FIU duo wins Saturday sand tourney

The tournament included teams from UH, Florida International, Hawai‘i Pacific, and Chaminade in a 16-team main draw and consolation bracket.

The 16-team, single-elimination main draw was an all-FIU final with top-seeds Kate Stepanova and Ksenia Sukhareva defeating third-seeded Jess Mendoza/Maryna Samoday, 21-13, 19-21, 15-7. Both FIU teams defeated Hawai‘i teams in the semifinals en route to the finals.

Stepanova and Sukhareva ousted Natasha Bell and Tai Manu-Olevao, 21-19, 21-16 while Mendoza and Samoday easily handled Katie Spieler and Ginger Long, 21-12, 21-15. In the all-UH third place match, Spieler and Long won in straight sets, 21-10, 21-16.

In the quarterfinals, Stepanova and Sukhareva needed three sets to dispatch UH’s Ali Longo and Karlee Riggs, 21-11, 18-21, 15-10. Longo tallied 21 kills, out-dueling Stepanova, who finished with 20. Spieler and Long advanced to the semifinals with a come-from-behind 19-21, 21-11, 15-13 victory over FIU’s Emily Podschweit and Tina Toghyani in the quarters. In that match, Long posted a tournament-high 25 kills while Spieler recorded 17 kills and 22 digs.

In the finals, Stepanova and Sukhareva dominated the opening set before letting Set 2 slip away. The duo put things together in the deciding set, outscoring their teammates 7-1 to close out the match. Sukhareva pounded 20 kills while Stephanova had 17.

Championship Bracket (single elimination)

Round of 16

#1 Kate Stepanova/Ksenia Sukhareva (FIU) def. #16 Brenda Walker/Regina Johnson (CU), 21-7, 21-5

#9 Ali Longo/Karlee Riggs (UH) def. #8 Maria Coukoulis/Elly Citron (FIU), 21-10, 21-13

#4 Natasha Bell/Tai Manu-Olevao (UH) def. #13 Kim Spring/Athena Maskarich (CU), 21-16, 21-9

#5 Samantha Rummans/Chelsey Buyuan (HPU) def. #12 Camila Rosado/Jess Gehrke (FIU), 21-12, 21-13

#11 Jane Croson/Ashley Kastl (UH) def. #6 Pihana Kea/Amanda Moriarty (HPU), 21-13, 21-9

#7 Emily Podschweit/Tina Toghyani (FIU) def. #10 Ku‘ulei Zalopany/Olivia Urban (UH), 21-9, 17-21, 15-13

#3 Jess Mendoza/Maryna Samoday (FIU) def. #14 Haley Doerfler/Jamie Asuncion (HPU), 21-12, 21-10

#2 Katie Spieler/Ginger Long (UH) def. #15 Valentina Bevilacqua/Darcie Horiuchi (CU), 21-15, 21-8


#1 Kate Stepanova/Ksenia Sukhareva (FIU) def. #9 Ali Longo/Karlee Riggs (UH), 21-11, 18-21, 15-10

#4 Natasha Bell/Tai Manu-Olevao (UH) def. #5 Samantha Rummans/Chelsey Buyuan (HPU), 21-18, 21-19

#3 Jess Mendoza/Maryna Samoday (FIU) def. #11 Jane Croson/Ashley Kastl (UH), 21-16, 21-13

#2 Katie Spieler/Ginger Long (UH) def. #7 Emily Podschweit/Tina Toghyani (FIU), 19-21, 21-11, 15-13


#1 Kate Stepanova/Ksenia Sukhareva (FIU) def. #4 Natasha Bell/Tai Manu-Olevao (UH), 21-19, 21-16

#3 Jess Mendoza/Maryna Samoday (FIU) def. #2 Katie Spieler/Ginger Long (UH), 21-12, 21-15


#1 Kate Stepanova/Ksenia Sukhareva (FIU) def. #3 Jess Mendoza/Maryna Samoday (FIU), 21-13, 19-21, 15-7

3rd Place Match:

#2 Katie Spieler/Ginger Long (UH) def. #4 Natasha Bell/Tai Manu-Olevao (UH), 21-10, 21-16

Consolation Bracket

Maria Coukoulis/Elly Citron (FIU) def. Brenda Walker/Regina Johnson (CU), 21-12, 21-19

Camila Rosado/Jess Gehrke (FIU) def. Kim Spring/Athena Maskarich (CU), 21-10, 21-18

Ku‘ulei Zalopany/Olivia Urban (UH) def. Pihana Kea/Amanda Moriarty (HPU), 21-14, 24-22

Haley Doerfler/Jamie Asuncion (HPU) def. Valentina Bevilacqua/Darcie Horiuchi (CU), 21-15, 21-13

Camila Rosado/Jess Gehrke (FIU) def. Brenda Walker/Regina Johnson (CU), 21-15, 21-7

Ali Longo/Karlee Riggs (UH) def. Samantha Rummans/Chelsey Buyuan (HPU), 21-11, 17-21, 15-13

Pihana Kea/Amanda Moriarty (HPU) def. Valentina Bevilacqua/Darcie Horiuchi (CU), 21-16, 21-8

Jane Croson/Ashley Kastl (UH) def. Emily Podschweit/Tina Toghyani (FIU), 16-21, 21-15, 16-14

Ku‘ulei Zalopany/Olivia Urban (UH) def. Haley Doerfler/Jamie Asuncion (HPU), 21-23, 21-19, 15-9


  1. warriorfan March 16, 2013 5:59 pm

    Looks like UH’s best duo may end up being Longo/Riggs.
    I wonder if Scott would pair up Longo/Croson?

  2. mainlandgal March 16, 2013 7:16 pm

    warriorfan, I agree, Longo/Riggs were an impressive pair on the sand today. Why split up a pair that are playing great together? They seem to be gelling on the court better and better each match. Lets not wonder what Scott is going to do with Croson, apparently she is not in the mix as she showed another lack-luster performance today. This may not be her season. Lets let others take the lime-light for a while. Seems Longo/Riggs are well deserving at this point.

  3. warriorfan March 16, 2013 7:24 pm

    Croson is the type of player that always comes up big when it matters most though, there’s a reason she is a returning all american and junior beach champion.

  4. mainlandgal March 17, 2013 4:21 am

    True, I’ll give her that. Let’s just not forget other UH Sand teammates that play just as hard and play just as good and deserve the recognition just as much.

    All in all, UH Sand Volleyball is off to a great start. They’ve got a tough couple of weeks ahead of them with travel, USC, LBSU, UCLA, Nebraska, etc. As always, GO BOWS!!!

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