GULF SHORES, Ala. — Despite playing two competitive dual matches with Loyola Marymount in Honolulu last month, the Hawaii beach volleyball team was unable to replicate that effort with more on the line Wednesday.
The LMU Lions had their way in a 3-0 victory over UH in the NCAA tournament first round, ending the program’s season under interim coach Evan Silberstein at 24-17.
Fourth-seeded LMU improved to 30-7 and advanced to face fifth-seeded Florida State in the eight-team, double-elimination stage of the tournament. The tournament was expanded from eight to 16 teams this year, which worked to the benefit of UH, the Big West Conference runner-up that was awarded a No. 13 seed.
UH and LMU split a pair of 3-2 matches on April 9 and 10, with the Rainbow Wahine pair of Brooke Van Sickle and Kaylee Glagau winning at the top flight both times.
But on Wednesday, fellow All-Americans Reka Orsi Toth and Megan Rice were the better team, winning 21-12 and 21-13 over Van Sickle/Glagau.
UH's Pair of the Year finished with a 30-10 record.
The Lions won the first set on all five flights. They won in straight sets over Anna Maidment and Sofia Russo at Court 4 and Ilihia Huddleston and Riley Wagoner at Court 5. UH’s Kylin Loker and Jaime Santer at Court 2 and Sarah Penner and Megan Widener at Court 3 were still in action when the match was clinched.
Big West champion Cal Poly, the No. 12 seed, lost 3-2 to No. 5 Florida State.
Brian McInnis covers the state's sports scene for Spectrum News Hawaii.