On a court filled with All-Americans, it was the first-year starting middle attacker Nick Amado who had a career night for No. 1/1 Long Beach State.
Amado led all players with a career-high nine blocks as Long Beach State defeated No. 4/4 UC Irvine 25-18, 25-21, 22-25, 25-20 on Saturday in Irvine, California, to complete the two-match series sweep.
The 49ers finished the conference match with a season-high 14.5 blocks — six blocks more than Anteaters. In addition, UC Irvine was held to a .188 attack percentage and failed to hit above .200 for the second time in the series.
All-American setter Josh Tuaniga in the victory guided the offense to a .333 attack percentage, including the 49ers hitting a match-best .393 in the final game.
Long Beach State had two players with more than 15 kills and a .300 attack percentage.
All-American outside attacker TJ DeFalco after having 22 kills in the series-opening five-game victory on Friday finished with a team-high 19 kills in the series finale. All-American opposite Kyle Ensing added 18 kills and led the 49ers with 10 digs.
Both DeFalco and Ensing also had five blocks agains the Anteaters.
UC Irvine opposite Karl Apfelbach In the loss finished with a match-high 20 kills on a .306 attack percentage.
Long Beach State with this victory remains the only undefeated team in the nation and expands its first-place lead in the Big West to three matches. The 49ers need to win two of their remaining four regular season matches to clinch to the inaugural Big West regular season championship and the No. 1 seed for the Big West Tournament.
UC Irvine following these two losses to Long Beach State now enters the final two weeks of the regular season in a four-way tie for second place in the conference.
Check out the video highlights of this conference match filmed by Off the Block associate editor Jonathan Bates.