#2 Waves Top #4 Florida State in National Championship Quarterfinal
Pepperdine to face either USC or Stetson in Saturday's semifinal.
May 2, 2014
GULF SHORES, Ala. - The #2-ranked Pepperdine sand volleyball team opened the 2014 AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championship with a 4-1 triumph over #4 Florida State to advance to Saturday's semifinal. The Waves will face #1 USC at 10 a.m. (PT)
The Waves (16-1) opened the day in the quarterfinals, having received a first round bye by virtue of being a top-two seed. The Seminoles (17-2) began action with a 5-0 vs. Stetson before being relegated to the elimination round by Pepperdine.
Hawaii pulled off the biggest upset of the tournament thus far, handing top-seeded USC a 3-2 loss in the quarterfinals. The Rainbow Wahine will face Florida State in tomorrow's first semifinal at 9 a.m.
A double elimination format was used for today's preliminary rounds, but tomorrow's semifinals and final will be must-win situations.
With one win already under their belts, the Seminoles charged out of the gates, while the Waves battled through some start-of-tournament nerves.
Despite the formidable challenge, Pepperdine took the first sets in three of the five matches before really finding their stride.
Sophie Asprey (Southlake, Texas/Liberty Christian School/Tulane) and Victoria Adelhelm (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif./Santa Fe Christian HS) put the Waves on the board, defeating Sierra Sanchez and Hailey Luke 21-18, 21-14 from the No. 5 spot in the lineup. Adelhelm, a fifth-year senior, dealt two blocks and three aces in the win.
FSU evened the dual with a win at No. 3 but Kelley Larsen (Jamul, Calif./Christian HS) and Kellie Woolever (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS) quickly put the advantage back in Pepperdine's favor. Team Kell(i)ey ended Jace Pardon and Aurora Davis' 26-match win streak, issuing the Seminole's top team a 21-19, 21-19 loss. The Waves' senior pair improves to 21-2 in 2014.
With the 2-1 lead, Pepperdine needed just one more win to clinch the dual. Katie Messing (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands HS) and Emily Cook (Huntington Beach, Calif./Murrieta Valley HS) did the honors, downing Melanie Pavels and Julie Brown 22-20, 21-12. Messing kept attackers at bay with seven blocks, while Cook sent down 17 kills.
The Waves extended their margin of victory courtesy of Becca Strehlow (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS/UCLA) and Lara Dykstra (Redondo Beach, Calif./Redondo Union HS/Nebraska). After suffering a loss in a nail biter of a first set, 28-26, the duo rebounded to beat sisters Stephanie and Kristina Pellitteri 21-19, 15-9.
Pepperdine has now reached the final four of the national championship for its third consecutive year. The Waves won the title in 2012 before finishing runner-up in 2013.
Dual | #2 Pepperdine 4, #4 Florida State 1
May 2, 2014 | Gulf Shores, Ala. (AVCA National Championship)
No. 1 Kelley Larsen/Kellie Woolever (PEP) def. Jace Pardon/Aurora Davis (FSU) 21-19, 21-19
No. 2 Lara Dykstra/Becca Strehlow (PEP) def. Stephanie Pellitteri/Kristina Pellitteri (FSU) 26-28, 21-19, 15-9
No. 3 Sarah Wickstrom/Fatma Yildirim (FSU) def. Delaney Knudsen/Caitlin Racich (PEP) 21-17, 21-19
No. 4 Emily Cook/Katie Messing (PEP) def. Melanie Pavels/Julie Brown (FSU) 22-20, 21-12
No. 5 Sophie Asprey/Victoria Adelhelm (PEP) def. Sierra Sanchez/Hailey Luke (FSU) 21-18, 21-14