Three beach volleyball teams from Florida State University will have championship shots Saturday on California sand.
Two of them — the teams of Hailey Luke and Katie Horton, and Vanessa Freire and Tory Paranagua — will meet in the women’s semifinals of the Bridgestone USA Volleyball Collegiate Beach Championships, part of the Team USA Summer Champions Series presented by Xfinity, in Hermosa Beach.
FSU’s Jon Justice and Adam Wienckowski, who competed for Team USA in the 2017 FIVB U21 Beach World Championships, will face Team USA U21 indoor world team members Brett Rosenmeier and Colton Cowell of Hawaii in the men’s title match at 2:20 p.m. ET. Rosenmeier and Cowell entered the tournament seeded second, while Justice and Wienckowski are the No. 4.
Justice and Wienckowski defeated Robert Mullahey and Owen Yoshimoto of Pepperdine in the semifinals on Friday, 21-15, 22-20. Rosenmeier and Cowell locked down their spot in the final with a 21-18, 21-16 victory over Will Bantle and Matt McLaren of Penn State. Bantle is the brother of Jackson Bantle, who won silver at last year’s USA Volleyball Collegiate Beach Championships.
Freire and Paranagua, the No. 2 seed, advanced with wins against South Carolina’s Cadie Bates and Katie Smith, and Grand Canyon’s Molly Turner and Hannah Towne. Luke and Horton, seeded third, outlasted Madalyn Roh and Brook Bauer of Pepperdine in the quarterfinals 9-21, 26-24, 15-6, after also needing three games to beat Tulane’s Kaylie McHugh and Madeline Mertz.
Also in Saturday’s semifinals, top-seeded Torrey Van Winden and Emily Sonny of Cal Poly will face 12th-seeded Claire Coppola and Kristen Nuss of Louisiana State. Van Winden, who competed last year at the FIVB U21 Beach World Championships, was a silver medalist at the 2017 USA Volleyball Collegiate Beach Open.
The winners of the two semifinal matches Saturday morning will meet in the women’s final at 4 p.m. ET, televised live on NBCSN, followed by Team USA Awards presented by Dow, Best of the Games (6-7:30 p.m. ET).
The winning collegiate beach teams will represent the U.S. at the FISU World University Championship in July in Munich.
Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is sports editor of the Cape Cod Times and a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.