GULF SHORES, Ala. — Friday’s first day of the the National Collegiate Beach Championship was anything but boring.
Not after eighth-seeded Stetson opened the NCAA action by stunning top-seeded USC and forcing the Trojans to play for their lives later in the day.
And not after second-seeded and defending-national-champion UCLA beat seventh-seeded Hawai’i 3-2, prevailing when the McNamara twins won at No. 1, 20-18 in the 15-point third set.
And not after Stetson almost did it again, taking fifth-seeded LSU — which earlier knocked off No. 4 Pepperdine — to the limit before losing at No. 5, 22-20, 18-21, 15-13.
And finally, not after UCLA — with all five matches going to a third set — swept Florida State to cap a near perfect weather day on the Redneck Riviera.
That shouldn’t be case Saturday and as a result of an expected bad-weather forecast for later in the day, the NCAA announced a new schedule, starting at 9 a.m. Central:
9 a.m. — Florida State vs. USC in an elimination match
10 a.m. — Hawai’i vs. Stetson in an elimination match
11 a.m. — LSU vs. UCLA with the winner moving on to Sunday’s final and the loser into Sunday’s elimination match
noon — FSU-USC winner vs. Hawai’i-Stetson winner
The results from all eight matches and video interviews follow.
UCLA’s McNamara twins, Nicole and Megan, grinded to two big victories Friday:
UCLA had to make a player switch before its second match. Lea Monkhouse was dehydrated and ended up in the hospital, so Madi Yeomans teamed with Savvy Simo and they won a three-setter against Florida State at No. 4.
LSU — now in unchartered territory — was an unlikely team to get into the winners-bracket match, but the Tigers prevailed at Nos. 1 and 5 as they’ve done all year, including when Allison Coens and Hunter Domanski won against Stetson.
Stetson was so close to becoming the story of stories — it became the first No. 8 to beat a top seed this tournament — and coach Kristina Hernandez knows Friday was special for her program.
USC was living on the edge and Haley Halgreen knows it.
And Hawai’i gets to fight another day.
Stetson 3, USC 1
1. Abril Bustamante/Tina Graudina (USC) def. Sunniva Helland-Hansen/Carly Perales (STET); 21-17, 21-12
2. Darby Dunn/Sammee Thomas (STET) def. Terese Cannon/Sammy Slater (USC); 21-19, 21-18
3. Ana Costa/Rachel Noble (STET) def. Haley Hallgren/Alexandra Poletto (USC); 21-19, 21-17
4. Joy Dennis/Maja Kaiser (USC) vs. Samantha Harris/Julie Varga (STET); 19-21, 19-17 susp.
5. Quinci Birker/Rebecca Ingram (STET) def. Cammie Dorn/Mollie Ebertin (USC); 21-16, 21-11
Order of finish: 1, 3, 2, 5