Alan Knipe, the men’s volleyball coach, will not be attending the Olympics in Tokyo, but he is enjoying the experience from afar. Taylor Crabb will compete on the beach, while TJ DeFalco and K. Ensing are on the United States men’s indoor squad.
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K. Ensing Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
Current LBSU assistant women’s coach Matt Fuerbringer will be an assistant with the men’s indoor team (Fuerbringer is the only member of the LBSU delegation who did not play for Knipe) and former players/assistant coaches Josh Tuaniga and Dustin Watten will be in Tokyo as the director of the USA’s beach programme.
“It’s a big source of pride for me,” Knipe remarked. When we bring these guys on board, we set the bar high and tell them to expect nothing less than excellence from themselves.
Being a professional, Olympian, or a world-class performer in some other sector is not out of reach. It’s heartwarming every time to see our team reach the summit of their endeavours.
- J. Ilardi Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
- X. Tang Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
- B. Surmeneli Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
DeFalco, a two-time National Player of the Year at LBSU, has been active with the national team since the summer after he graduated high school. For a generational prodigy like him, competing in the Olympics is the realisation of a longtime goal.
“I’ve wanted to do it for a long time,” DeFalco remarked. Present tense of “It’s finally here. It’s the highest level in sports. The opportunity has left me feeling both humbled and incredibly grateful.
One of his teammates from all four years at LBSU and on the national team now took a totally different route to the Olympics. While DeFalco has presumably been a top-tier volleyball player since he was old enough to watch, K. Ensing didn’t start playing until he was a senior in high school.
“Yeah TJ was born to be a volleyball Olympian, my narrative is a little different,” K. Ensing stated jokingly. After breaking both wrists playing football in high school, the athlete thought, “Maybe I’ll try volleyball instead.”
Despite having more than earned his spot on the national team, K. Ensing didn’t believe it until recently, even though he was a four-time All-American at Long Beach State.
“Alan really broke through to me about it” “Probably my junior or senior year,” he remarked. The simple aspiration to excel led me to where I am now.
Tuaniga, a National Player of the Year who also played on LBSU’s two NCAA championship teams with DeFalco and K. Ensing, is the final piece of the LBSU puzzle.
Tuaniga was brought in as part of the original three and is expected to play a significant role in 2024 and 2028 for the national team, but she is only an alternate this year after the setter position was locked down.
Nonetheless, LBSU Olympian David Lee (a three-time Olympian on the men’s squad) named him the “future of USA volleyball” after he played with the National Team earlier this summer.
Knipe is the quintessential “take it one day at a time” coach; he is not one to brag or plan ahead. While in high school, he and Hildebrand were able to gain promises from DeFalco, Tuaniga, and K. Ensing, and this made him a little too confident.
All three of them have the potential to go far in life, therefore he predicted that this would be one of the best classes in school history. Knipe is overjoyed that this day has finally come.
If you consider the teammates they’d have, the training they’d receive, and their particular talent and determination, “it was something I felt was doable for them,” he said.
You don’t get to control everything that will happen to them, whether it be injuries or a million other things that could throw them off course.
That’s where my pride comes from. To have accomplished this feat nearly brings a sense of relief. Seeing it come to completion is similar to the joy a parent feels at a child’s recital.