.
“I thought offensively we were really, really good tonight,” head coach Alan Knipe said. “I thought we passed the ball well. Josh [Tuaniga] did a great job of running the offense. The impressive thing on my end was the ability to keep the pressure on and not back off and self inflict.”
The 49ers defense proved to be big in this game as they collected 12 blocks against the Cardinal, with three players having five or more. Ensing and senior outside hitter Bjarne Huus each tallied five blocks.
“Those are low hanging fruit points in our sport so let’s make sure we gobble up as many as we can,” Knipe said.
Tuaniga continued to show his strong passing ability as he collected a game high 28 assist.
“I’m just stoked for my boys who pass the ball,” Tuaniga said. “They work really hard in the gym to handle those details and they did an absolute great job today putting me in pretty good situations to run those plays.”
With the win, LBSU moves to 8-0 and inches closer to tying the teams best start since 2008 (9-0). Next up for Long Beach is a match against No.13 USC Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Walter Pyramid.