Hirini, Thomas Pick Up Historic Win At AVCA Nationals

Bethanie Thomas helped lead UAB to its first-ever win in the AVCA Nationals.

May 3, 2013

GULF SHORES, Ala. - UAB sand volleyball players  Kiriana Hirini and Bethanie Thomas completed a historic day on Friday, becoming the first Blazer pair to pick up a win at the AVCA National Pairs Championships.

Playing as the No. 4 seed in Pool A, Thomas and Hirini took down the No. 1 seed of Lane Carico and Katie Madewell from Georgia State, 21-18, 21-14, to finish the day at 1-1. The Blazers' tandem fell to UCLA's Kelly Reeves and Meg Norton, 21-12, 21-11, in the final contest on Friday.

"Obviously, I am very pleased with how well we played in the first match today," head coach Hal Messersmith said. "The team we played from Georgia State is very talented, and I am proud of the way the girls competed. Now, we just have to continue to play well tomorrow and find a way to make it to Sunday."

The Blazers used a .226 attack percentage to down the Panthers, committing just three errors in 84 total attempts against GSU. Hirini led UAB with three blocks, while the team totaled three service aces against Georgia State.

In the second contest of the day, UCLA's Reeves and Norton hit a .389 clip to down the Blazers in two sets and advance to Saturday.

The UAB and UCLA pairs are two of 10 teams fighting to make it to Sunday's championship contest. With five teams in Pool A and five in Pool B, the top two pairs in each bracket will advance to the championships on the final day of the event.

Pool play continues on Saturday with the action slated to begin at 9 a.m. CT.