SandCats drop four consecutive games on their third California road trip
This weekend was everything that Arizona beach volleyball did not hope for. After losing back-to-back games on the first day of the Pac-12 South Invitational to UCLA and Stanford, the team was not able to recuperate in time for the second day against USC and Cal, dropping both games.
This weekend’s tournament was a true test for Arizona, as they played against four nationally-ranked opponents. Their performance this weekend proved that some changes need to be made in order to be in solid contention for a national title in the near future.
After losing every game this weekend, Arizona moves down to 9-7 on the season.
Arizona’s only win against No. 4 USC came from the tandem of Jonny Baham and Brooke Burling. They dropped the first set against Trojans Cammie Dorn and Maja Kaiser 11-21, but came back in the second set to win 21-19. In a neck-to-neck third set, they were able to come out victorious with a 16-14 win.
The other four matches were a different story for Arizona.
The top-ranked pair Natalie Anselmo and Olivia Macdonald got their third loss of the season and second of the weekend from USC’s top-ranked pair Abril Bustamante and Tina Graudina. They were swept in two sets, losing 21-9 and 25-23.
The No. 3, Makenna Martin/Mia Mason and No. 4 team Hailey Devlin/Stephany Purdue, were able to prolong their matches to three sets but were not able to come out on top by the end of it. Martin and Mason won their first set 21-18, but lost their second and third sets, 21-16 and 15-9, respectively. Devlin and Purdue won their first set 21-13, but losing their second and third sets, 21-12 and 15-9, respectively.
Arizona’s second game of the day against No. 16 Cal showed the SandCats’ fatigue from being on a long roadtrip. Their past three tournaments have been in California, meaning the team has run into a different style of play than they're used to.
The SandCats’ No. 2 team, Olivia Hallaran and Kacey Nady, was the only team to get a point for Arizona in their game against Cal. They beat Cal’s Jessica Gaffney and Iya Lindahl in a two-set sweep (25-23 and 21-19), but that was not enough to get the overall win for the game.
Cal’s No. 1 pair, Alexia Inman and Mima Mirkovic, brought upon Macdonald and Anselmo’s fourth loss of the season as a pair, all of them being on the road in California.
Arizona’s Jonny Baham and Brooke Burling were shut out in a two-set sweep against Cal’s Grace Campbell and Madison Micheletti (21-15 and 21-9).
Baham and Burling went 2-2 on the tournament, losing their first and last matches to UCLA and Cal, respectively.
Catch the ‘Cats back in action again on Friday, March 30 at 9 a.m. PST against Texas A&M – Kingsville and against LSU at 2 p.m. PST that same day in Baton Rouge, La.
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