Blue skies ahead for Liberty's men's and women's tandems
March 28, 2015 | Apex, N.C.
The future looks bright for Liberty University's men's and women's beach volleyball teams, which made their spring season debuts at Saturday's Blue Sky Tournament in Apex, N.C.
The women's AA division featured an all-Lady Flames final, with junior Samantha Evans and senior Tinsley Zentmeyer teaming up to defeat the duo of sophomore Britttany Tyree and junior Elissa Mulcahy in three games, 21-15, 19-21, 15-10.
"I was really, really proud of both of our teams," Liberty Head Coach Rachel Willis said. "It was a really fun match to watch. They were both so scrappy on defense. They had smiles on their faces the whole time so you can tell that they love the game."
Evans, a transfer from a community college in Florida where she played volleyball, complemented Zentmeyer well.
"She's a very solid player with a great base of all-around skills, she's very consistent, and, like Tinsley, she's a very tenacious player, so they are going to make great partners this year," Willis said. "I'm excited to see the progress of Brittany and Elissa this season and I expect them to take a doubles tournament title in the very near future."
Sophomore Emily Stotmeister and junior Rebecca Benson tied for fifth place in the AA division.
"The teams that played in this tournament play in open divisions up and down the East Coast all year, so they're very experienced," Willis said. "Aaron and Kaleb did an excellent job there."
"It was actually Mike Ragan's first tournament ever, so it was very ambitious of them to play in open, but they were game and they did a really good job," Willis said.
Liberty also entered two men's teams in the AA Division with senior Ryan Burtt and freshman Andrew Ray advancing out of their pool before losing in the quarterfinals and senior Ezra Kwame and sophomore Andrew Winn eliminated in pool play.
"I'm really excited about the promise and the talent that I saw come together with the teams," Willis said. "They obviously have a long way to go in terms of developing skill and consistency, but the things I saw them do on Saturday I was really pleased with."
Liberty will host two tournaments in April — the Liberty Invitational on April 18 featuring Beach South, a club team from Greensboro, N.C, and Virginia Tech, which has a brand new club team, and National Collegiate Sand Volleyball Association (NCSVA) Virginia Regional tournament on April 25.