BOCA RATON, Fla. – The Florida Atlantic University beach volleyball team had a year full of accolades and honors highlighted by the program sending a team to the National Collegiate Beach Pairs Championships.
“We had a lot of success this season,” said Capri Grotowski, FAU beach volleyball head coach. “We had some big wins and broke a lot of records. We had a player (Gabrielle Dischler) win her 50th career match this season, so there were alot of team and individual accomplishments.”
Head Coach Grotowski, in her third season in Boca Raton, led the Sandy Owls to a program-high 21 wins, including an 18-match winning streak, and advanced to the semifinals of the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association (CCSA) Tournament. At the CCSA tournament, Dischler and partner Candace Lacour were named to the all-tournament team.
“(Playing well at) the conference (tournament) was huge. (The CCSA) is probably one of the toughest conferences in the country,” said Grotowski. “We started off slow, but had a huge win against Georgia State to get out of pool play. I was very proud of the girls.”
After losing two of their first three matches of the season, the Sandy Owls went on an 18-match winning streak and reached a program high national ranking of no. 12. Sophomore tandem Nicole Grant and Nicole Navarro were named DiG Magazine National Pair of the Week after going 3-1 at the FIU Surf and Turf Tournament.
The duo of Jessalyn Kinlaw and Megan Rice also impressed this year, finishing at the top of FAU’s lineup with a 23-11 record. Rice and Kinlaw were named to the All-Conference team and also advanced to the National Collegiate Beach Pairs Championships.
Kinlaw and Rice competed at the Pair Championships and were competitive in all three matches despite both players nursing injuries. Rice’s wrist injury forced her to serve underhand, while Kinlaw was dealing with a hip problem that forced her to undergo surgery shortly after the season.
“(Jess and Megan) had a great time; they played well and gained some good experience. It’s a little frustrating that they were so beat up, but we look forward to sending a team out there every year.”
Grotowski and the Sandy Owls will return a majority of the team as at least nine of the 10 regular starters are back next season. The Owls also are adding several new players to the roster, which will be announced in the coming weeks.
“We will have most, if not all of our starters back (for 2018), and I’m excited to see what we can do,” said Grotowski.
For all the latest news and updates on FAU beach volleyball, visit www.FAUsports.com and follow the team on Twitter @FAUSandVB.