It was a Friday night block party hosted by the Long Beach State men’s volleyball team with its guest of honor, Cal State Northridge.
The 49ers (14-0, Big West 1-0) defeated the Matadors (8-7, Big West 0-1) in a three set sweep 25-14, 25-17, 28-26 as they debuted their new home court, a matte black floor with “BEΛCH” labeled on both ends of the court. Capping off the night with 9.5 team blocks, Long Beach made it difficult for CSUN to get anything going.
The 49ers had everything clicking in the first set. They were able to hit their spots, while also blocking efficiently, totaling 5.5 in that set alone. Long Beach hit .562 in the first while holding the Matadors to .000.
“It almost felt like a home opener because of the new floor tonight,” head coach Alan Knipe said. “The pyramid is always a great place to play, but what an amazing volleyball arena it was tonight.”
Senior opposite Kyle Ensing paced the offense with 12 kills, hitting .478 while also being a key factor with the team’s successful blocking.
“Coming into tonight we knew we were playing a good team. We always have to step up our game when we play anyone in the Big West, anyone in our league,” Ensing said.
CSUN showed signs of life in the third set, going back and forth with Long Beach. The Matadors were able to hit the spots they wanted, rattling the 49ers, but shot themselves in the foot with plenty of service and hitting errors that propelled Long Beach to a 28-26 with a final block.
“I thought our blocking was great, not only with the result of blocking the ball, but the communication with our blockers of what we were trying to do,” Knipe said. “Blocking is one of those things that can be kind of contagious once you get going a little bit and it definitely had that feel for a while.”
Long Beach is back in action Saturday 7 p.m. for a rematch against CSUN at the Matadome.