Men's Sports, Men's Volleyball, Sports

Special Issue: Behind the scenes of a championship team

Long Beach State hasn’t seen any one team execute a recipe for success the way the men’s volleyball team has since the late ‘90s. Coming off a national championship season, the team has shown the tools to outlast opponents and is poised to make another championship run.

The Big West Conference announced a partnership in December with Still Moving Pictures, a production company, to create a five-episode docuseries. Titled “LEGACY: Long Beach State,” the series offers behind the scenes exclusives from the team while chronicling its 2019 campaign.

The first episode launched Dec. 27, focusing on the team’s first official practice while featuring a sit down interview with redshirt senior middle blocker Nick Amado, detailing the team’s mentality on what they can do to build off the 49ers’ success.

“Putting our head down, going to work, spending the time getting better and understanding there’s a target on our back … playing with that pressure and finding a way to emulate that in practice so we can perform under that [pressure],” Amado said.

The second episode debuted Feb. 20 and showed the team’s performance with its three set sweep over UCLA at Pauley Pavilion Jan. 19, while also detailing senior outside hitter TJ DeFalco’s mentality leading up to games.

Olivia Phelps, director of communications for the Big West, pitched the idea to the Big West and Long Beach State. She said she thought it was an incredible opportunity for the Big West to showcase a defending national championship team, with five returning starters, including back-to-back national players of the year in DeFalco and senior setter Josh Tuaniga.

“I had the idea for a while and was excited to present the project, because I felt the collegiate volleyball community would be interested in the content,” Phelps said. “I worked with Steve Chen and Joe Hood on the details and they matched my level of enthusiasm, as did the commissioner Dennis Farrell, deputy commissioner Rob Halvaks and Long Beach State.”

Although the docuseries will serve as quality exposure for Long Beach, head coach Alan Knipe says the team has to remain focused on its opponents instead of letting it get to their heads.

“Those are good things for people to talk about. They’re good things for our fans and our alumni to follow and it makes for good excitement, but it has nothing to do with helping them as a volleyball team.” Knipe said. “ It could only hurt them if they let the noise get in the way.”

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