Long Beach State 49ers Strike Gold in College Volleyball
May 10, 2018
Long Beach State University and UCLA played one of the most electrifying men’s volleyball games in NCAA history last Saturday inside UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion in front of a crowd of 7,248. The Beach won the match 3 sets to 2. The NCAA championship match featured 33 tie scores and 12 lead changes.
Long Beach was led by Kyle Ensing’s 20 kills, TJ DeFalco’s 18 kills and Josh Tuaniga’s 46 assists and five digs. Tuaniga, who is from Long Beach, was named the tournaments’ Most Valuable Player. His serving and overall court presence kept the 49ers from succumbing to UCLA’s relentless pressure.
The Beach won the first set 25-19 but the Bruins came right back and won the second set 25-23. UCLA won the third set 25-20 and a lot of people in Pauley Pavilion thought the No. 3 Bruins were going to upset the No. 1 49ers but the 49ers were able to win the fourth set 26-24 and that set the stage for the fifth and final set of the match.
The fifth set began with the 49ers taking a 1-0 lead and when the two teams reached the halfway mark of the fifth set the score was tied at 8-8. The score was tied again at 9-9. After that the 49ers pulled ahead of the Bruins 10-9 and they never looked back, winning the set 15-12 and winning their second national title.
They won their first championship in 1991 and their coach, Alan Knipe was a junior player on that team. The 2018 49ers finished the season with a record of 28-1 and the Bruins ended the season at 26-8.