Racich, Ross Win Pairs National Championship With Incredible Comeback
Pepperdine's two pairs met in the national semifinals.
April 29, 2012
GULF SHORES, Ala. - Caitlin Racich and Summer Rosscame up with a giant come-from-behind effort in the finals to capture the first AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championship pairs title. The win comes just one day after the Waves won the team championship.
Racich (Santa Barbara, Calif./Dos Pueblos HS) and Ross (Carlsbad, Calif./Carlsbad Seaside Academy), who were the 16-team bracket's No. 2 seed, cruised through the first three rounds, never dropping a set.
In the championship match, the duo found themselves down 11-14 in the third set before rattling off five unanswered points to clinch the championship.
"I thought Caitlin and Summer hung in there and played very well today and the whole tournament," said head coach Nina Matthies. "The whole team played well all weekend. I'm very proud of them."
Also competing in the pairs championship were seniors Lilla Frederick (Huntington Beach, Calif./Cornelia Connelly HS) and Kim Hill(Portland, Ore./Portland Christian HS), who had earned the No. 1 seed following Friday's pool play.
In the first match of the day, Racich and Ross downed Elyse Chubb and Lizzie Theesfeld of the College of Charleston 21-9, 21-11, while Frederick and Hill defeated Alabama-Birmingham's Kirsten Gallagher and Heather Thomas 21-11, 21-11. Racich and Ross battled with USC's top team of Geena Urango and Sara Shaw in the quarterfinals. The Wave tandem edged the Trojans in the first frame 21-19, before riding the momentum to a 21-9 victory in set two.
On the other side of the bracket, Frederick and Hill also faced a local rival in Haleigh Hampton and Chelsea Cabrajac of Long Beach State. Pepperdine proved to be too much for the 49ers and put the match away 21-11, 21-16.
Officials elected to cross over the semifinal match-ups, which meant the two Pepperdine teams faced off in the semifinals. Racich and Ross came out on top with a two-set win against their teammates.
The championship match featured Racich and Ross versus Tara Roenicke and Caitlin Ledoux. The 49ers, who were seeded fifth, earned the early advantage in the first set, and Ross and Racich were unable to overcome the deficit. Long Beach went on to win 21-14.
The Waves answered in the second set, jumping out to a 12-9 lead before Roenicke and Ledoux closed the gap to one. Ross and Racich continued to fight however, and a late run secured the 21-15 win to force a third and deciding set.
The final stanza played out point-for-point from start to finish. Tied at eight, LBSU went on a 6-3 run to give themselves three match points at 11-14.
Pepperdine refused to give up, however, and scored three points behind the serve of Racich to knot the score once again. The Waves continued to fight and scored once more to earn match point. With Racich still at the service line, the junior dished an ace to clinch the first-ever sand volleyball pairs championship crown.
The Waves, who won the inaugural AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Team Championship on Saturday, concluded the first-ever season with a perfect 17-0 record.
CBS Sports Network will televise portions of the competition in two hour-long specials. Part 1 of their coverage will air beginning on Wednesday, June 6 at 9 p.m. (PT) and Part 2 will begin airing on Wednesday, June 13, also at 6 p.m.
2012 AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Pairs Championship
Round of 16
No. 1 Frederick/Hill (PEP) def. No. 16 Gallagher/Thomas (UAB) 21-11, 21-11
No. 2 Racich/Ross (PEP) def. No. 15 Chubb/Theesfeld (CoC) 21-9, 21-11
No. 1 Frederick/Hill (PEP) def. No. 9 Hampton/Cabrajac (LBSU) 21-11, 21-16
No. 2 Racich/Ross (PEP) def. No. 10 Urango/Shaw (USC) 21-19, 21-8
No. 2 Racich/Ross (PEP) def. No. 1 Frederick/Hill (PEP) 21-9, 21-17
No. 2 Racich/Ross (PEP) def. No 5 Ledoux/Roenicke (LBSU) 14-21, 21-15, 16-14