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Published: April 18, 2024

Tampa Beach Volleyball Repeats, Crowned AVCA Small College Champions for Fourth Time

Tampa beach volleyball repeats as AVCA National Champions for the first time in program history.

Tampa Beach Volleyball Repeats, Crowned AVCA Small College Champions for Fourth Time Tampa beach volleyball repeats as AVCA National Champions for the first time in program history. Photo courtesy of TampaSpartans.com

With the win, UT captured its fourth AVCA Small College Championship and went back-to-back for the first time in program history. The program is unbeaten in championship matches, boasting a perfect 4-0 record under head coach Jeff Lamm. After adding an additional title, the Spartans have now won four titles in its seven-year existence. However, more impressively, they have done it in just six seasons after the championships were canceled in 2020 due to COVID.

The following first appeared on the Tampa Spartans website:

The UT team started Sunday, April 14, off with their sights set on yet another appearance in the AVCA Small College Championships. However, UT first would have to face number three-seeded Colorado Mesa in the gold bracket semifinals, a rematch from the championship match a season ago.

Keely Hamilton and Madison Brunick, who were paired in the 2's brought home Tampa's first match with a straight-set win, 21-14, 21-14. Nevaeh Wolfe and Hailey Wolfe were the next pairing to finish and won in straight sets as well, 21-17, 21-17. Olivia Margolies and Payton Brunick fell in the 1's pairing after a tight second match which would cut the Spartans lead to 2-1. In the 4's, Cassidy Ehrie and Angel Williams won a tight first set, 23-21, and dominated the second set, 21-11 to give Tampa the 3-1 duel win over Colorado Mesa and book their spot in the championship match. With the win over Colorado Mesa, The University of Tampa beach volleyball team advanced to their second straight final and fourth in the program's existence.

Following the Spartan's win, Tampa would wait to see who would earn their place in the final between Concordia Irvine and Saint Leo. Ultimately, Concordia Irvine would prevail 3-1, placing their spot in the championship match versus Tampa at 2:15 p.m. The first time these two squads met was back in 2022 and since then have met only two times before today's matchup. The Golden Eagles defeated the Spartans the last time these two programs went head-to-head. 

Heading into the matchup, the two top-seeded teams at the championships, Tampa and Concordia Irvine both hoped to hoist the trophy when it was all said and done. Tampa had its eyes on lifting the trophy for back-to-back years, something that had never been done in the program's seven-year history while Concordia was motivated to lift the trophy for the very first time. 

Tampa started the championship match with wins in the first sets in all but the 2's match. Ehrie and Williams won the first set with ease in the 4's, 21-11, and would go on to win the second set, 21-19 to give UT the 1-0 advantage. The next match to finish was the 1's pairing with Margolies and Brunick. The pair battled through a very tight contest and would come out on the winning end, 21-19, 24-22 to put Tampa one win away from clinching the duel and the program's fourth title. However, the Golden Eagles would fight back and start to gain momentum throughout the remaining matches.

After falling in the first set, Hamilton and Brunick would respond with a commanding second-set victory, 21-9 but would go down in the third set, 15-7. With the win, Concordia Irvine cut the deficit to just one. In the 3's the Wolfes would win the first set 21-14 but lose the second, 21-16 forcing a third set. After a back-and-forth third set in the 3's the Wolfes would fall 15-12 with the match coming down to the 5's pairing. Bayes and Peterson, who had been phenomenal all weekend in their first appearance at the championships won the first set with ease 21-13. The freshman pairing fell in the second set, 21-17 with the match being decided in the third set. Bayes and Peterson would battle and eventually pull away, 15-11 clinching the duel and championship victory for the Spartans.


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