Sara Rishell and Rachel Fairbanks finished 3-0 to win the Lower Division Bracket Saturday.
April 5, 2014
KENNER, La. - The UAB sand volleyball finished strong on the final day at the Tulane Pelican Classic with pairs playing in the Upper and Lower Bracket finals. The Blazers had eight wins overall on Saturday, including a win in the finals of the Lower Bracket.
In the Upper Division Bracket, the No. 1 and No. 2 pairs competed for each school. Kiriana Hirini and Bethanie Thomas competed at the top position for UAB. The duo defeated Tulane's Annie Shurtz and Grace Weaver, 23-21, 17-21, 15-8, to advance in the first round.
They then downed ULM's Michelle McNamee and Blanco Ocana in the quarterfinals, 21-18, 21-16. That pitted the Blazer duo against Marcela Araya and Zuzana Murkova of ULM in the semifinals. Hirini and Thomas took the win, 21-13, 21-17, to send them to the finals. They would then have a rematch with Araya and Murkova after ULM advanced from the losers bracket.
In the finals, Hirini and Thomas won the first set, 21-15, but ULM came back to win the second set, 21-17, to set up a tie-breaking third set. However, the match was called due to inclement weather and will be resumed next weekend at the Fiesta at Siesta Key tournament. Hirini and Thomas were the only pair to go undefeated into the final.
The Blazers also saw success in the Lower Division Bracket. Rachel Fairbanks and Sara Rishell were granted a bye for the first round as the No. 3 pair and earned a win over Miah Diirell and Sarah Strasner of Tulane, 21-12, 21-17. The pair then topped Tulane's Hannah Holmes and Anna Wruck, 21-16, 21-17, to move on to the finals.
Fairbanks and Rishell won the Lower Division Bracket after defeating Hope Pawlik and Hadley Swartz of ULM, 21-14, 21-12. The duo finished with three wins on the day, all in straight-sets.
Also in the Upper Bracket was UAB's No. 2 duo of Alison Woods and Sam Serley. The pair fell to Tea Juric and Jackie Wegner, 22-20, 21-15, in the first round and was knocked out after a loss to Elizabeth Eddy and Helene Rancourt, 21-13, 21-12, in the second round.
The first round of the Lower Bracket saw both pairs Becca Howard and Lindsay Simmons and Ally Slaughter and Amber Treace advance to the quarterfinals. However, neither could advance through the quarterfinals in the single-elimination format.
UAB will have a week off before traveling to Siesta, Fla. for the Fiesta on Siesta Key tournament that runs from Friday, April 11 through Sunday, April 13.
For the latest news on Blazer sports, follow the UAB Athletics Twitter account: @UABathletics. For volleyball news, follow @UABSandVBall.