Long Beach State men’s volleyball came out of its bye week firing on all cylinders in a 3-1 victory over No. 12 Ball State, Friday night at the Walter Pyramid.
It was the Sotiris Siapanis show with the sophomore outside hitter having an all-around dominant outing posting a career-high 12 digs to go along with his 10 kills.
“Obviously, it’s a team that I know pretty well from my past experiences,” Siapanis said. “I follow my coaches extra instructions. I also like how they just give me sometimes the freedom to do my own thing.”
Siapanis is the only member of the team to have played the Cardinals in the past facing them three different times while at the Ohio State and setting his career high in kills on April 10, 2021, with 25 in a losing effort.
The Beach was able to pick up the first two sets convincingly as they held Ball State to under 20 points both times. It was LBSU’s attacking advantage that allowed them to take the sets outhitting the Cardinals by a .187% advantage, as redshirt senior outside hitter Spencer Olivier was the most efficient attacker early with a .545% leading both teams.
Olivier would finish the match with the most kills notching 16 and only trailed junior opposite hitter Simon Torwie in terms of attacking percentage.
“Getting those kills and having that happening isn’t just because of me,” Olivier said. “It’s also because of the setting.”
Distribution for The Beach was key with redshirt junior setter Aidan Knipe piloting the team to its impressive attacking figures with 48 assists.
He was the key to unlocking an attack that saw five players finish with double-digit kills on the night.
“When we pass the ball well it makes my life very easy,” Aidan Knipe said. “I’m able to run the offense that I want to run and tonight was one of those nights we passed the ball really, really well.”
Ball State had not played LBSU since 2003 and came into the game riding a four-match win streak that dated back to Feb. 18 against Purdue Fort Wayne.
The Cardinals would pick up the third set 25-21 after LBSU gave up some self-inflicted points as described by head coach Alan Knipe.
“I certainly liked the response of our guys in the fourth set, playing a really clean set,” Alan Knipe said.
That fourth set was the final one with The Beach dispatching Ball State 25-15 to complete a 3-1 victory just before the beginning of conference play.
Heading into the Big West stretch of the season LBSU is now riding a three-match win streak after dropping its only two matches this season on back-to-back nights against UCLA in February.
In its first Big West matchup LBSU will face UC Santa Barbara on the road before returning home the next day to play again at the Walter Pyramid on Mar. 11.
“We’ll prep for that this week and hopefully play better than we did tonight, next week, Alan Knipe said. “That’s the goal the rest of the season.”