The No. 15 Arizona beach volleyball team faced its first big test on Sunday, March 21, in San Luis Obispo, California. They defeated Boise State by a match score of 4-1 yet fell to No. 5 Cal Poly by a match score of 2-3.
Match one: Boise State
The Sand Cats faced Boise State early in the morning, but Arizona was wide awake. Defenders Alana Rennie and Brooke Burling had the best outing against the Broncos. They defeated their opponents in two sets by scores of 21-17 and 21-13. Natalie Anselmo and Carly Lowry also finished in two sets, but their sets were much closer at scores of 21-18 and 21-19.
Blocker Alex Parkhurst and split blocker Sarah Blacker fell into a bit of early trouble, dropping their first set by a score of 18-21. The Sand Cats did not let the early loss phase them and were able to win the next two sets 21-18 and 17-15.
Blocker Mady Noble and defender Olivia Hallaran were also forced into three sets after dropping their first set 15-21. Much like their fellow Sand Cats — who also dropped their first set — Noble and Hallaran rebounded and won their last two sets 21-17 and 15-7.
Match two: No. 5 Cal Poly
After defeating Boise State, the Sand Cats looked for the sweep of the Cal Poly Tri-Match against one of the best teams in the country, No. 5 Cal Poly.
Lowry and Anselmo came out strong and won their first set 21-18. Cal Poly responded and defeated the Sand Cats in set two 16-21. It was all or nothing for the Sand Cats and luckily Lowry and Anselmo squeezed out a win in the final set by a score of 15-13. Noble and Parker also went three sets, but they too downed Cal Poly by set scores of 21-18, 17-21 and 17-15.
The Sand Cats only needed one more team to win their sets to remain undefeated, but Cal Poly dominated the remaining teams.
All three of the other teams were defeated in two sets. Blacker and Parkhurst lost 21-14 and 21-13. Burling and Rennie lost 21-12 and 21-11. The only Sand Cats who made their match competitive were Hallaran and blocker Shelby O’Neal. Their scores were 21-17 and 21-19.
This was the first match loss of the season for the Sand Cats, now with an overall record of 7-1.
Arizona will return home to Bear Down Beach for the Pac-12 South Invitational. The Sand Cats will face Stanford at 10:15 a.m. MST and Oregon at 5:45 p.m. MST on Saturday, March 27. Arizona will also face Utah at 3:15 p.m. MST and Arizona State at 4:30 p.m. MST on Sunday, March 28, to close out the invitational.
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