The University of Hawaii beach volleyball team advanced to the final day of the NCAA tournament with a sweep of LSU and a dramatic 3-2 win over Florida State today in Gulf Shores, Ala.
UH’s rematch with Florida State came down to Court 5 where Hannah Zalopany and Amy Ozee fought off five match points and won on their eighth swing for the match to outlast Hailey Luke and Eva Torruella 21-17, 18-21, 27-25.
The fifth-seeded SandBows face No. 3 Pepperdine in a semifinal match at 5 a.m. Sunday. The winner takes on No. 1 and defending national champion USC at 8 a.m. in the title match in the National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship.
After splitting their matches on Friday, the SandBows began the day by eliminating seventh-seeded LSU 3-0.
The SandBows cruised on the middle three courts to end LSU’s first NCAA tournament appearance and advance in the contenders bracket.
A day after having a 14-match winning streak snapped against USC, Carly Kan and Ari Homayun gave UH the first point against LSU with a 21-12, 21-13 win over Cati Leak and Callan Molle.
UH also completed sweeps on Courts 2 and 3 with nearly simultaneous match points. Kaiwi Schucht’s ace punctuated a 21-15, 21-13 win for the junior and senior Nikki Taylor. Emily Maglio and Laurel Weaver controlled throughout a 21-16, 21-12 win over Olivia Powers and Katie Lindelow.
Florida State eliminated second-seeded UCLA 3-1 in the first match of the day. The SandBows, who opened the tournament with a 3-1 win over the Seminoles on Friday, won the first set on four courts in the rematch.
Kan and Homayun swept Katie Horton and Francesca Goncalves 21-14, 22-20 to give UH the first point, but the other four courts went to a third set.
Maglio and Weaver won their match 21-16, 20-22, 15-7 to give UH a 2-0 lead, but Florida State evened the match by winning tight third sets on Courts 1 and 2.
Ozee and Zalopany traded points with Luke and Torruella deep into the third set before the Seminoles hit wide to set up UH’s eighth match point and Ozee’s block gave UH the dual.