Long Beach State men's volleyball sweeps Belmont Abbey

No. 2 Long Beach State dominated in a three-set sweep against No. 7 Belmont Abbey in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Tuesday at Walter Pyramid. After the 25-18, 25-14, 25-11 victory, the Beach will face No. 3 seed Grand Canyon or No. 6 Ohio State in the national semifinal at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Long Beach State (26-2) overwhelmed the Crusaders with three attackers with double-digit kills. First-team All-American Sotiris Siapanis had 11 kills in 16 swings, followed by 10 kills each from Skyler Varga and Nathan Harlan. Harlan came one kill shy of his career high.

The Beach, which entered the tournament as the nation leader in blocks per set at 3.23, didn’t have a single block in the first two sets despite dominating both. The Beach finally got its block game going as setter Aidan Knipe and middle blocker Simon Torwie teammed to stuff Belmont Abbey’s Jibriel Elhaddad on the first point of the third set. The Beach never trailed in the last game.

Knipe, who was selected a second-team AVCA All-American for the first time in his career, had 37 assists and seven digs.

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