UAB Sand Volleyball Falls At AVCA Nationals

Kiriana Hirini helped UAB to its second-straight appearance in the AVCA Nationals.

May 4, 2013

GULF SHORES, Ala. – UAB sand volleyball players  Kiriana Hirini and Bethanie Thomas wrapped up play at the 2013 AVCA National Pairs Championships with two Saturday defeats.

The Blazers fell to Pacific’s Kat Schulz and Hannah Clancy, 15-21, 21-12, 15-12, before losing a 21-15, 21-18 match to Florida International’s Jessica Mendoza and Maryna Samoday.  

With the losses, the Blazer tandem dropped its bid to participate in the 16-team single elimination tournament, which will be held on Sunday.

“For the first time this season we faced some very windy conditions and that really affected us” head coach Hal Messersmith said. “The other teams played very well today and we just came up short. I am still so proud of Bethanie and Kiriana for a great season and for getting us back to Nationals.”

Hirini and Thomas made the AVCA Tournament in just their first season as a pair and made history with Friday’s win in the opening round of pool play.

“I am glad that both girls were able to gain valuable experience from the event this weekend,” added Messersmith. “They are sophomores, which means we have a bright future ahead of us as a program.”

The Blazers concluded their second season of sand volleyball action with Saturday’s loss. As a team, UAB finished the year with a 10-8 record and had a team reach pool play at the AVCA Nationals for the second consecutive season.

Sand volleyball is an NCAA emerging sport with the team and pairs championship held in Gulf Shores, Ala., each season.