The Long Beach State men’s volleyball team will travel to Columbus, Ohio to compete in the Ohio State Tournament Feb. 7-8.
Following Saturday night’s loss to No. 7 UCLA, the Beach will look to rebound in their first game of the tournament against Penn State Friday afternoon. The last time the teams played, in February 2019, the Beach won the match in three straight sets.
The closest of the sets was decided by a margin of four points, while the most decisive set saw the Beach win by 12. Outside hitter TJ DeFalco led the game in kills with 14 and setter Josh Tuaniga had a game-high 34 assists.
The Nittany Lions struggled to defend the net in the matchup, as they only blocked two hits and allowed 42 kills. A strong performance from Long Beach’s current middle blockers Simon Anderson and Shane Holdaway should give Penn State trouble, as both players had double-digit kills against UCLA.
The Beach will take on the host of the tournament, No. 15 Ohio State, Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. Last season when the two teams met in February, the Beach beat the Buckeyes three sets to none at home in the Walter Pyramid.
The closest of the sets was won by seven points, while the final set of the match saw the Beach win by the slim margin of only four. Outside hitter Kyle Ensing led the team in kills with 11 and DeFalco finished closely behind with 10.
Much like the Penn State game, the Beach will be on track for a victory if Anderson and Holdaway can put up a strong performance against an Ohio State backcourt that gave up 56 kills in their game against UCLA in late January.