@FGCU_SandVB Sees Two Advance at FIU Pairs Tournament
Sunday, April 06, 2014 | by Jamie Church (@jlchurch)
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MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Led by first-round wins by two separate pairs, the FGCU sand volleyball team advanced to the semifinal round at the FIU Pairs Tournament Sunday on the campus of Florida International University.

The no. 1 pair of senior Kaitlin Holm (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers High School) and junior Whitney Masters (Muncie, Ind./Wapahani High School) and the no. 1 duo of Karina Mambuca (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast High School) and Vanessa Benke (Toledo, Brazil/College of Central Florida) both earned wins in the first round of the tournament to lead the Eagles but fell in tough second-round matchups.

Masters and Holm’s play in the gold bracket pitted them against the other team’s no. 1 and no. 2 pairs, while Mambuca and Benke competed in the silver bracket.

Holm and Master’s picked up a two-set win over FAU’s no. 2 pair to advance to the next round.  The pair won by scores of 21-11 and 21-17 to move on.

Mambuca and Benke controlled play against FAU’s no. 4 and earned wins by scores of 21-11 and 21-11.

At no. 2, Elenora Kazarian (Tibilisi, Georgia/College of Central Florida) and Caroline Jordan (Orlando, Fla./William R. Boone High School) were defeated in two sets by UNF’s no. 1 team in the gold bracket.

Madi Wilcox (Mundelein, Ill./Mundelein High School) and Marlene Moeller (Ludinghausen, Germany/Pascal Gymnasium) competed in the silver bracket as the no. 4 pair.  The duo fell to UNF’s no. 3 to open the day for FGCU.  The no. 5 pair Shelby Joslin (Alva, Fla./Evangelical Christian School) and Katie Gutmann (Coconut Creek, Fla./Monarch High School) concluded the first round with a loss to FAU’s no. 4 team.

In the second round, Holm and Masters took on UNF’s no. 2 pair.  The pair took a 13-11 lead midway through the first set but saw the set tie at 19.  The teams exchanged points through the 21st point before UNF scored two final points quickly to earn a 23-21 win.  In the second set the pair fell behind 11-5 and struggled to keep up.  The FGCU top pair ultimately fell 21-8 to give UNF the win.

Mambuca and Benke faced no. 7 FIU’s no. 3 pair in the second round of the tournament.  The duo was outplayed in the first set before again falling by double-figures with a final score of 21-10 in the second set.

The Eagles will return to Fort Myers to host Grand Canyon at the Estero Community Park on Thursday, April 10.  The match is set to begin at 2 p.m.