2021 Big West Preview: Long Beach State

Photo courtesy of Long Beach State Athletics

Jonathan Bates / Brandon Johnson

With the first match of 2021 involving Big West teams less than a week away, Off the Block will be previewing each of the conference’s six teams. The Big West finished last year with the best non-conference record of any NCAA Division I/II conference, and currently have five teams ranked in both the AVCA coaches poll and the Off the Block media poll. Today, we preview Long Beach State, who was picked No. 5 in the conference’s preseason coaches poll.

Long Beach State

Final 2020 Poll Rankings: 4/4
2020 Record: 10-1, 0-0 Big West

2020 Team Stats Rankings
● No. 6 nationally in attack percentage (.325)
● No. 8 nationally kills per game (12.81 kills per game)
● No. 9 nationally in digs per game (9.60 digs per game)

2020 Individual Stats Rankings
● Middle attacker – Shane Holdaway – No. 5 nationally with a .496 attack percentage
● Libero – Mason Briggs – No. 13 nationally with 2.24 digs per game (1st in Big West)


2020 Individual Awards
● Libero – Mason Briggs (AVCA Second Team All-American, Freshman All-American)

2021 Preseason All-Americans
● Libero – Mason Briggs (Second Team)

Lost players from 2020 squad
● Setter – Carlos Rivera*
● Outside attacker – Mitchell Bollinger
● Libero – Grant Guinasso
● Setter – Gary Trejo


New incoming players
● Opposite/Setter – Nato Dickinson
● Outside attacker – Clarke Godbold
● Middle attacker – Matt Iamaleava
● Libero – Caden Jackson
● Outside attacker – Sebastian Rodriguez
● Middle attacker – Noah Robin
● Opposite – Simon Torwie

Returning starters
● Opposite – Simon Andersen
● Middle attacker – Marc Moody
● Middle attacker – Shane Holdaway
● Outside attacker – Ethan Siegfied
● Outside attacker – Spencer Olivier
● Libero – Mason Briggs

Returning Production
● Kills: 96.2%
● Assists: 11.7%
● Aces: 82.4%
● Digs: 76.8%
● Blocks: 79.3 %

Brandon’s Preview and Bold Prediction
Long Beach State enters the season with high expectations, bringing back nearly all of their offensive and defensive production. Libero Mason Briggs is a preseason All-American selection and middle attacker Shane Holdaway finished 5th in the nation in attack efficiency in 2020. However, with the loss of Carlos Rivera and Gary Trejo, the Beach will look to redshirt freshman Aidan Knipe (yes, that Knipe) to lead the way from the setting position. In addition to a strong, returning core, Long Beach State brings in a highly touted recruiting class that provides plenty of depth. Because of this, I expect to see Simon Andersen back in the middle attacker position where he has excelled in years’ past. If this is the case, Andersen should collect All-American honors and be one of the favorites for the Ryan Millar Award.