Long Beach State pin hitters too much for UCSB in series sweep

Photo courtesy of Long Beach State athletics

No. 3/2 Long Beach State showed once again why it has one of the best trio of starting pin-hitters in the nation.

Opposite Clarke Godbold along with outside attackers Spencer Olivier and Alex Nikolov all finished with double-digit kills as Long Beach State swept No. 6/7 UC Santa Barbara 25-21, 26-24, 25-22 on Saturday in Santa Barbara, California.

Nikolov finished with a match-high 17 kills, including having the game-winning kill in the second-game overtime. The freshman also led all players with eight kills in the final game to help secure the win and complete the two-match weekend series sweep against the Gauchos.

This was the seventh consecutive match that Nikolov had double-digit kills. In addition, Nikolov entered this Big West series leading the conference and fifth in the nation with a 4.20 kills per game average.


Along with Nikolov, Olivier opened the match with a game-high seven kills in the first game and ended with 15 kills on a .379 attack percentage.

Godbold hit a team-best .455 and contributed 11 kills with five of those kills coming in the third game.

Long Beach State (14-3, 3-1 Big West) out-hit UC Santa Barbara .350 to .263 with no other Beach players besides Nikolov, Olivier and Godbold having more than three kills. Setter Aidan Knipe finished with a match-high 41 assists and guided the offense to an errorless performance in the opening game.

All-American libero Mason Briggs defensively finished with a match-high 14 digs. Briggs ended the two-match series with a combined 27 digs and zero reception errors against the Gauchos (14-6, 3-2 Big West).

Outside attacker Ryan Wilcox in the loss led UC Santa Barbara with 10 kills but was limited to a .167 attack percentage.

Long Beach State with this victory moves into first place in the Big West, while UC Santa Barbara drops into a tie for third place.