Sarah Pavan and Jordan Larson led Nebraska to the event title, as they rallied for a three-game win over the Stanford team of Cynthia Barboza and Bryn Kehoe, prevailing 19-21, 23-21 and 18-16. Nebraska also defeated Stanford to win the NCAA volleyball team title last December in Omaha.
Pavan and Larson, who were playing their fifth match of the day, were down 1-0 to the Cardinal in the title match and trailed 19-17 in game two before rallying to tie the match and send it to a decisive third game. In the finale (first team to 15), the teams traded points throughout the final game and Stanford had match point at 14-13 before a Barboza service error tied the match. The teams continued to battle until the Huskers broke a 16-all deadlock with two points to win the hour-long match.
"It was a back-and-forth match all afternoon," Assistant Coach Lizzy Stemke said. "We were able to make the defensive plays we needed to late to win the match."
Pavan said that while the Huskers were challenged with an unfamiliar surface in a different setting, the key was to keep errors to a minimum.
"The game was just up and down," Pavan said. "We would get a sting of points, and then they go on a run. It came down to who made errors and when. There were obviously a few things we struggled with but we held our own. Jordan and I are very competitive and we just went out there to win."
The Huskers advanced to the finals with a 23-21 and 21-16 victory over the seventh-seeded San Diego pair of Andrea Csaszi and Jaimarie Sutherland. Barboza and Kehoe lifted the Cardinal to the championship match with a 21-16, 21-12 win over the eighth-seeded Cal Poly team of Kylie Atherstone and Chelsea Hayes.
Both Nebraska and Stanford earned a spot in the semi-finals after being upset in pool play to finish second in both groups behind the Cal Poly and San Diego, respectively. Cal Poly, Nebraska and Texas tied with 2-1 records in Pool A, but the Mustangs won the group with a 2.5 set ratio with the Cornhuskers second (1.67) and the Longhorns third (1.33).
After Cal Poly lost to Nebraska 15-7, 16-18 and 15-13, the Mustangs posted wins over Minnesota (15-13 and 15-10) and Texas (27-25 and 15-13). After Texas defeated Nebraska 15-13, 16-18 and 23-21, the Cornhuskers rebounded to advance to the semi-finals with a 15-11 and 15-11 victory over Minnesota.
San Diego, which upset Stanford 15-11 and 15-12 in an opening pool play match, won its group with a 3-0 record after downing Penn State (16-14 and 15-9) and Florida (15-11 and 15-13). Stanford posted wins over Florida (15-11 and 15-10) and Penn State (15-11 and 15-13) to gain the second spot from Pool B.
Powerade Collegiate Beach Volleyball - CSTV Broadcast Schedule
Sunday, May 6 - 4:30 p. m., Collegiate Nationals Preview Show
Saturday, May 12 - 8 p.m., Collegiate Nationals - Premier of Beach Volleyball
Friday, May 18 - 8 p.m., Collegiate Nationals - Premier of Beach Volleyball Semifinal No. 1
Saturday, May 19 - 8 p.m., Collegiate Nationals - Premier of Beach Volleyball Semifinal No. 2
Sunday, May 20 - 8 p.m., Collegiate Nationals - Premier of finals for Beach Volleyball