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The 17-25, 25-20, 25-13, 25-23 victory marked LBSU’s first-ever MSPF championship title and earned the 49ers an automatic berth into the NCAA postseason.
Hawaii came out strong in the first set of the night, leading by as many as seven points at a few moments in the set, but in set two, one of Hawaii’s starting middles, Hendrick Mol, went down with an ankle injury, and did not return to the match. That seemed to be a turning point for the Rainbow Warriors, and Long Beach State turned up the heat, taking the next three sets and the match.
MPSF Player of the Year and MPSF Tournament Most Outstanding Player TJ DeFalco contributed 12 kills hitting .429 and led Long Beach with nine digs. Opposite Kyle Ensing led the match with 15 kills.
For Hawaii, Kupono Fey led with 14 kills, while libero Larry Tuileta scooped up 10 digs.
Hawaii now awaits the NCAA Selection Show, Sunday, April 23, at 1 PM ET, to determine whether it will receive an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament. Also in contention for one of two at-large bids are MPSF semifinalists UC Irvine and BYU.
Ohio State earned the MIVA's automatic bid, winning the conference title over Grand Canyon, and Penn State will represent the EIVA after defeating St. Francis in the conference final. Barton won the Conference Carolinas’ bid, taking down Mount Olive in straight sets in the championship match.