Larsen, Woolever Win USAV Beach Collegiate Challenge Pairs Championship
March 16, 2014
CHULA VISTA, Calif. - Senior duo Kelley Larsen and Kellie Woolever of the Pepperdine sand volleyball team tore through the 24-team pairs bracket to win the title today at the USAV Collegiate Challenge. Additionally, Becca Strehlow and Lara Dykstra took third place.
The pairs championship began yesterday, with all four Wave duos in action advancing out of the first round.
Play today began in the round of 16, and four of Pepperdine's six pairs moved onto the quarterfinals.
Both Larsen (Jamul, Calif./Christian HS) and Woolever (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS), as well as Strehlow (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS/UCLA) and Dykstra (Redondo Beach, Calif./Redondo Union HS/Nebraska), represented the Waves in an all Pepperdine-Hawaii semifinal.
Larsen and Woolever upset the Rainbow Wahine's No. 1 duo of Karissa Cook and Karlee Riggs by a score of 21-17, 21-12 to move into the finals.
Meanwhile in the other semifinal, Katie Spieler and Nikki Taylor - sister of men's volleyball standout Josh Taylor - outlasted Strehlow and Dykstra 21-16, 21-17.
In the finals, Team Kell(i)ey got off to a brilliant start, narrowly taking the first frame 21-18. Although Spieler and Taylor extended the match to a deciding third set with a win in the second, the Waves prevailed in the end 15-10.
This is Larsen and Woolever's second title at a USAV Collegiate Challenge event, having won the silver bracket at the 2013 event.
Katie Messing (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands HS) and Delaney Knudsen (Valencia, Calif./Valencia HS) won twice - including a three-set upset over Cal State Bakersfield's No. 1 team of Megan O'Hagan and Debora Araujo - to reach the quarterfinals. It was Messing and Knudsen's first time pairing together in collegiate competition.
Also reaching the quarterfinals was sister duo Caitlin Racich (Santa Barbara, Calif./Dos Pueblos HS) and Taylor Racich (Santa Barbara, Calif./Dos Pueblos HS). Team Racich earned back-to-back straight-set victories before falling in three sets to Riggs and Cook.
The Waves boast an individual match record of 37-5 this season, including a perfect 25-0 mark in dual play.
As a team, Pepperdine is 5-0 as it heads into next week Tuesday's dual at #3 Long Beach State. Action on the sand courts outside The Pyramid is scheduled to get underway at 1 p.m. It will be the first meeting between the teams since the 2013 AVCA National Championship title match.
Pairs: USAV Collegiate Challenge
Round of 16