Coming in as the No. 5 team in the nation UCI was outmatched by the No. 4 LBSU men’s volleyball team Friday night at the Walter Pyramid after just three sets.
It was a strong showing from a team in form with LBSU’s last loss in a match coming at the hands of No. 1 Hawaii on Mar. 18 a series that was split after a Beach win the night before.
“There’s a lot of ways to score points, but it took everything,” head coach Alan Knipe said. “We have a ton of respect for them and a ton of respect for the talent they have on the floor, and I thought our guys did a great job of doing what you do and to respect that and dial in.”
In the opening set, LBSU flexed its ability holding the Anteaters to a zero attacking percentage after eight kills and eight errors. The set finished 25-18 in favor of the Beach and by far the most dominant of the three sets played.
Looking to bounce back UCI played a much better second set and kept the score knotted at 18’s before redshirt freshman Connor Bloom took over at the serving line. Bloom would lead a 6-0 run that concluded with an ace to really separate the two teams.
Though UCI got one point back once it was set point, the Beach would quickly wrap it up with a 25-19 finish.
The difference in play on this night was obvious with LBSU leading in every key stat and outhitting the Anteaters .276 to .116 in the attacking percentage collum. There was also an obvious advantage in the serving department with the Beach accumulating seven aces to UCI’s 3, and sticking to its moniker of the best blocking team in the country the Beach led with 11 blocks overall.
There were six different players on the Beach to record aces with sophomore outside hitter Sotiris Siapanis picking up a second.
Siapanis led the way for The Beach as he led the team in total kills, digs and aces.
“What I’m impressed with is that there’s no doubt that he’s a very very talented volleyball player there is not a skill on the volleyball court that he cannot do,” Knipe said. “But what I’m most impressed with is his ability and his maturity through the season into our system into our culture.”
On the blocking side, it was junior opposite hitter Simon Torwie leading the team with five blocks of his own.
Set three was the closest, but again LBSU edged out the Anteaters winning 25-22 and completing the sweep. UCI led at one stage 11-7 but couldn’t keep the lead as The Beach would eventually rally back and get out to a 22-17 lead before closing out the contest.
With it being the last home game of the season LBSU took the opportunity to honor its four seniors middle blockers Shane Holdaway and Grant Marocchi alongside outside hitters Calvin Sanborn and Spencer Olivier.
Marocchi was the lone senior to not make an appearance on the scoring sheet.
While Olivier led the way recording eight kills on 12 attempts not committing a single error.
“I feel grateful that we were able to get one of those top-5 matchups for our senior night it’s one of those things that creates an energy that you can’t really fake,” Olivier said. “Having some gratitude and really taking it in during that last set I was just trying to remember to stay present this is going to be the last home game I’m here.”