B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Phone: (719) 228-6800
The AVCA contributed to this release
GULF SHORES, Ala. (April 29, 2012) – Four former members of USA Volleyball beach national teams advanced to the championship match of the inaugural AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championships hosted by USAV’s Gulf Shore Region on Sunday in Gulf Shores, Ala.
It took three sets, but Pepperdine's top pair of Caitlin Racich and Summer Ross claimed a hard-fought win in the championship match over Long Beach State University's (LBSU) top pair of Caitlin Ledoux and Tara Roenicke, 21-14, 15-21, 16-14.
The finale was a contest between four players who have all competed internationally for USA Volleyball. Ross and Roenicke won the 2010 FIVB Beach Junior World Championship title together. Roenicke also competed with Ledoux at the 2008 FIVB Youth World Championships. Racich was on the 2011 U.S. team that competed at the FIVB Beach Junior World Championships.
Besides the efforts of USA Volleyball’s Gulf Shore Region, USAV also contributed to the event by hosting a Beach Coaching Accreditation Program course, a Beach High Performance Tryout and a kids’ beach volleyball clinic. Matt Gage, who had organized both USAV and AVP professional tournament, was brought in to act as the tournament director.
Racich and Ross started the day as the No. 2 overall seed, and breezed through the first two rounds, knocking off College of Charleston's Lizzie Theesfeld and Elyse Chubb, 21-9, 21-11. They advanced and defeated Southern California’s (USC) Geena Urango and Sara Shaw, 21-19, 21-8.
Ledoux and Roenicke, who started the tournament as the No. 5 seed, began the day by defeating Stetson's Kaley Melville and Julie Bassett, 21-11, 21-12. Next, they defeated Florida State’s (FSU) No. 4-seeded Aurora Newgard and Brittany Tiegs, 21-17, 21-14.
For the semifinal rounds, the bracket was flipped so that Pepperdine's two remaining pairs were matched up with each other. Racich and Ross defeated their teammates and Pepperdine's top pair of Kim Hill and Lilla Frederick, the No. 1 overall seeded team, 21-9, 21-17, advancing to the championship.
LBSU moved to Pepperdine's previous spot and defeated FSU's top pair of Jace Pardon and Kate Stepanova, 21-19, 17-21, 15-8 to advance to the title match.
In the championship match, LBSU's Roenicke dominated the stat book, recording 23 digs and 19 kills. But the balanced attack of Racich (11 digs, 16 kills) and Ross (11 digs, 14 kills, 5 blocks) proved too daunting, despite Ledoux's 12 kills and six digs.