Beach volleyball celebrates head coach's birthday with Friday sweep at home
Arizona beach volleyball gave head coach Steve Walker the best birthday gift he could ask for: two straight wins on a double-header Friday night at Bear Down Beach. Arizona’s two straight wins to open the Wildcat Spring Challenge were spearheaded by the performance of the No. 5 pair, Makenna Martin and Caroline Cordes.
No. 17 Stetson:
Martin and Cordes led the charge for the ‘Cats by breaking the 2-2 score after defeating No. 17 Stetson’s Quinci Birker and Rebecca Ingram. The Wildcat tandem dropped the first set 21-16 but rallied back to win the second set, 21-12. In the third and final set, Martin and Cordes were able to come out victorious by a score of 15-11. Their win over Birker and Ingram gave Arizona the final push that they needed to come out victorious against No. 17 Stetson (3-2).
Arizona’s No. 1 pair, Natalie Anselmo and Olivia Macdonald, could not pull through for the ‘Cats in their first match of the day against Stetson. They dropped their seventh match as a pair this season with their loss against Stetson’s Darby Dunn and Sammee Thomas (21-16 and 21-16).
Arizona’s No. 4 pair, Jonny Baham and Brooke Burling, continued to dominate the courts as a pair. They easily handled Stetson’s Lauren Durham and Julie Varga in a two-set sweep (21-15 and 21-9). Baham and Burling have been shining on the courts as a pair lately, getting big wins for Arizona against top-rated programs such as USC, Stanford and now Stetson.
The Wildcats defeated their rivals in a more decisive match (4-1).
Top-ranked tandem, Macdonald and Anselmo, redeemed themselves on the day with their big win against the Sun Devils in a two-set sweep against Kwyn Johnson and Mia Rivera (21-16 and 21-16). After their win against Johnson and Rivera, they move up to 15-7 as a pair this season.
The experienced, senior tandem, Stephany Purdue and Hailey Devlin, played as the No. 2 pair for Arizona, beating out ASU’s Sydney Palmer and Kara Woodard in a two-set sweep (21-14 and 21-15). Purdue and Devlin moved from the No. 3 to the No. 2 pair after their win against No. 17 Stetson earlier in the day.
The only pair to get lose against Sun Devils was UA’s No. 3 pair, Kacey Nady and Sara Watanabe. This is the first time they've shared the sand this season and they were swept in a two-set match (21-14 and 22-20).
“It’s always great to get two back-to-back wins at home,” Arizona head coach Steve Walker said. “We can’t let our guard down going into tomorrow, they [Cal and Colorado Mesa] both have excellent programs.”
With their back-to-back wins tonight, Arizona beach volleyball moves to 14-8 on the season.
The Sand Cats are back in action tomorrow morning to close out the Wildcat Spring Challenge against Colorado Mesa at 9:30 a.m. and again at 12:30 p.m. against Cal.
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