The No. 9 Arizona beach volleyball team is rolling with confidence as they defeated Utah 5-0 and Boise State 4-1 to win the Boise State Invitational on Friday, April 16, in Boise, Idaho.
The SandCats came into the invitational ranked in the top-10 for the first time since 2018.
Friday, April 16: Match one versus Utah
Arizona saw Utah earlier in the year at the Pac-12 South Invitational, where they swept them 5-0. Once again, the SandCats had no difficulty putting Utah away in two sets on all five courts.
On court two, defender Natalie Anselmo and blocker Carly Lowry got the SandCats off to a good start. They defeated redshirt seniors Keana Smalls and Olivia Teerlink in two sets by scores of 21-12 and 21-17. Split blocker Abby Russell and defender Hope Shannon also had a big performance on court four, defeating juniors Mia Kowalczyk and Joana Saucedo Mondragon in two sets 21-13 and 21-15.
The SandCats with the biggest win against Utah was blocker Mady Noble and defender Dana Parker on court three. Noble and Parker made sure not to give freshmen Hannah Stahle and Macy Rideout any life. The SandCats held the Utes to single digits in both sets, winning 21-7 and 21-9. This victory secured the match for the SandCats.
Defender Alana Rennie and blocker Alex Parkhurst still wanted to contribute over on court one, and they did. The SandCats downed freshman Marissa Koch and senior Sage Patchell in two sets by scores of 21-14 and 21-11.
The strangest victory of the day came from defenders Jonny Baham and Olivia Hallaran. After waiting a while on court five for an opposing team to show up, no Utah team ever did. Due to a team from Utah not showing up, Baham and Hallaran were awarded the victory by forfeit.
This also gave the SandCats their seventh sweep of the season and second against Utah, finishing the regular season against the Utes 10-0.
Friday, April 16: Match two versus Boise State
Much like Utah, the SandCats had seen Boise State twice earlier in the year. After winning both of those matches, Arizona was looking for the season sweep.
Noble and Parker picked up right where they left off earlier in the day. Freshman Sierra Land and redshirt freshman Katie Martin were no match for the SandCats, as they fell in two sets by scores of 21-10 and 21-15 on court four.
Split blocker Sarah Blacker and defender Brooke Burling participated in their first round of action in the invitational for the SandCats. They faced senior Sedona Hansen and redshirt sophomore Joey Benson on court two. Blacker and Burling overpowered the Broncos in two sets by scores of 21-13 and 21-10.
Shannon and Hallaran teamed up this time for the SandCats on court five. They faced redshirt junior Kylee Johnson and redshirt sophomore Ellie McDonald. It was no competition for the SandCats, as they defeated the Broncos 21-14 and 21-10. With this win, Shannon and Hallaran secured the match victory for Arizona.
The day still was not over, because Lowry and Anselmo were pushed to three sets by freshmen Kaylee Mejia and Rorianna Chartier on court three. After winning the first set 21-16, the SandCats dropped the second set 18-21. With Lowry and Anselmo both being fifth-year seniors, they used their experience and knowledge against the freshmen Broncos and pulled out a close win in the final set 15-12.
After a strong performance earlier in the day Rennie and Parkhurst struggled against redshirt junior Erin Martin and senior Evi Wilson on court one. The Broncos took the first set 21-15 and the SandCats roared back big in the second set 21-7. The third set went into extras, but Rennie and Parkhurst could not hold on and lost 15-17.
This was Arizona’s third victory against Boise State this year, winning the season series by a match total of 13-2. The SandCats also swept the invitational, making it their third invitational sweep and fourth consecutive invitational victory of the year.
Arizona will fly to Washington for the University of Washington Invitational on Sunday, April 18. The SandCats will face Washington at 10 a.m. MST and No. 15 Hawaii at 12:30 p.m. MST.
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