LOS ANGELES – The Utah beach volleyball team dropped a pair of matches at the Pac-12 South Invitational on Saturday, falling to Arizona State and #12 California. Utah’s top pair of Amaya Messier and Katie McAlister picked up Utah’s point against the Sun Devils in the first match, while the duo nearly upset the top duo from Cal to round out the day.
Utah 1, Arizona State 4
Utah began the Pac-12 South Invitational against Arizona State, which is receiving votes in the latest AVCA Poll. The Utes began with courts two and four in the first wave of matches where both pairs would battle in three-set matches. On court two, Bella Vezzani and Grace Andrews fell 21-13 in the first set, but bounced back in a 21-17 win. In the meantime, Kylie Pitzak and Sydney Jacinto downed ASU’s fourth pair 23-21 in the opening set and after a narrow 21-19 loss, the Utes were sent to a third set as well.
Both Sun Devil duos took the third sets over the Utes to pull ahead 2-0 in the dual match. Savannah Cottam and Sonja Wessel fell 21-14, 21-12 as ASU clinched the match on court five. Getting Utah on the board was the top pairing of Amaya Messier and Katie McAlister, who earned a straight-set win (21-16, 21-17). The Sun Devils also took the win on court three to win the match 4-1.
Utah 0, Cal 5
Utah closed out the opening day in Los Angeles with a match against #12 California where the Utes fell 5-0. Cal took wins on courts two and four to jump out to a 2-0 lead early on. The duos of Cottam/Wessel and Messier/McAlister played competitive first sets to try and spark the Utes as both trailed 12-9 early on. Messier and McAlister later trailed just 17-16 in the first set, but the Golden Bears top duo closed out the set with a 21-17 win.
Cal’s duo on court three pulled ahead quickly with a 21-6 first-set win, but Koch and Karich fought back in the second set. After going back and forth to start, Karich and Koch fell behind 14-10, but the Bears went on to clinch the dual on court three with a 21-13 win. Cal picked up the 21-13, 21-13 win on court five to earn its fourth point.
Messier and McAlister pulled ahead 19-16 in the second set, but the Bears managed to tie it up 19-19. Utah’s top duo countered and pulled out the 21-19 win to force a third set. The Utes led 6-4 early in the third set, but fell behind 8-7 at the halfway point. Later…
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