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Waves Sand Volleyball Team Wins Second AVCA National Championship

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For the second time in three seasons, the Pepperdine women’s sand volleyball team raised the AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championship trophy after defeating Florida State University (FSU) 3-2 in Gulf Shores, Alabama, last spring.

The Waves relied on Becca Strehlow and Lara Dykstra to clinch the dual in the final match of the afternoon. Tied 2-2, it came down to Strehlow and Dykstra, who beat FSU’s Stephanie and Kristina Pellitteri in straight—albeit painstakingly close—sets.

The team’s top-two pairs, including Kelley Larsen and Kellie Woolever, as well as Strehlow and Dykstra, competed in the pairs championship and reached the quarterfinals of the AVCA National Pairs Championship, earning All-American status.

Pepperdine leads all sand volleyball programs with 12 All-American selections divided amongst eight student-athletes. Dykstra became a two-time All-American, joining first-year Summer Ross, Kim Hill (’12), Lilla Frederick (’13), and Caitlin Racich (’14).

Strehlow now holds a special place in program history, becoming the Waves’ second student-athlete to achieve All-American status in both indoor and sand volleyball in a single season. As an indoor player, the sophomore setter was an honorable mention All-American.

Waves women’s sand volleyball first took the national title in 2012, the team’s inaugural year as part of the athletics program at Pepperdine, becoming the first women’s team at Pepperdine to capture a national title.

That year, after defeating Long Beach State in the finals, 5-0, Pepperdine’s four All-Americans concluded the AVCA Collegiate Sand National Championship with the pairs tournament, where Caitlin Racich and Summer Ross came up with a giant come-from-behind effort in the finals to capture the first-ever national pairs title.

See the women’s sand volleyball team in the AVCA National Championship: magazine.pepperdine.edu/womens-sand-volleyball