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Beach volleyball opens season with mixed results at Stanford Tournament

No. 13 Stanford beach volleyball (2-2) opened its season this weekend in the Stanford Tournament, splitting four games with wins over Sacramento State (0-4) and San Jose State (1-3) on Saturday and losses to No. 16 Pacific (2-2) and St. Mary’s (3-1) on Sunday.

Sophomore Karina Robinson (above) partnered with classmate Sidney Brown at the No. 4 spot for the Cardinal, battling to two three-set victories on Saturday before dropping both their matches on Sunday.(HECTOR GARCIA-MOLINA)

Sophomore Karina Robinson (above) partnered with classmate Sidney Brown at the No. 4 spot for the Cardinal, battling to two three-set victories on Saturday before dropping both their matches on Sunday.(HECTOR GARCIA-MOLINA)

The Cardinal started the weekend battling through the rain to earn a 5-0 sweep over the Hornets, with only two of the five games going to three sets.  The No. 1 pair of junior Ivana Vanjak and freshman Payton Chang and the No. 2 pair of junior Merete Lutz and freshman Halland McKenna were the highlight of the morning as both teams cruised to easy 21-12, 21-15 victories.

“Obviously, we want to contend for a national championship and these are the ones we have to win, whether or not it’s in the rain or the wind,” said head coach Denise Corlett.

In the afternoon Stanford earned its second victory, coming back from a 2-1 deficit after the No. 5 Cardinal pair – freshmen Courtney Bowen and Jennifer DiSanto – and No. 3 pair – sophomore Catherine Raquel and freshman Hayley Hodson – dropped their matches 21-17, 24-22 and 21-17, 21-19, respectively. However, two more strong performances from Vanjak and Chang and Lutz and McKenna lifted Stanford to take the overall match 3-2.

“We definitely felt a sense of urgency,” Vanjak said about the comeback. “I started a little slow in the first set, but Payton helped me out a lot and got me back in the groove of the game. We knew we had to come back and fight.” 

On Sunday, Stanford struggled to find its rhythm, falling 4-1 to both Pacific and Saint Mary’s. The only highlight came in the form of the No. 5 freshman pair who took control of both their matches to earn a 21-12, 21-15 win over Pacific and a 21-8, 21-10 victory over Saint Mary’s.

Despite the rough ending to the weekend, Corlett is still optimistic for the remainder of the season.

“This was the first NCAA beach competition for seven of our players,” Corlett said. “We are only going to get better.”

 

Contact Laura Stickells at lauraczs ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Laura Stickells

Laura Stickells is one of the Managing Editors of Sports at The Stanford Daily. Growing up in the small, rural town of Bishop, California, Laura captained the powderpuff football team and became particularly adept at driving heavy equipment in her later years, a skill that helped her find a position as an intern at NBC Sports this summer working on Olympic coverage. In her spare time, Laura competes on the Stanford Equestrian Team. She also writes football better than the boys. Laura is a sophomore majoring in communications and can be reached at lauraczs 'at' stanford.edu.