Stijn Van Tilburg, Hawaii
April 20, 2017
Host: No. 1 seed Long Beach State
Walter Pyramid (4,200)
Long Beach, Calif.
Saturday, April 22; 7:00 pm (PT)
Live Video Stream (Flo Volleyball)
No. 3 seed Hawaii at No. 1 seed Long Beach State
2017 Series: Long Beach State, 2-0 (3-0 @ LB, J. 20; 3-2 @ LB, J. 18)
Note: Both Long Beach State and Hawaii will be playing for their first-ever MPSF Championship. The 49ers are 0-4 all-time in the MPSF Finals (2013, '06, '05, '04), while the Warriors are 0-3 (2002, '01, '95).
MPSF Semifinal # 1 Box: No. 3 seed Hawaii 3, No. 2 seed BYU 0
25-22, 25-23, 25-22
Recap by UH
LONG BEACH, Calif. - The University of Hawai'i men's volleyball team kept its bid for a first Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title alive with a straight-set semifinal win over BYU, Thursday at the Walter Pyramid. Set scores were 25-22, 25-23, 25-22.
The Rainbow Warriors (26-4) avenged two earlier losses to the Cougars to advance to their fourth MPSF Tournament title match, and first since 2002. UH will meet either top-seed Long Beach State or No. 4 seed UC Irvine on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. PT.
UH was led by senior outside hitter Kupono Fey, who matched his season-high of 16 kills, hitting .464, along with seven digs and four blocks. The Honolulu native came up big in the final set, tallying three late kills and his lone ace as the Warriors closed out on the match on a 10-4 run.
Opposite Stijn van Tilburg added 12 kills, four digs, and three blocks while middle Hendril Mol (8) and Patrick Gasman (5) combined for 13 kills without an error, hitting .684. Mol led the team with five blocks as the Warriors tallied 7.5 for the match. Setter Jennings Franciskovic dished out 38 assists and served two aces while directing the offense to a .429 mark.
Jake Langlois had a team-high 15 kills for the Cougars (24-4), who had swept the Warriors in two matches in Provo, Utah last month. Ben Patch added 14 kills while Brenden Sander chipped in 11 kills and three aces.
Set 1 featured 17 ties and six lead changes with no team holding a lead larger than one point until the final stretch. With the score tied at 21, the Warriors strung together three straight, which included consecutive Cougar errors. After a BYU point, van Tilburg put away set point giving UH the first set and snapping a six-set losing streak to the Cougars.
Set 2 was similar to the first as the teams battled back and forth for the first half of the frame. The Cougars took an 18-16 lead after a Sander ace but the Warriors responded with a 6-2 run for a 22-20 lead. BYU answered with three straight points but UH matched that run with three of their own to end it, capped by back-to-back blocks by Gasman.
UH took an 11-8 lead in Set 3 with a three-point spurt that included a Fey-Mol double block on Langlois. The Cougars rallied back and took an 18-15 lead with a 6-1 run spurred by three Warrior errors. Back-to-back kills by Fey tied it at 19 and another kill by Fey put UH on top for good. A Franciskovic ace put the Warriors on top by two and Fey's ace brought the Warriors to match point at 24-21. After a Langlois kill, van Tilburg ended it with his 12th kill.
Saturday's championship match can be seen online at FloVolleyball.tv and over the radio on ESPN 1420AM with Tiff Wells calling the action.
MPSF Semifinal # 2 Box: No. 1 seed Long Beach State 3, No. 4 seed UC Irvine 0
25-19, 25-22, 25-19
Recap by LBSU
LONG BEACH, Calif. -- The No. 1 Long Beach State men's volleyball team earned a 3-0 sweep [25-10, 25-22, 25-19] over No. 4 seed UC Irvine in the MPSF Semifinals on Thursday night.
With the win, the Beach advances to the MPSF Championship match on Saturday, April 22 at 7 p.m. inside the Walter Pyramid where they will face No. 3 seed Hawaii, which topped No. 2 seed BYU earlier today in straight sets.
"That was a great match and a very typical MPSF match against a great opponent," Long Beach State head coach Alan Knipe said. "UC Irvine is a great serving team, they have a lot of physical guys and they're well-coached. So we are certainly happy to get the win tonight. I thought our guys came out ready to play and were excited to play. I thought it was a high-level game."
The Beach improved to 26-3 on the year, marking the most wins since the 2004 squad collected 28 victories. Additionally, the 3-0 sweep over UC Irvine (20-7) is the 20th 3-0 victory of the year as the 2017 squad has now set the program record for most three-set sweeps in a single season.
"This is an incredibly close team," Knipe explained. "It's been a process over a few years to building that culture that we have here right now. The guys genuinely like playing the game and committing to getting better individually and collectively; and our coaching staff certainly enjoys coaching the game together as a group. I think that it shows because we're having a lot of fun through the course of the season."
Sophomore opposite Kyle Ensing was a key component to Long Beach State's victory tonight has he finished the match with 10 kills and a team-leading .529 attack percentage. He also added a team-best eight digs. Joining Ensing in double-figures was sophomore outside hitter TJ DeFalco who also recorded 10 kills in the contest. DeFaclo added four blocks, three digs and a service ace to his performance.
The Beach were solid at the net as they put up 10.0 total team blocks to the Anteaters' 3.0. Leading the way for Long Beach State was Amir Lugo-Rodriguez who posted a total of eight blocks. Lugo-Rodriguez finished the match with one solo stop and seven block assists.
Long Beach State started out strong in the first set as the Beach out-hit the Anteaters .571 (9-1-14) to .167 (10-6-24) and boasted a sideout margin of 85 percentage. Following a pair of early ties, the 49ers took a 3-2 lead on a DeFalco kill and never looked back. LBSU led the rest of the way as DeFalco and Ensing provided the offensive attack. Both were perfect through the first frame as they each knocked down four kills on as many attempts without committing an attack error. With everything working for the Beach, they came away with a 25-19 win in the first set.
UC Irvine tallied 12 digs in the frame, however, the Beach forced the `Eaters into eight attack errors for a .125 clip. The two teams battled through nine ties and five lead changes before they found themselves deadlocked at 21-21. LBSU took advantage of three straight UCI attack errors as the Beach pushed it to set point with a 24-21 lead. Long Beach State would eventually put the game away on another Anteaters' attack error, winning 25-22.
Long Beach State took a 2-0 set lead into the third set and went on to hit .207 in the frame, while limiting the `Eaters to a hitting percentage of .061. Much like the second set, the third set was a back-and-forth affair that saw eight ties and three lead changes. However, the final tie of the frame came mid-way through the set as Josh Tuaniga's service ace gave the Beach a 10-9 edge and sparked a 4-1 LBSU run which ended when UC Irvine called a timeout. Following the break in action, the Beach led the rest of the way and went on to win by a score of 25-19 to complete the sweep.
UC Irvine was led offensively by Tamir Hershko's nine kills, while Michael Saeta finished with 27 assists. Aaron Koubi and Dillon Hoffman tied for the team lead with six digs apiece.
Long Beach State will return to the Walter Pyramid for the MPSF Championship match on Saturday, April 22 against Hawaii at 7 p.m. Neither Long Beach State nor Hawaii have ever won the MPSF title before, so both will be fighting hard for the final championship before moving to the Big West Conference next season.