by Jackson Silvanik, AVCA Editor of Publications
Yesterday we took a look at some of the pairs to keep an eye on from the Southeast. Today, we’ll turn our eyes westward and note some pairs to watch from the Golden Coast.
Saint Mary’s, as a team, earned a No. 9 in the nation ranking earlier this year after defeating nationally ranked Stanford. Their number one pair played a huge role in leading them to a successful sand season. The top SMC pair of Dalas Dodd and Jordan Shaw have qualified for the Pairs Championship and will test their mettle against the stiffest competition in the country. They’ve managed to string together some quality wins, and now they’ll be in the thick of the action as things get started next week.
The sixth-ranked Bruins will send two pairs teams to the AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championships. The team of juniors Meg Norton and Kelly Reeves and sophomore Zoë Nightingale and freshman Becca Strehlow will represent UCLA in Gulf Shores, Ala.
Norton and Reeves are in Pool A, which also consists of Georgia State's Lane Carico and Katie Madewell, Florida International's Jessica Mendoza and Maryna Samoday, UAB's Bethanie Thomas and Kiriana Hirini and Pacific's Hannah Clancy and Katarina Schultz. The cross-regional competition looks to be fierce.
Nightingale and Strehlow are in Pool B, consisting of Jacksonville's Sammie Strausbaugh and Taylor Nyquist, FIU's Kate Stepanova and Ksenia Sukhareva, Loyola Marymount's Felicia Arriola and Litara Keil and Saint Mary's Dallas Dodd and Jordan Shaw. The Bruins played a very difficult schedule, which means that there isn’t likely to be anything they haven’t seen before at the Championships.
|UCLA pairs - Mag Norton/Kelly Reeves and Zoe Nightingale/Becca Strehlow.|
The Tigers' No. 1 sand duo of senior Hannah Clancy and freshman Kat Schulz definitely played their way to the 2013 AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championships. Throughout the Tigers' inaugural season of sand volleyball, Clancy and Schulz proved to be Pacific's most fearsome pairing as the duo ran through the NorCal Consortium en route to a 6-1 overall record. Paired together in Pacific's third match of the season, the Tigers' top pair immediately came together, winning their first match of the season in run-away fashion at Sacramento State on Mar. 23. The duo went on to win their first five matches together, dropping just two sets during their run. After falling for the first time in a three-set marathon at Stanford, Clancy and Schulz rebounded to take down Dodd and Shaw, the top team from the No. 9 ranked Gaels of Saint Mary's to finish out the regular season.
LMU’s top pair of Felicia Arriola and Litara Keil didn’t start the season playing together as the team’s top pair, but they matched up around one-third of the way through the schedule and played marvelously for the rest of the year. When competing together, the pair mustered a 9-4 record against a variety of competition, playing tough against strong opponents and defeating those ranked beneath them. They, too, will be up against a tough field in Gulf Shores, but never count this scrappy duo out – they’ve been improving ever since being matched up in the lineup.