MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Despite two strong battles, the FGCU sand volleyball team finished the FIU Surf and Turf Tournament with losses to LSU and FIU Saturday afternoon on Miami’s South Beach. The Eagles fall to 2-15 on the season and finish the tournament with a 1-3 mark after defeating FAU in Friday’s competition.
The Green and Blue took five set wins against SEC opponent, LSU, in the morning session but were swept against the tournament host to conclude the day.
The Eagles opened the day with a two-set loss at the no. 4 position but evened the score with a three-set win at no. 5. Shelby Joslin (Alva, Fla./Evangelical Christian School) and Katie Gutmann (Coconut Creek, Fla./Monarch High School) fell behind in their opening set and lost 21-14 but fought back for an extra-points win in set two. After evening the match with the 24-22 win, the teams battled through the decisive set. Joslin and Gutmann fell behind early again but this time rallied to capture a 15-11 win and give the Eagles their first win of the day.
The no. 3 pair of Karina Mambuca (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast High School) and Vanessa Benke (Toledo, Brazil/College of Central Florida) also picked up a win over LSU in the morning session. Mambuca and Benke trailed early in their first set before challenging the Tigers late in the set. The duo fell 21-15 but responded quickly with a 21-18 win in set two. In the deciding set, the pair trailed to start but took the lead late in the set and hung on for a 15-11 win. As the third pair to finish, Mambuca and Benke gave the Eagles an edge at 2-1.
At no. 2, Elenora Kazarian (Tibilisi, Georgia/College of Central Florida) and Caroline Jordan (Orlando, Fla./William R. Boone High School) took the Tigers to a third set but ultimately fell, 15-10 to even the match.
The Eagles were outmatched at the no. 1 position, as the team of senior Kaitlin Holm (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers HS/Marshall) and junior Whitney Masters (Muncie, Ind./Wapahani High School) fell by scores of 21-16 and 21-9.
In the afternoon bout, the Eagles took on tournament host and AVCA no. 7 FIU. The Green and Blue struggled to matchup with the Panthers and fell in two sets in each of the five positions. Holm and Masters gave the Panthers the strongest fight as the duo battled through the opening points and sparked a comeback in the second set. The pair was unable to catch FIU and ultimately fell, 21-14, 21-17.
The Eagles will continue play on Florida’s west coast on Sunday with the FIU Pairs Tournament. The competition will begin at 8:30 a.m. on FIU’s campus and will consist of three single-elimination brackets.
LSU 3, FGCU 2
1. Meghan Mannari/Katie Lindelow (LSU) def. Kaitlin Holm/Whitney Masters (FGCU) 21-16, 21-9
2. Kaitlin Hatcher/Helen Boyle (LSU) def. Elenora Kazarian/Caroline Jordan (FGCU) 18-21, 21-14, 15-10
3. Karina Mambuca/Vanessa Benke (FGCU) def. Victoria Boraski/Cati Leak (LSU) 15-21, 21-18, 15-11
4. Briana Holman/Mimi Eugene (LSU) def. Marlene Moeller/Madi Wilcox (FGCU) 21-15, 21-10
5. Katie Gutmann/Shelby Joslin (FGCU) def. Malorie Pardo/Emma Hiller (LSU) 14-21, 24-22, 15-11
FIU 5, FGCU 0
1. Giovanna Pasos/Jessica Mendoza (FIU) def. Kaitlin Holm/Whitney Masters (FGCU) 21-14, 21-17
2. Maryna Somoday/Marina Boulanger (FIU) def. Caroline Jordan/Elenora Kazarian (FGCU) 21-11, 21-9
3. Aren Cupp/Tina Toghiyani (FIU) def. Karina Mambuca/Vanessa Benke (FGCU) 21-9, 21-9
4. Ksenia Suckhareva/Camilla Rosado (FIU) def. Marlene Moeller/Madi Wilcox (FGCU) 21-11, 21-14
5. Martyna Gluchowicz/Kristine Monforte (FIU) def. Katie Gutmann/Ashley Baker (FGCU) 21-10, 21-15