AVCA Collegiate Sand Championships
USC’s Burnham and Hughes Win 2014 AVCA Sand Volleyball Pairs Championship, All-Americans and Coach of the Year Announced
It was a banner day for the USC Women of Troy, as their pair of Kirby Burnham and Sara Hughes defeated Karissa Cook and Brittany Tiegs of the University of Hawai’i in the championship match of the 2014 AVCA Sand Volleyball Pairs Championship on the same day that USC’s Anna Collier was recognized as the 2014 AVCA Sand Volleyball Coach of the Year. Burnham and Hughes won the title in straight sets, winning by scores of 21-15, 21-13.
Burnham and Hughes entered the tournament as the number 4 seed, which featured 16 pairs seeded based on their play both throughout the season and during the AVCA Sand Volleyball Championships. It was the fourth overall meeting between the two pairs, with Hawai’i’s Tiegs and Cook holding a 2-1 edge prior to this match, including a win in Friday’s Team Championship event.
Burnham and Hughes played at the top flight for the USC team during both the regular season and the AVCA National Championship, and their dominating performance in the Pairs Championship match reflected their ranking. Burnham and Hughes used a combination of strong defense and effective attacking to make quick work of Tiegs and Cook.
Tiegs and Cook turned in a strong performance during their run to the runner-up position, defeating the second-seeded top pair from Florida State, Jace Pardon and Aurora Davis by a score of 2-0 in the semifinals round.
The AVCA is also honored to announce the members of the 2014 AVCA Sand Volleyball All-American team, as well as the 2014 AVCA Sand Volleyball Coach of the Year. The All-American team is comprised of pairs competitors that advance to the quarterfinal round of the Pairs Tournament, earning their spot on the team during play on Sunday morning. The AVCA Sand Volleyball Coach of the Year is voted on by the head coaches of all teams that competed during the 2014 season. This is the second year that the award has been given.
2014 AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball All-Americans Kelley Larsen, Pepperdine
Kellie Woolever, Pepperdine
Lara Dykstra, Pepperdine
Becca Strehlow, Pepperdine
Betsi Metter, Loyola Marymount
Litara Keil, Loyola Marymount
Katie Spieler, Hawai’i
Nikki Taylor, Hawai’i
Karissa Cook, Hawai’i
Brittany Tiegs, Hawai’i
Kirby Burnham, Southern California
Sara Hughes, Southern California
Zuzana Markova, ULM
Marcela Araya, ULM
Aurora Davis, Florida State
Jace Pardon, Florida State
2014 AVCA Sand Volleyball Coach of the Year
Anna Collier, Southern California
Pepperdine Claims 2014 AVCA Team Championship
Pepperdine and Florida State didn’t face off against each other during regular season play, but their two tournament match-ups provided plenty of firepower. After surviving a double-elimination tournament on Friday, both the #3 seed Florida State and the #2 seed Pepperdine advanced to the Team Championship match through a single-elimination semifinals bracket. Pepperdine had defeated Florida State by a match score of 4-1 to secure their spot in the semifinals. A staggered schedule was implemented for the title match, meaning that the #4 flight for each school would open the match, with the #5 flights beginning minutes later.
Pepperdine struck first, their #5 pair of Asprey and Adelhelm dispatching the Florida State pair of Sanchez and Luke by scores of 21-19, 23-21. It wouldn’t take long for Florida State to answer, however, as their #4 pair of Pavels and Brown defeated Pepperdine’s Cook and Messing in two sets, 21-13, 24-22. Pavels and Brown had defeated that same pair in their match on Friday, which forced Florida State to climb their way out of the loser’s bracket.
Back on Court 1, the Pepperdine pair of Woolever and Larsen would face the Florida State pair of Pardon and Davis. The scoring couldn’t have been closer, and just as Florida State’s Wickstrom and Yildirim took set 1 over Pepperdine’s Knudsen and Racich 21-19, Larsen and Woolever would answer for the Waves, defeating Pardon and Davis 21-19 on Court 1. Though Wickstrom and Yildirim would eventually win the point in straight sets, Woolever and Larsen would recover from a dropped second set to force a deciding third, winning 15-13 to necessitate a deciding match between the Pellitteri sisters of Florida State and Pepperdine’s pair of Dykstra and Strehlow.
With the Team Championship on the line, Dykstra and Strehlow would deliver, securing the title in straight sets by scores of 24-22 and 21-17. This is the second AVCA National Championship for the Pepperdine Waves, also winning in 2012 and ending the season as runner-up in 2013.
(Photo Cred: USC Sand Volleyball)