Dons finish strong in conference tournament

Kassandra Zavala #14
Kassandra Zavala’s aces take the lead early in the set. Photo by Dominic Crenshaw.

Santa Ana beach volleyball wrapped up their season on Friday, April 28, in the Orange Empire Conference (OEC) tournament at Irvine Valley College. 

The tournament started on Wednesday, April 26, where SAC entered as fifth in the OEC standings. Five pairs entered the tournament for the Dons, while only two advanced to Friday. 

The two pairs that advanced were Kaiden Raif and Matilde Teixeira, Andrea Sanchez and Kassandra Zavala.

Andrea Sanchez and Kassandra Zavala getting a point after an intense and long rally. Photo by Dominic Crenshaw.

 “Both pairs played some tough teams,” said assistant coach Myriah Kunipo-Aguirre. “Despite not having the success we would have hoped for, this has been some of the best volleyball I have seen all season.” 

Friday was tough for both pairs as they fell in their opening matches, bringing them into a consolation bracket. 

This in turn forced both pairs to face each other. 

Teixeria and Raif prevailed over fellow teammates Sanchez and Zavala, with a score of 21-19 in set one and 21-13 in set two. 

However, Teixeria and Raif lost their final two matches and finished 12th in the tournament out of 64 duos.

Matilde Teixeira looking to serve an ace after siding out. Photo by Dominic Crenshaw.

“We started out well in conference early this season,” Teixeria said. “Halfway through the season, I feel that we took a step back. Consistency is key.”

The Dons finished their season at third place in their division with an overall record of 6-9-1, while 5-5 in conference. It’s the first .500 conference record in program history.

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