Waves Advance to AVCA National Championship Title Match
GULF SHORES, Ala. - The Pepperdine women's sand volleyball team's journey at the AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championships has been anything but easy, but the Waves continue to handle the adversity with poise and focus. Despite playing with just eight players, #1 Pepperdine held off #3 Florida State to advance to the finals, scheduled for later this afternoon.
The Seminoles took the first point of the day before the first ball was even served. An injury to Jazmine Orozco (Lakewood, Calif./Lakewood HS/Illinois) forced her and partner Lilla Frederick (Huntington Beach, Calif./Cornelia Connelly HS) to sit out. They are not expected to return for the championship match. With Pepperdine's current roster only at 10 student-athletes, there was no one to take Orozco's place in the sand.
With their backs against the wall, the Waves responded the way they have all season long: by winning. Pepperdine won the first set on three of the active four courts, albeit by a narrow margin.
The Seminoles won on court five to take a 2-0 lead, but Caitlin Racich (Santa Barbara, Calif./Dos Pueblos HS) and Lara Dykstra (Redondo Beach, Calif./Redondo Union HS/Nebraska) responded moments later with a 21-16, 21-19 victory over Melanie Pavels and Julie Brown.
Kelley Larsen (Jamul, Calif./Christian HS) and Kellie Woolever (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS), perfect in duals this season with a 20-0 record, held off Aurora Newgard-Davis and Katherine Plessy, 21-18, 21-18 to knot the score at 2-2.
In the deciding match, Taylor Racich (Santa Barbara, Calif./Dos Pueblos HS) and Victoria Adelhelm (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif./Santa Fe Christian) edged Mallory Kiley and Fatma Yildirim in a closely-fought opening frame, 21-19. Up 20-19, Adelhelm threw the roof on to clinch the set and take an early lead.
In set two, Pepperdine's No. 4 pair went ahead early and rode the momentum to a 21-15 victory to win their match and secure the dual 3-2 for their team.
Pepperdine plays #2 Long Beach State at 3:30 p.m. CT/1:30 PT. The 49ers held off USC, 3-2, in the semifinals. The match format will feature a staggered start. Stay tuned in to the Waves on Twitter for live match updates.
Dual | #1 Pepperdine 3, #3 Florida State 2