Tuesday, April 22, 2008


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Finishing in second place was the University of Miami, while the University of South Florida claimed third place.

4/22/2008 -SIESTA KEY, Fla. - Florida Atlantic University captured the inaugural Commissioner's Cup as the champions of the Division I Florida Invitational Beach Volleyball Tournament. The event was held April 19, 2008 in Siesta Key, Fla.

Finishing in second place was the University of Miami, while the University of South Florida claimed third place.

"I thought this was an exciting event for the players, the coaches and the fans," said Clair Lessinger, South Florida head coach. "The athletes enjoyed the cross training and the tournament was an ideal way to finish up our spring tournament. It was a beautiful day, great location, well organized, and a competitive arena - we couldn't have asked for anything more."

"The College Beach tournament was a great experience for everyone involved - coaches, players and spectators, thanks to tournament directors Dave and Rebecca Carstenson and Chris Colgan of Dig the Beach," said Nikki Shade, South Florida assistant coach. "While some athletes excelled technically, it was apparent that all players improved over the course of the day. The tournament format of pool play followed by bracket play in the three separate divisions allowed each team to face opponents with a variety of skill levels early and then compete against teams of a similar level for divisional championships."

Teams earned points towards the Commissioner's Cup in pool play, with the team scoring the most points in pool play winning the cup.

The teams of Casey LaRocca/Morgan Johns, Kale Abdell/Malory Deneen, Katie Arvidson/Katie Evanyo and Krystena Castor/Paige Depriest led Florida Atlantic to a one-point win in pool play over Maria Andersson/Bridget Bomhack, Cassie Loessberg/Ashley Woods, Katie Gallagher/Genny Mayhew, Ariell Cooke/Christine Williamson, Tatiana Alvarez/Angelica Ellis and Lici McGee/Griffin Udelson of Miami.

"We played really well considering that the girls only had a couple of chances to practice as a team before the actual tournament," said Jody Brown, FAU volleyball head coach. "The tournament was excellent. It was a quality event. The level of play was even higher than I expected. We had a lot of interest from people who were on the beach."

Other teams participating in the event were Mississippi State University, the University of North Florida and Webber International University.

After pool play was completed, the teams were then reseeded into three different divisions. The top two teams from each pool went into the Gold Division, the next two went into the Silver Division, and the final two went into the Bronze Division. They were seeded first by record, and then by total points allowed.

In the Gold Division, Mississippi State's tandem of Dorey Gray and Eva Kreigle were the winners by beating out Miami's Cassie Loesberg and Ashley Woods.

North Florida's Bary Rasmussen and Lakey Read defeated Mississippi State's Christina Jucan and Stefanie Joyner to take the top prize in the Silver Division.

Miami's Tatiana Alvarez and Angelica Ellis took the Bronze Division over South Florida's Nakia Williams and Rachel Matos.

"The event was wonderful," said Kevin Campbell, North Florida head coach. "It was a great expression of athleticism, as well as a time where universities spent a day together not only competing, but enjoying the camaraderie that a day on the beach together brings. It was a wonderful event for the spring season and I would love to have UNF participate in one of these beach events annually."

"Working with Chris Colgan and his Dig the Beach pro tour was great because they made the coaches and kids feel very special," said Carstenson, the event's director and promoter. "Good strong competition and a great beach at Siesta Key made it a great ending to the collegiate beach season in the Sunshine State."

Division I Florida Invitational Beach Volleyball Tournament
Results - April 19, 2008

Commissioner's Cup Winner
1st Florida Atlantic - Champion*
2nd Miami
3rd South Florida

Division I Florida Invitational Beach Volleyball Tournament Facts
* There were 64 total matches played on five courts.
* A total of 51 athletes participated.
* The number of teams per school broke down as follows:
- Florida Atlantic - 4
- Miami -6
- Webber -3
- North Florida -2
- South Florida - 6
- Mississippi State - 4

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