Beach volleyball sent home after 1-2 record in Pac-12 Tournament
Arizona beach volleyball traveled to Stanford, California with high expectations for the Pac-12 Championships. During the two-day endeavor, Arizona squared off against three teams: Stanford, Utah, and California. Much to the Sand Cats' dismay, they were sent home after only three games, dropping their games against Stanford (1-4) and California (2-3).
Arizona started out the tournament by squaring off against the host team, Stanford on Thursday, April 26. The Wildcats dropped their first game against the Cardinals by a score of 4-1. The only pair to get a point was the No. 5 pair, Caroline Cordes and Makenna Martin. The Wildcat duo swept Stanford’s Shannon Richardson and Blake Sharp, winning 21-15 in the first set and 21-17 in the second set.
The next four matches for Arizona did not parallel the first match from Cordes and Martin by any means. All of the other pairs could not hold on long enough for Arizona to get another point on the board.
Arizona’s No. 1 pair, Natalie Anselmo and Olivia Macdonald, dropped their match against Stanford’s Courtney Brown and Sunny Villapando. The Wildcat duo won their first match 21-18 but dropped the next two to lose the game (21-1 and 15-11), giving Stanford its fourth point of the game, more than enough to secure the win.
After losing to Stanford by a score of 4-1, Arizona dropped to the contender’s bracket, where it squared off against the Utah Utes for the second match of the tournament. Arizona and Utah previously met last weekend at Bear Down Beach where the ‘Cats won by a close score of 3-2.
Arizona’s performance on Friday, April 27 against the Utes looked a lot stronger, as it swept the Utah by a score of 5-0.
The Wildcats’ win against the Utes was spearheaded by a dominant performance from the No. 4 pair, Jonny Baham and Brooke Burling. Baham and Burling got the first sweep for Arizona in the match, defeating Utah’s Berkeley Oblad and Lauga Gauta 21-18 in the first set and 21-11 in the second set.
Arizona’s No. 2 pair, Kacey Nady and Olivia Hallaran, defeated Utah’s Bailey Choy and Tawnee Luafalemana 21-12 in the first set and 21-17 in the second set.
When the Utes and Wildcats met in Tucson last weekend, Arizona’s No. 3 pair dropped their game against Utah’s Melissa Powell and Kenzie Koerber, but this time the pair was able to get their revenge.
Hailey Devlin and Stephany Purdue beat Powell and Koerber 21-5 in the first set and 21-19 in the second set, to get Arizona’s its third point of the match, just enough to secure the win.
Arizona’s next, and final, match was against the Cal Bears. Arizona and California met twice before during the regular season, with each team getting one win. The matchup in the conference tournament was clearly a toss-up, but the Sand Cats could not come out victorious when it mattered the most, dropping the game 3-2.
Arizona’s game against the Bears was decided by the No. 2 pair, Kacey Nady and Olivia Hallaran. The No. 3 and No. 4 pairs got wins for Arizona, but the No. 1 and No. 5 pairs got wins for California, so the final point was decided by the No. 2 game.
The Wildcat duo lost their first set against Cal’s Iya Lindahl and Alexia Inman 17-21 in the first set, but they came back to win their second and longest set, 31-29. In the final set, Arizona could not hold on long enough and dropped the set 11-15, losing the game 3-2.
Arizona’s loss against California was enough to send them back home for good. After a subpar performance in Stanford this week, Arizona beach volleyball’s 2018 season came to an end, with a final record of 20-12.
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