The Big West Conference announced today a package of six men’s volleyball contests to air on ESPN3 and WatchESPN.
Tipping off the schedule will be the conference openers for No. 1 Long Beach State and No. 11 CSUN at the Matadome on Friday, March 2. First serve will be at 7:00 p.m. (PT).
Long Beach State welcomes back three AVCA All-Americans in its starting lineup to lead the charge in 2018. Junior outside hitter TJ DeFalco is the reigning TeamSnap/AVCA Division I-II National Player of the Year after hitting .389 with 3.99 kills per set in 2017. A two-time AVCA First Team All-American, DeFalco notched double-digit kills in 29 of 31 matches. Junior outside hitter Kyle Ensing made the second team list as he hit .335 and averaged 3.37 kills per set last season. Directing the offense is junior setter Josh Tuaniga, the 2017 national leader in assists per set (11.06), and an AVCA First Team All-American. The trio helped the Beach lead the nation with a .366 attack percentage. The Beach finished 27-4 overall last year under AVCA Coach of the Year Alan Knipe, and reached the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament.
With their No. 1 ranking, the Beach is the nation’s only undefeated team at 14-0, which is the second best start in school history. LBSU leads the country in hitting percentage at .419 with DeFalco and Ensing ranking in the top-10 individually.
CSUN returns an impact player on the front line as they aim to challenge for the top spot in the Big West. The Matadors boast senior opposite Arvis Greene, the program’s first All-American since 2010. He was tabbed an AVCA honorable mention recipient after averaging 3.99 kills per set last season. He ranks No. 2 in the NCAA in kills per set (4.54) currently. CSUN is 7-4 overall this season.
The package will then cover the inaugural Big West Men’s Volleyball Tournament, which will be held April 19-21 at Long Beach State’s Walter Pyramid. The quarterfinals open the tournament on April 19, with the semifinals on April 20. Each pair of games will air at 5:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The championship final will air April 21 at 7:00 p.m.
Men’s volleyball is in its inaugural season as the Big West’s 18th championship sport. The six member institutions have produced five NCAA national championships, 12 runner-up finishes and 28 Final Four appearances since 1970. UC Irvine won four national titles over a seven-year period, including 2007, 2009, 2012 and 2013. Since 2008, five of the conference members have made at least one appearance in the NCAA Championship.
All three games will also be available through ESPN3. ESPN3 is ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network, a destination that delivers thousands of exclusive sports events annually. It is accessible on computers, smartphones, tablets and connected streaming devices through WatchESPN. The network is currently available nationwide at no additional cost to those who receive their high-speed Internet connection or video subscription from an affiliated service provider. It is also available at no cost to U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers, smartphones and tablets connected to on-campus educational and on-base military broadband and Wi-Fi networks.
2018 BIG WEST MEN’S VOLLEYBALL SCHEDULE ON ESPN3
Friday, March 2
Long Beach State at CSUN
Friday, April 19
Big West Tournament Quarterfinals (Long Beach, Calif.)
5:00 & 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 20
Big West Tournament Semifinals (Long Beach, Calif.)
5:00 & 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 21
Big West Tournament Championship (Long Beach, Calif.)