(HAWAII ATHLETICS) – The University of Hawai'i beach volleyball team took a huge opening step in its bid for a national title with a pair of wins over South Carolina and Pepperdine on the first day of the 2018 NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship.
The No. 3 seed Rainbow Wahine (37-3) defeated the Gamecocks, 3-0, before pulling off a massive 3-2 win over No. 2 Pepperdine to conclude the day. The wins propelled UH into the tournament semifinals on Saturday and guarantees the SandBows one of three spots into Championship Sunday.
UH will next face No. 4 seed Florida State (32-6) on Saturday at 10 a.m. HT with the winner moving on to Sunday's title match. The semifinal match will be televised live on ESPN2. UH is riding a nation-leading 32-match win streak with their last loss coming to the Seminoles, 4-1, on March 10 in the East Meets West Challenge in Manhattan Beach, Calif.
UH opened the day with a 3-0 win over South Carolina (24-9), a team the 'Bows previously defeated in Columbia, S.C., in late March. UH won on Courts 3, 4, and 5, including a straight set win by Ari Homayun and Amy Ozee who won their 25 straight dual match, tying the school record recently set by Emily Maglio and Ka'iwi Schucht. It was also a milestone win for fourth-year head coach Jeff Hall who picked up his 100th career victory.
In the second match of the day, UH got past Pepperdine (25-4) in dramatic fashion to avenge last year's loss in the NCAA semifinals. The teams split the first four courts with UH wining on courts 1 and 3 and Pepperdine on 2 and 4. When Alexis Filippone and Skyler Caputo defeated Homayun and Ozee on Court 4 in a three-set match, they ended the pairs record win streak and tied the dual match at 2-2.
It all came down to the No. 5 court as true freshman Paige Dreeuws and fifth-year senior Hannah Zalopany sealed the deal with a tight 21-19, 18-21, 15-13 win over Maddie Dilfer and Nikki Lyons. The win was just UH's third in 13 all-time meetings with the Pepperdine, and the first-ever over the Waves in the postseason.
Hawai'i 3, South Carolina 0
1: Schucht/Maglio (UH) vs. Cadie Bates/Katie Smith (SC) 21-11, 22-21, unfinished
2: Lea Monkhouse/Morgan Martin (UH) vs. Shannon Williams/Ali Denney (SC) 21-12, 16-21, 4-4, unfinished
3: Carly Kan/Laurel Weaver (UH) def. Julia Mannisto/Carly Schnieder (SC) 21-13, 21-13
4: Homayun/Ozee (UH) def. Leah Perri/Macie Tendrich (SC) 21-19, 21-13
5: Dreeuws/Zalopany (UH) def. Harrison/Dimke (SC) 21-19, 21-17
Order of finish: 3, 4, 5*
Hawai'i 3, Pepperdine 2
1: Maglio/Schucht (UH) def. Corinne Quiggle/Deahna Kraft (PEP) 21-18, 21-16
2: Brooke Bauer/Madalyn Roh (PEP) def. Martin/Monkhouse (UH) 21-17, 21-16
3: Weaver/Kan (UH) def. Gigi Hernandez/Heidi Dyer (PEP) 21-17, 21-13
4: Alexis Filippone/Skyler Caputo (PEP) def. Ozee/Homayun (UH) 21-15, 19-21, 15-12
5: Zalopany/Dreeuws (UH) def. Dilfer/Lyons (PEP) 21-19, 18-21, 15-13