Friday was a good day for USA Volleyball.
Domestically, the inaugural USA Volleyball Collegiate Beach Championshps has moved into Saturday’s semifinals and some familiar names will be in the spotlight at Hermosa Beach.
And in Costa Rica, the USA took a big step toward qualifying for the FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship with a big junior national-team victory.
Collegiate Beach: It’s no surprise to anyone that top-seeded Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes, the dynamic pair from USC, are in the semifinals. But they’ll play the fifth-seeded Pepperdine pair from the NCAA season, Corinne Quiggle and former Stanford star Brittany Howard. During the college season, Quiggle and Howard played No. 2, so they didn’t face Claes and Hughes.
In the other semi, fourth-seeded Terese Cannon and Nicolette Martin of takes on a surprise medal contender in 17th-seeded Delaney Rohan and Chelsea Ross of Georgia State.
The men’s semis has Hawaii’s Brett Rosenmeier and Colton Cowell, playing UCLA’s Jackson Bantle and Hagen Smith, while USC’s Lucas Yoder and UC Irvine’s Michael Saeta plays another mixed pair and another surprise in Nathan Vander Meer of Davenport University and Logan Webber of Cincinnati Christian.
NBCSN will air the women’s final live Saturday from 6-7:30 p.m. Eastern, 3 p.m. Pacific, and immediately afterwards show the previously recorded men’s final.
USA women beat Cuba: The junior national team won 25-17, 25-23, 30-32, 25-20 Friday in the U20 Pan American Cup semifinals in San Jose, Costa Rica.
The Americans, 4-0 in the tournament, face Argentina in Saturday’s championship match.
The event is a qualification tournament for the 2017 FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship with the top finishing team from NORCECA and the top team finishing team from South America earning bids. The team is coached by Jerritt Elliott of Texas.
Thayer Hall, an outside hitter from Moore, S.C., led the USA with 17 kills and three blocks. Regan Pittman, a middle from Spring Hill, Kansas, had 10 kills and four blocks. USC outside hitter Khalia Lanier added nine kills, three aces and a block. UCLA outside Mackenzie May had nine kills, two aces and blocks and Brionne Butler, from Kendelton, Texas, and who will play at Texas, had seven kills without an error in 15 swings.
Argentina advanced by beating Puerto Rico 25-21, 25-11, 25-9.