HERMOSA BEACH, Calif. (May 10, 2019) – The women’s field at the USA Volleyball Collegiate Beach Championships in Hermosa Beach is down to four pairs to play in Saturday’s semifinals.

Athletes in three of those pairs – Claire Coppola/Kristen Nuss of LSU, Madison Fitzpatrick/Alaina Chacon of Florida State and Brook Bauer/Deahna Kraft of Pepperdine – competed last weekend in the NC Beach Volleyball Championship in Gulf Shores, Ala.

But Emma Doud and Savannah Slattery (left to right in photo) didn’t compete in Gulf Shores because their college team, Loyola Marymount, did not qualify.

Competing in Hermosa has given them a taste of the postseason and also a chance to play together, which they didn’t do during the regular season.

“We came into it with no expectations at all,” said Slattery, who plays both beach and indoor for Loyola Marymount and has also been in USA Volleyball’s beach high performance program. “We just wanted to have fun… We already get along outside of volleyball so it was really fun to have this chemistry but going into it with no expectations.”

They also came in a bit under the radar.

“I think coming in thinking and being the underdog in most situations is the best,” Doud said.

On Saturday, Slattery/Doud will face Pepperdine’s Bauer/Kraft, who finished second in the tournament last year. In the other semifinal, Fitzpatrick/Chacon will play Coppola/Nuss.

Slattery admitted it has taken her some time to get used to being back in the sand, but she will be ready for Saturday.

“Going into beach is always harder,” she said. “I need to get my sand feet back. It takes a couple days. I love beach. I love the atmosphere. I love the team environment we have.”

In the men’s semifinals, Tim Brewster of UCLA and Adam Wienckowski of Florida Atlantic will play Zachary Meyer/Jordan Hoppe of Concordia Irvine. Jon Justice of Florida State and Bryce Estes of Nicholls State will face Jason Gibbs and Carlos Jimenez of Lewis.

Beach pairs who medal and still have collegiate eligibility will be invited to train with the under-21 team this summer.

The USA Volleyball Collegiate Beach Championships is part of the 2019 Team USA Champions Series, presented by Xfinity. The champions series showcases numerous Olympic sports throughout the season, highlighting the year-round quest of Team USA athletes to compete at the Olympic Games.

Saturday Schedule (times PT; All matches will be live streamed except the women’s final, which will be on NBCSN)
9 a.m. Men’s semifinals
10 a.m. Women’s semifinals
11 a.m. Men’s third-place match
12 p.m. Women’s third-place match
1:20 p.m. Men’s final
3 p.m. Women’s final