USA Volleyball Collegiate Beach Championships
The dark horse of the tournament on the men’s side, Florida State’s Jon Justice/Adam Wienckowski did the unthinkable, besting the remainder of the eight team field as the lone team representing a school without a men’s volleyball program. The duo reached the final with an upset of top seeded Owen Yoshimoto/Robert Mullahey (Pepperdine) in Friday’s semifinals and then finished off the tournament with a come-from-behind tie-break win over Hawaii’s Brett Rosenmeier/Colton Cowell in Saturday’s championship match.
Yoshimoto/Mullahey wound up with the bronze medal, topping Quincy’s Collin Merk/Anthony Winter.
On the women’s side, Saturday brought both the semifinal and podium matches. In the end, LSU’s Claire Coppola/Kristen Nuss, which went 30-7 for the Tigers on Court 1 during the collegiate season, topped Cal Poly’s Torrey Van Winden/Emily Sonny and Florida State’s Hailey Luke/Katie Horton for the Collegiate Beach crown. VanWinden/Sonny went on to finish third.
“It means a lot,” Nuss said. “We are super excited. That (playing in the World University Games) was our goal coming in and we can’t wait.”
Coppola/Nuss posted a straight set win over Van Winden/Sonny to reach the championship match, while Luke/Horton topped fellow Seminoles Vanessa Freire/Tory Paranagua 21-18, 21-19 to claim the other spot.
Once in the title match, it was a back and forth affair, with Coppola/Nuss dominating the opening stanza 21-9 and Luke/Horton answering with a 21-17 win in Set 2. A 15-8 tiebreak win gave the LSU duo the title.
“We looked at each other (going into the third set) and we knew that we were capable of doing this,” Coppola said. “We trusted each other and knew that we were going to get it done when we needed to.”
Luke Horton went 19-1 as FSU’s No. 2 duo, while Freire/Paranagua went 15-4 on Court 1 for the Seminoles. Van Winden/Sonny played with different partners during the collegiate season for Cal Poly.
With the titles, the top duos have sewed up a spot representing the United States at the World University Games from July 9-13, in Munich, Germany.
Jon Justice/Adam Wienckowski (Florida State) def. Brett Rosenmeier/Colton Cowell (Hawaii) 15-21, 28-26, 15-12
Men’s Third Place
Robert Mullahey/Owen Yashimoto (Pepperdine) def. Collin Merk/Anthony Winter (Quincy) 21-18, 23-21
Claire Coppola/Sofia Nuss (LSU) def. Torrey VanWinden/Emily Sonny (Cal Poly) 23-21, 21-17
Hailey Luke/Katie Horton (Florida State) def. Vanessa Freir/Tory Paranagua (Florida State) 21-18, 21-19
Women’s Third Place
VanWinden/Sonny (Cal Poly) def. Freire/Paranagua (FSU) 21-11, 25-23
Coppola/Nuss (LSU) def. Luke/Horton (FSU) 21-9, 17-21, 15-8