Sand Volleyball Collegiate Challenge

NCAA pairs gather at USAV-hosted events

Ed Chan
Brittany Tiegs and Karissa Cook receive serve in an “I” formation due to Tiegs’ back injury.

USAV brought together the sand teams from Pepperdine, Hawai’i, Cal State Bakersfield, Grand Canyon, and Cal State Northridge at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., March 14-16, to compete for the first of this year’s Beach Collegiate Challenge titles. Pepperdine, the 2012 national champion, crushed the duals competition, taking out Hawai’i, Grand Canyon, and Bakersfield 5-0. Hawai’i came in second with a 2-1 record, defeating Northridge 5-0 and Bakersfield 4-1, while Grand Canyon’s 2-1 record earned them third in the duals competition.

In the pairs’ competition on Sunday, the Waves finished on top again with the No. 2 duo of Kellie Woolever and Kelley Larsen storming through the 24-team bracket without dropping a set until they went to three with No. 2 duo from Hawai’i, Katie Spieler and Nikki Taylor, eventually coming out on top 21-18, 16-21, 15-10 in the final.

Both semifinals in the pairs’ competition were also contests between Pepperdine and Hawai’i with Woolever and Larsen defeating Hawai’i No. 1 duo Karissa Cook and Karlee Riggs. Brittany Tiegs, who usually competes with Cook at the No. 1 spot for Hawai’i, was sidelined with a back injury. Spieler and Taylor downed Pepperdine’s No. 1 Lara Dykstra and Becca Strehlow in the second semifinal match. The loss was a first for Dykstra and Strehlow.

Grand Canyon marked its first win over a Division I program at the Beach Collegiate Challenge (the Antelopes moved up to DI from DII last July) with a 4-1 defeat of Cal State Northridge on Friday. The very next day it added to that number with a 3-2 defeat of Cal State Bakersfield. (As of press time, the Antelopes had also defeated DI Arizona and Florida Gulf Coast and were 7-5 overall.)

USAV Beach Collegiate Challenge, Chula Vista: Duals Results

March 14
Grand Canyon def. Cal State Northridge 4-1
Pepperdine def. Cal State Bakersfield 5-0

March 15
Cal State Bakersfield def. Cal State Northridge 4-1
Pepperdine def. Hawai’i 5-0
Grand Canyon def. Cal State Bakersfield 3-2
Hawai’i def. Cal State Northridge 5-0
Pepperdine def. Grand Canyon 5-0
Hawai’i def. Cal State Bakersfield 4-1

Collegiate Challenge: Hermosa Beach

USAV hosted a second Beach Collegiate Challenge event in Hermosa Beach, April 12-13, featuring UCLA, USC, Pepperdine, Arizona, Loyola Marymount, Santa Clara, Cal State Bakersfield, and Hawai’i.

In the duals competition, the nationally-ranked No. 1 and No. 2 teams USC and Pepperdine blew through the rest of the competition. Pepperdine didn’t drop a single match in its three dual matchups, and USC lost only one, the No. 3 flight in the matchup versus Loyola Marymount (LMU’s Rachelle Suaava and Taylor Akana defeated USC’s Sam Hirschmann and Natasa Siljkovic 21-18, 6-21, 15-13).

First-year program Arizona struggled against veteran programs Hawai’i and Pepperdine but managed a couple good wins in the matchup versus Cal State Bakersfield. No. 1 duo Madison and McKenna Witt knocked off Bakersfield’s Molly O’Hagan and Debora Araujo, and the Wildcats’ No. 3 squad Sarah Seiber and Rachel Rhoades took a win in three over Julia Bowen and Lisa Bartsch of Bakersfield.

There were no surprises in the gold bracket of the pairs tournament, with No. 1 duos from Pepperdine and USC meeting in the final. USC’s Kirby Burnham and Sara Hughes took the win over Pepperdine’s Kellie Woolever and Kelley Larsen 21-15, 21-18.

USC also won the silver bracket with Alexa Strange and Kelly Claes defeating Hawai’i’s Katie Spieler and Nikki Taylor in a back and forth three-game final 21-13, 14-21, 15-13. Pepperdine rallied to take home the top prize in the bronze bracket with Victoria Adelhelm and Sophie Asprey taking down their teammates Emily Cook and Katie Messing.

USAV Beach Collegiate Challenge, Hermosa Beach: Duals Results

April 12

USC def. Santa Clara 5-0
LMU def. UCLA 3-2
Pepperdine def. Arizona 5-0
Hawai’i def. Cal State Bakersfield 5-0
USC def. UCLA 5-0
LMU def. Santa Clara 5-0
Pepperdine def. Cal State Bakersfield 5-0
Hawai’i def. Arizona 5-0
USC def. LMU 4-1
UCLA def. Santa Clara 3-2
Pepperdine def. Hawai’i 5-0
Cal State Bakersfield def. Arizona 3-2

Originally published in June 2014

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