Sand Volleyball Reaches National Finals But Finishes 2015 As The Runners-Up
Long Beach State reaches the national finals against USC.
Gulf Sores, Ala. - Long Beach State defeated Pepperdine to reach the AVCA National Championship Match, but the 49ers' magical run at the tournament finally came to an end as No. 1 USC finished their season unbeaten, winning the national title over the Beach.
The 49ers had reached the winner's bracket with a pair of wins Friday against Hawai'i and Florida International, but was unable to reach the finals directly, falling 4-1 to undefeated USC.
Anete Brinke and Tyler Jackson picked up a crucial win for the 49ers, evening up the match at 1-1 with a 21-15, 21-19 win over Sophie Bukovec and Alexa Strange, as Brinke made six blocks on the way to the win, evening the score after Delainey Aigner-Swesey and Chelsea Cabrajac lost 21-19, 21-17 in the top flight against Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes.
Long Beach State dropped the fours match, but won the initial set at No. 3 and No. 5 as both matches went into a third set. The 49ers lost two close ones, however, as Eve Ettinger and Meg Norton topped Jenelle Hudson and Bre Mackie 19-21, 21-15, 15-13, and Jenna Belton and Bria Russ defeated Rachel Nieto and Sammee Thomas 13-21, 21-17, 16-14.
The loss dropped Long Beach State into the consolation bracket, where the 49ers faced off with (4) Pepperdine in the consolation finals.
McHugh and Wagner rebounded from their earlier loss to USC by getting a quick win against Sophie Asprey and Leanna Schroeder, winning 21-15, 21-14 in straight sets. That offset a loss at No. 3, as Emily Cook and Delaniey Knudsen defeated Hudson/Mackie 21-16, 21-17.
All three of the other matches went to a third set, but Aigner-Swesey and Cabrajac cruised in the third, winning 21-18, 13-21, 15-7 over Kelley Larsen and Kellie Woolever to leave the 49ers needing just one win to clinch a third trip to the national championship match.
The Beach got the win they needed as Brinke/Jackson defeated Lara Dykstra and Becca Strehlow 21-12, 20-22, 15-13 at No. 2, and LBSU advanced with a 3-2 win, setting up a rematch with USC.
Working through two high-pressure matches seemed to have drained the 49ers, who were playing their third match of the day to USC's second. Bukovec/Strange won in straight sets over Brinke/Jackson, overturning the result of the first match of the day.
Belton/Russ won in three sets over Nieto/Thomas for the second time on Saturday, winning 21-18, 17-21, 15-10 as the Trojans took a 2-0 lead in the staggered format.
A 21-7, 21-19 win by Claes/Hughes over Aigner-Swesey and Cabrajac finished off the match as a 3-0 win for the Trojans, who join Pepperdine (2) and Long Beach State as Sand Volleyball National Champions.
By virtue of reaching the team reaching the championship match, both Aigner-Swesey/Cabrajac and Brinke/Jackson have been automatically entered into the Round of 16 for the single-elimination AVCA Pairs Championship. That championship will be held in its entirety tomorrow.
(1) USC 4, (7) Long Beach State 1
1) Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes, USC def. Delainey Aigner-Swesey/Chelsea Cabrajac, LBSU 21-19, 21-17
2) Anete Brinke/Tyler Jackson, LBSU def. Sophie Bukovec/Alexa Strange, USC 21-15, 21-19
3) Eve Ettinger/Meg Norton, USC def. Jenelle Hudson/Bre Mackie, LBSU 19-21, 21-15, 15-13
4) Nicolette Martin/Allie Wheeler, USC def. Andrea McHugh/Ciana Wagner, LBSU 21-16, 27-25
5) Jenna Belton/Bria Russ, USC def. Rachel Nieto/Sammee Thomas, LBSU 13-21, 21-17, 16-14
(7) Long Beach State 3, (4) Pepperdine 2
1) Delainey Aigner-Swesey/Chelsea Cabrajac, LBSU def. Kelley Larsen/Kellie Woolever, PEP 21-18, 13-21, 15-7
2) Anete Brinke/Tyler Jackson, LBSU def. Lara Dykstra/Becca Strehlow, PEP 21-12, 20-22, 15-13
3) Emily Cook/Delaney Knudsen, PEP def. Jenelle Hudson/Bre Mackie, LBSU 21-16, 21-17
4) Andrea McHugh/Ciana Wagner, LBSU def. Sophie Asprey/Leanna Schroeder, PEP 21-15, 21-14
5) Samantha Cash/Corinne Quiggle, PEP def. Rachel Nieto/Sammee Thomas, LBSU 17-21, 21-13, 21-19
(1) USC 3, (7) Long Beach State 0
1) Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes, USC def. Delainey Aigner-Swesey/Chelsea Cabrajac, LBSU 21-7, 21-19
2) Sophie Bukovec/Alexa Strange, USC def. Anete Brinke/Tyler Jackson, LBSU 21-19, 21-14
3) Eve Ettinger/Meg Norton, USC def. Jenelle Hudson/Bre Mackie, LBSU 21-12, DNF
4) Did Not Start
5) Jenna Belton/Bria Russ, USC def. Rachel Nieto/Sammee Thomas, LBSU 21-18, 17-21, 15-10
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