Sandbows fall to FSU in national semifinals

The No. 4 seed University of Hawaii sand volleyball team's title run came to an end with a 4-1 loss to No. 3 seed Florida State in the semifinals of the AVCA National Championship Saturday morning. The Rainbow Wahine concluded the season with a 20-4 mark overall.

Florida State (20-2) moves on to the finals where they will face No. 2 and 2012 national champion Pepperdine, which defeated USC, 3-2, in the other semifinal match.

One day after defeated Florida International and top-seeded USC, UH didn't quite have enough against a hungry FSU squad. Despite the 4-1 score it was a tight match with three of the five courts going the distance of  three sets.

The Seminoles took the first two points of the day as the team of Sarah Wickstom-Fatma Yildirim took down Ali Longo and Ginger Long at  the No. 3, while Stephanie and Kristina Pellitteri defeated Katie Spieler and Nikki Taylor on court 2. Both matches were decided in straight sets.

UH needed to win the final three points and had ample opportunity to do so as courts No. 1, 4 and 5 were all stretched to a third set. The Noles, however, clinched the third and decisive point when Melanie Pavels and Julie Brown defeated London Chow and Olivia Urban, 21-17, 11-21, 15-7.

UH gained its lone point when Mikayla Tucker and Karlee Riggs defeated Sierra Sanchez and Hailey Luke on the No. 5 court. Brittany Tiegs and Karissa Cook dropped a three-set marathon-just their fifth loss in 38 matches this year-against Jace Pardon and Aurora Davis on the feature court to conclude the match, but it was a moot point as the Seminoles had already secured a spot in the finals.

UH had entered the match having won 14 of its last 15 dual matches, while the loss also marked the final team match for seniors Cook and Longo.

The team competition is complete for UH, but there is still a chance at a national championship in the pairs competition as the tandems of Cook-Tiegs and Spieler-Taylor will represent the Rainbow Wahine in Sunday's 16-team bracket.