Gulf Shores, Ala. -- In their first-ever appearance at the AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball Championship, the Stetson Hatters came up short in the Team Championship Friday, falling 5-0 to third-seeded Florida State and 4-1 to top-seeded Southern California on the beaches of Gulf Shores, Ala.
The losses eliminated Stetson (18-6) from contention for the national team championship, but at least one pairing and possibly two will compete for the Pairs Championship on Sunday.
"It's bittersweet that our season as a team has come to end today but I was very pleased with our performances against FSU and USC," head coach Kristina Hernandez said. "All of our pairs played really tough and worked hard. Overall, I'm extremely happy with how we represented Stetson and our program. It's been an amazing season and I'm glad we get the opportunity to finish it at the national championship."
In the first match Friday, Florida State claimed 2-0 wins at the one through four positions, but the Hatters' No. 5 pairing of Tiffany Creamer and Kristin Lind forced a third set with a 21-16 win in the second frame. The Seminoles took the deciding set 15-10.
Stetson's "consolation" was a match-up with the nation's No. 1-ranked team, USC, which was upset by Hawaii 3-2 earlier in the day. The Trojans had won their last 21 matches in a row.
Stetson would make some noise in this match, however, as the Hatters' No. 3 pairing of Julie Bassett and Rachael Farrell defeated USC's Sam Hirschmann and Natasa Siljkovic 2-0 (21-19, 21-15). Hirschmann and Siljkovic fell for just the sixth time on the season (18-6). Bassett and Farrell improved to 13-9.
"Julie and Rachael played really well against USC and got that game in two," Hernandez said. "They worked hard and played smart and I was proud of their showing."
Stetson's top seed of Kaley Melville and Kaylee Anderson will compete in the Pairs Championship on Sunday. The No. 2 pair of Savannah Byl and Catherine Coston will compete in a play-in match on Saturday at 3 p.m.