No.1 Long Beach State defeats No.6 Ohio State and will take on No. 3 UCLA for National Championship.
No. 1 Long Beach State (27-1) defeated two-time defending National Champions, No. 6 Ohio State (25-6) at Pauley Pavilion in Westwood Thursday night to advance to their first National Championship match since 2004. Although on paper it looks like LBSU won by a landslide [25-22, 25-23, 25-27, 32-30], it was anything but a cakewalk for the Beach. After edging the Buckeyes 25-22 in the first set, Long Beach State fell behind early in the second set 5-1 before their veterans took over to win the second set. Long Beach State let the third set slip away before finally putting the Buckeyes away in the fourth and final set of the opening round in the Final Four.
Junior opposite, Kyle Ensing, had 20 kills to go along with junior outside hitter, TJ DeFalco’s 16 kills, both of which posted double-doubles in the semi-final match. Junior setter and National Player of the Year, Josh Tuaniga had 42 assists during the match and also had five kills to propel the Beach into the next round.
After previously losing to Ohio State the last two seasons, the Beach’s experience took over and they were finally able to get over the hump.
Long Beach State is 1-5 in its previous National Championship appearances, winning its only title 27 years ago in 1991, defeating USC. The Beach will look to turn that record around when they face No.3 UCLA, the host of the Final Four tournament, on Saturday, May 5 at 4 p.m. Long Beach State won both regular-season meetings against the Bruins, winning 3-1 in each match and they are hoping to celebrate Cinco de Mayo by winning a third against UCLA and hoisting the National Championship Trophy in UCLA’s home arena.
Long Beach State fans can catch the match on ESPN 2.