Long Beach State signs highly touted recruits from United States, Bulgaria

Photo by Fabiana Huffaker

Long Beach State is reloading once again with players who have national team experience.

The Beach announced this weekend that six recruits have committed to join the team starting in the 2022 season, including players from the U.S. Boys’ Youth National Team and the Bulgarian Boys’ Youth National Team.

“Our Long Beach community, campus, and athletic department are excited and ready to welcome these future leaders with open arms,” coach Alan Knipe said in a statement. “This group will bring a wealth of knowledge, both in the classroom and on the court. They have all had great success at the junior volleyball level, and some with their national teams at the international level.”

Dane Hillis, a 6-foot-3 outside attacker from San Clemente, California, was selected to the U.S. Boys’ Youth National Training Team earlier this year. He also was named to the All-Tournament Team at the 2019 USA Volleyball Boys’ Junior National Championships as his club team won a gold medal.


Kilstan Lawrence, a 6-foot-8 opposite from Ocala, Florida, has spent the last three years training with the U.S. Boys’ Youth National Team. In addition, Lawrence led both his club and high school teams offensively for each of the last three seasons.

Alex Nikolov, a 6-foot-7 outside attacker from Bulgaria, was third among all players at the 2020 CEV U18 European Championship with 110 kills as guided the Bulgarian Boys’ Youth National Team to a fourth-place finish. He also helped lead Bulgaria to three Balkan League championships.

Connor Bloom, a 6-foot-5 outside attacker from Huntington Beach, was a first-team all-conference selection and helped lead his high school team to a state championship. Along with playing three positions on the volleyball team, Bloom was a two-sport athlete playing as a quarterback on his high school’s football team.

Josh Rosenblum, a 6-foot-6 setter and opposite, was a three-year captain and starter on his high school team. Rosenblum also helped his club team win bronze medals at both the 2020 SCVA Qualifier and the 2020 Holiday Classic.

Calvin Sanborn, a 6-foot-4 pin hitter transfer, was a first-team all-conference selection during his freshman season at Santa Barbara City College, While in high school, Sanborn earned first-team all-conference honors during junior and senior seasons.

Long Beach State coming off back-to-back national championships finished the shortened 2020 seasons at No. 4 in both the national coaches poll and national media poll.