Long Beach State faced the number one seed the University of California Los Angeles in the semifinal for the NCAA Championship at Eagle Bank Arena losing in a straight set and ending the season.
In the first set, LBSU lost 25-16 hitting 0.2% compared to a Bruins team that hit .333%. Simon Torwie led The Beach in hitting percentage averaging .600% as well as blocks with three during the contest.
“It was a tough match it took us a lot of time to get going,” head coach Alan Knipe said. “It was an uncomfortable match a lot of it due to how well UCLA played.”
In the second set, The Beach improved on its hitting percentage which was not enough as LBSU lost the set by an even steeper scoreline falling 25-14.
In the third set, The Beach saw more improvement in their hitting percentage hitting .355% but lost the set and game on attacking error as it finished 25-19 eliminating The Beach from the NCAA tournament a stage before the final.
Redshirt senior outside hitter Spencer Olivier had a total of seven kills and two errors in 14 total attempts hitting .357% on the night.
“They started hot and we started slow,” Olivier said. “I knew I had to flip something.”
At the end of the match, the Bruins topped almost all the categories from points, assists, kills, aces, and digs but The Beach had one more block than UCLA.
LBSU came into this match after defeating Grand Canyon University on Tuesday 3-1 and finishing the season with a (21-5) record. Junior opposite hitter Simon Torwie played a big role for The Beach all season as he came into the tournament as the number one blocker in the nation averaging 1.6 blocks per set putting LBSU at number two overall right under UCLA.
For two of the seniors, the match was the last of their collegiate careers with Olivier and middle blocker Shane Holdaway bowing out on their time at The Beach. Holdaway and Olivier both spent the last six years with the program having been to the Final Four three times in their career.
“I absolutely love this group,” Holdaway said. “Each team has been just so different in the dynamic of it and there’s absolutely nothing that could ever replace the bonds that you build with your teammates and your coaches.”
The last four teams remaining in the final four have been the top four teams throughout the season.
“To find ourselves back in the final four for the seventh time in eight years I couldn’t be prouder,” Knipe said.