Sophomore Jackie Wegner (pictures) and freshman Tea Juric open play in the AVCA College Sand Volleyball National Championship on Friday in Gulf Shores, Ala.
May 1, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - The Green Wave tandem of sophomore Jackie Wegner and freshman Tea Juric will take to the dunes for a chance at a national title as the Tulane University duo open play in the 2014 AVCA College Sand Volleyball National Championship on Friday in Gulf Shores, Ala.
Juric and Wegner, the first Tulane team to be invited to the postseason since sand volleyball was announced as an emerging sport three years ago, were one of 10 doubles teams identified as "The Best of the Rest" from programs not included in the team portion of the championship tournament. The three-day event will conclude on Sunday, May 4.
"It's a tremendous honor for our players to be considered among some of the best pairs in the country and an excellent opportunity to compete against the best," first-year Tulane head coach Wayne Holly said. "We identified in the preseason a goal to have Tulane University represented at this tournament and we have accomplished that. We're looking forward to competing against some of the best. That's why we train so hard all season long."
Juric and Wegner head to the AVCA Championship have posted a combined 18-12 overall record, including an 8-7 mark in dual-match play as Tulane's top tandem. The duo helped the Green Wave complete the regular season 8-7, wrapping up the programs third varsity campaign with consecutive 3-2 wins over ULM and UAB last Sunday in Birmingham, Ala.
In pairs play, Juric and Wegner sport a 10-5 mark, most recently going 2-2 at the Fiesta at Siesta Key from April 12-13 in Siesta Key, Fla. The duo also posted a 3-2 mark in pairs play during the Tulane Pelican Classic on April 5 at Coconut Beach in Kenner, La., and won the Upper Division Pairs Bracket at the Stetson Spring Break Tournament on March 8.
"Jackie and Tea have come a long way in their development this season and would not be in the position they are without a commitment to making changes and without their teammates competing against them every day in practice," Holly said. "This really is a team accomplishment."
Juric and Wegner were named to Pool B of the Best of the Rest, joining North Florida's Dagnija Medina and Kim Hildreth, Grand Canyon's Kenzie Phelps and Kelli Dallmann, Long Beach State's Tyler Jackson and Janisa Johnson, and Saint Mary's Jordan Shaw and Samantha Tinsley. In Pool A will be Long Beach State's Delainey Aigner-Swesey and Bojana Tordorovic, ULM's Zuzana Markova and Marcela Araya, Jacksonville's Taylor Nyquist and Sammie Strausbaugh, Loyola Marymount's Betsi Metter and Litara Keil along with UAB's Kiriana Hirini and Bethanie Thomas.
The Pairs Championship will begin with the Best of the Rest duos engaged in pool play on May 2-3 and the top two finishers will be seeded into May 4's 16-team, single-elimination bracket. While the Best of the Rest are doing battle, the team title will be up for grabs at the same time as Florida International, Florida State, Hawai'i, Pepperdine, Southern Cal and Stetson will square off for the national championship.
The six top pairs from the team championship and the top two from the four semifinalists will be entered into the Pairs Championship bracket, and a play-in contest will be held for the final two positions. First-round matches for the Pairs Championship will start at 8 a.m. (CDT) with semifinals slated for noon and the championship scheduled for 2 p.m. The AVCA College Sand Volleyball National Championship will be covered by CBS Sports Network with two-hour specials airing on May 26 at 6 p.m., May 30 at 6:30 p.m. and June 2 and 6 p.m.