Long Beach beach volleyball will end its 26-8 season on a low note after being left out of the NCAA Championship selection following the Big West Tournament.
The team traveled to Hawaii this past weekend along with five other top-ranked schools to compete for bids to the NCAA championship. Long Beach was expected for a bid at the at-large selection, but missed the spots to Louisiana State and Florida International University. The six other schools that made it to the championship included UCLA, Pepperdine, Hawaii, Florida State, USC and South Carolina.
Long Beach finished the Big West Tournament 3-2, losing only to the reigning champions, Hawaii.
The team got off to a strong start in the Big West Tournament, beating Sacramento State and No. 2 Cal Poly. Long Beach suffered its first loss to No. 1 seed Hawaii on Saturday, and was consequently forced into the consolation bracket.
Despite the loss, they were able to compete for the championship after defeating Cal Poly 4-1, dropping the only set due to an injury from Anete Brinke, who was unable to finish the game and was replaced for the remainder of the weekend.
Long Beach’s win was short lived, as the team was unable to keep up with Hawaii in the final match of the tournament. The team fell 1-4, with the only win coming from number one pair Sasha Karelov and Nele Barber, who snapped Emily Maglio and Ka’iwi Schucht’s 25-match winning streak. Hawaii took home the Big West trophy for the third year in a row.
The team was able to celebrate a few silver linings during the weekend, as senior Rachel Nieto set the record for most wins in school history, passing up Tyler Jackson. Karelov also set the record for most single-season wins at 29.
Number one pair Sasha Karelov and Nele Barber also made it to the championship round of the first pairs championship in the Big West Tournament. The seniors were defeated in the last round by Cal Poly’s Torrey Van Winden and Tiadora Miric in a tie-breaker set, losing 21-17, 18-21, 9-15.