Beach volleyball to use AVCA Pairs Championship placings as momentum for upcoming season


By Trevor Matthews, Staff Writer

TCU beach volleyball players Ana Vergara and Sutton MacTavish competed in the first-ever AVCA Pairs Championship last weekend in Huntsville, Alabama, winning the silver medal. Daniela Alvarez and Anhelina Khmil, another pair from TCU, finished in third place in the 17th bracket. 


“We had a really good showing a couple weeks ago at the West Coast Championships by getting a team all the way to the final and now, here at Huntsville, getting another team all the way to the final,” said head coach Hector Gutierrez. “We are really happy, of course, and we are showing that we are going to have a really competitive team this year. It’s a bummer to lose two finals in a row, but it just means that our players can compete with anyone in this country. We are really excited, and I think they are doing a really good job during this preseason.” 

The Tournament

The tournament was made up of pool play on Friday that would place and seed pairs for the single elimination championship on Saturday. 

On Friday, the duo of Vergara and MacTavish won their pool 3-0 with victories over FGCU (21-12, 18-21, 15-9), Georgia State (21-12, 21-10) and Stanford (21-18, 21-13).  

Alvarez and Khmil also won their pool 3-0. The pair didn’t drop a single set with wins over Arizona State (21-13, 21-9), LMU (21-11, 21-11) and Arizona (21-13, 21-14). 

Vergara and MacTavish stayed undefeated as they moved through the single elimination bracket. The duo beat USC (21-13, 21-16), Cal (21-19, 21-18) USC (23-21, 21-17) and Washington (21-18, 21-14) all in straight sets which cemented the duo’s spot in the finals.

The pairing faced off with LSU in the finals which ended in a loss (14-21, 21-19, 11-15). They dropped two of their three set losses on the weekend in the final matchup. The pair finished in 2nd place, bringing home a silver medal.  

On the other side, Alvarez and Khmil lost their first match of the day versus USC (19-21, 22-24). With this loss, the duo was bumped down into the 17th bracket, where they competed for the rest of the tournament.

The duo took two back to back victories over Pepperdine (21-13, 21-13) and Cal Poly (21-7, 21-16). Following these wins, the pairing lost to LMU (27-29, 21-11, 13-15).

“Overall, I think that the fall has been really successful for us,” Gutierrez said. “We’ve had two teams in the finals and everyone else is competing at a really high level with good finishes. It has been really good to watch and I’m really proud of them. We are really excited for the spring.” 

The pairs look to build off this momentum to prepare for the upcoming spring season.