Stanford grads Brittany Howard and Alix Klineman will have to settle for a third-place tie in the AVP San Francisco Open beach volleyball tournament, which ended Sunday.
Howard and teammate Kelly Reeves, seeded eighth, fell to top-seeded Betsi Flint and Emily Day, 21-14, 21-13, in the semifinals while second-seeded Klineman and teammate April Ross lost to fourth-seeded Caitlin Ledoux and Genee Urango, 21-19, 21-15, in the other semifinal.
The third-place finish brings 540 ranking points and a check for $7,000. For Howard and Reeves, it's also a career-high finish.
“We’ve worked really hard this week to iron out some kinks we were running into,” Howard said in Saturday's post-match interview. “Different things that have come up. The biggest thing that we worked on was just trusting ourselves and trusting each other in the way that we train and not having any concerns or doubts, just playing the way we know how.”
Flint and Day, who lost to Howard and Reeves on Friday, were business-like in sweeping the semifinal. Flint recorded 13 kills, 11 digs and two aces while hitting .333. Day had 13 kills, six digs, three blocks and one ace while hitting .458.
Howard recorded 11 kills and had a block and hit .242 while Reeves had five kills, nine digs and an .071 hitting percentage.
Ledoux and Urango caught fire after being knocked into the contender's bracket by Howard and Reeves, winning three straight to reach the championship. Their combined five aces were a big factor in the win. Both teams recorded 20 kills and were close in digs (Klineman-Ross with an 11-10 edge) and blocks (Ledoux with four to Klineman's 3).
Klineman, last year's AVP Rookie of the Year, was returning to action after taking time off to rest a cranky shoulder. She and Ross won an AVP title in Texas earlier this year and both have experienced much success indoor and on the beach.