George Mason schedules 2018 home match vs. powerhouse Long Beach State

George Mason more than 30 years after its first meeting versus Long Beach State will finally have a home match in the non-conference series.

George Mason coach Jay Hosack informed Off the Block on Monday that the two teams have agreed to play each other during the upcoming season on Feb. 10 in Fairfax, Virginia.

This will be the sixth all-time meeting between the Patriots and 49ers. Long Beach State after losing the initial meeting in 1984 has won the last five matches, including a home sweep against George Mason last season.

George Mason one-year removed from winning the EIVA championship and reaching the NCAA Tournament finished last season in sixth place in the EIVA. Among the starters returning for the Patriots, though, includes all-conference setter Brian Negron who spent the offseason training with the Puerto Rican Men’s National Team.

The defending MPSF champions Long Beach State enter the 2018 season as a member of the newly formed Big West men’s volleyball conference. The 49ers return three All-Americans from last season’s team that reached the NCAA Tournament semifinals — setter Josh Tuaniaga, opposite Kyle Ensing and outside attacker TJ DeFalco who was 2017 National Player of the Year.

Tuaniaga also guided the Long Beach State offense to out-hit George Mason .394 to negative-.149 in its non-conference victory last season.

This will be the fourth time since Hosack was hired as the team’s head coach after the 2015 season that the Patriots have played host to a West Coast school. George Mason in Hosack’s head coaching debut lost to UCLA and then later that season lost to UC Irvine in five games.

The match versus Long Beach State will be part of George Mason’s season-long eight-match home stand.

George Mason will open the home stand against Mount Olive on Jan. 19 before playing Pepperdine and Ball State the following week. It also will play the defending NCAA champions Ohio State on Feb. 3.