No. 2 Long Beach State Volleyball Dominant in UCSD Sweep –


The562’s coverage of Long Beach State volleyball is sponsored by Naples Island Car Wash. to learn more.

Long Beach State’s men’s volleyball team looked like national championship contenders Friday night in the Walter Pyramid, in an impressive sweep of No. 10 UCSD. The Beach struggled to get into the rhythm in the first set but won it in extra points before settling in and sweeping the Tritons, 31-29, 25-18, 25-12.

“There were a lot of good things in the game, although it took us a little while to get started,” Beach coach Alan Knipe said. “Once we got out of that first set, I thought we did a good job starting to play volleyball. Now we have to turn it over and go over there and clean it up, we know we’re going to do our best there tomorrow night.

The beach is alone in first place in the Big West, a game without second place UC Santa Barbra, with the Gauchos in Hawaii this weekend for a pair of matches. Long Beach takes on the Tritons on Saturday night at 7 p.m.

Friday’s story was the continued emergence of 6-10 center tackle Simon Torwie, as the sophomore played with eight kills on 11 swings and seven blocks, as well as an ace. Torwie, who came to Long Beach State as a straight hitter, recently found his place in the roster in the middle and made the most of it.

“The support system around me is a big help, it’s really not just me,” Torwie said. “There are a lot of differences in blocking and in striking, so you depend on feedback from people around you because most of the things you need to change, you don’t know. I’m really lucky to have coaches who have played in the middle of our system and passers who know how to play with me.

Long Beach State hit .391 in the game and continues to run one of the most efficient offenses in the nation under passer Aidan Knipe; the team hit .608 on the balls he put down. Knipe said having midfield helps open things up for the three excellent range hitters: Alex Nikolov (13 kills on .667), Spencer Olivier (11 kills on .350) and Clarke Godbold (six kills).

“When our passing is like before and I can get a lot of attempts in the middle, especially for someone like Simon, it opens up (the back row), Clarke, Alex and Spencer,” Knipe said. “It paves the way for us to run whatever is most successful at the moment. We’ve come a long way this season, but there’s still a lot of meat on the bone.

Already a remarkably well-rounded team (they blocked 14 balls in three sets while hitting nearly .400), the range also receives big contributions from service subs. Calvin Sanborn came in and served nine times, three of them finding the ground for an ace. The service sub is a unique role in the sport, and one of the most mentally challenging – after long spells on the bench, rushing for a game that might only take seconds.

“It’s very difficult, it just doesn’t happen that you run out of the bullpen to throw a pitch, or your caddy hands you a club for a swing on a golf course,” said Alan Knipe .

Sanborn’s serve was difficult for the Tritons to resume, with a late move.

“I always try to stay prepared throughout the game,” Sanborn said. “Stay loose and warm, bring energy to the bench. It’s great to get him from the bench onto the pitch, I’m just trying to pull my guys in and do my job.

The Beach (17-3, 6-1) will return to action at UCSD tomorrow night and then host CSUN next Friday in a bid to potentially clinch a conference title.


Comments are closed.