Long Beach, UCLA players team-up to win USA Volleyball championship

Two current college men’s volleyball player started their summer off-season winning a national championship.

Long Beach State All-American setter Josh Tuaniga and UCLA All-MPSF outside attacker JT Hatch helped Legion finish undefeated to win the USA Volleyball Open National Championships during the weekend in Minneapolis.

Legion went 8-0 to win the AA Men’s Division championship and lost four games throughout the annual national tournament. In addition, the team defeated the Southside Bangers 25-23, 23-25, 15-11 in the championship match on Sunday.

Tuaniga in his sophomore season with Long Beach State was the recipient of the 2017 Lloy Ball Award as the nation’s top setter. He also helped the 49ers win their first conference championship in almost a decade and reach the NCAA Tournament semifinals for the second straight year.

Hatch played at both outside attacker and libero during his most recent season with the Bruins. The incoming senior ended the 2017 season with a career-high .328 attack percentage and was in the nation’s top 50 averaging a team-high 1.67 digs per game.

The Legion roster was primarily comprised current and recent college players, including former Long Beach State middle attackers Amir Lugo-Rodriguez and Bryce Yould and former Erskine setter David Grandy.

The runner-ups Southside Bangers had roster mostly of former Lewis All-American and All-MIVA players. In addition, Long Beach State outside attacker TJ DeFalco, the 2017 AVCA National Player of the Year, was a member of the Southside Bangers.