Sand Volleyball Duo Opens AVCA Pairs Championship

Head coach Hal Messersmith has led two teams to the pairs championships in two seasons.

May 2, 2013

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – UAB sand volleyball players Bethanie Thomas and Kiriana Hirini begin play at the 2013 AVCA Pairs Championship on Friday.

Playing in Pool A, the Blazer pair is tentatively scheduled to begin action at 11 a.m. CT in Gulf Shores, Ala.  

“Bethanie and Kiriana are two great players on and off the court,” head coach Hal Messersmith said. “We are in a tough pool, but we are excited to begin play on Friday against some great competition.”

In UAB’s second season of sand volleyball, the Blazers are sending a flight to the pairs championship for the second-consecutive year. In 2012, Heather Thomas, who is the sister of current UAB player Bethanie Thomas, teamed with Kirsten Gallagher in the event.

“Both our players this season are sophomores, which means we have a strong future ahead of us,” Messersmith added. “Sand volleyball has already drawn a lot of attention at UAB and it only helps our program to have players like Bethanie and Kiriana competing in an event like this.”

UAB finished the 2013 season with a 10-8 overall record, losing six duals in 3-2 fashion. Thomas and Hirini led the Blazers on the season with nine wins.

There are 10 total pairs competing in this year’s championships, which will begin on Friday and conclude with a Sunday championship match.