SARATOGA, Calif. - Five months after helping Irvine Valley College capture a state volleyball championship indoors, Megan Ramseyer and Taira Ka'awaloa took to the sand to add another as the duo captured the 2018 California Community College Athletic Association Beach Volleyball Pairs championship with a straight-set win over Josannah Vazquez and Sierra Davis at West Valley College on Saturday afternoon.
Ramseyer-Ka'awaloa posted a 22-20, 21-18 victory during a wind-swept championship match, culminating a day that also featured wins over Long Beach City's Jessica Kaeka and Brooklin Mize (22-24, 21-13 18-16), Cabrillo's Hayley Hall and Deirdre Wilson (21-12, 21-19), and MiraCosta's Michelle Mason and Claudia Mathews (23-21, 21-18).
"I think the last two days we had a hard time starting out strong and the difference today was we started out every match a lot stronger, so it kind of gave us some momentum from the beginning," Ramseyer said. "We were able to finish and just carry it over into the next match. And we definitely took every match very seriously."
Conditions were ideal for the duration of the three-day tournament but a persistent wind made an appearance right on cue for the championship, forcing both teams to adapt.
"I think we controlled it pretty good," Ka'awaloa
Irvine Valley coach Mike Cram said one of the keys for his Lasers pair was taking advantage of the conditions when the opportunity presented itself.
"The main thing was to keep the ball in play," he said. "(Long Beach) just kept playing steady and I think the difference was when we got on the good side we made a little run there with our serving and it really made a difference for us there in that game. It gave us enough cushion at the end when it got hairy."
Ramseyer-Ka'awaloa held leads in both sets but Vaquez-Davis rallied in each one to push the games to the brink. Vasquez and Davis's road to the championship was paved by wins over Antelope Valley's Jasmine Dixon-Heather Emory (21-16, 21-13), El Camino's Phina Leilua-Aiko Waters (21-16, 18-21, 15-12) and MiraCosta's Claire Kinder and Chloe Tripp (21-19, 21-19).
Cram was proud of his team's approach after it went 2-1 during pool play on Friday.
"Yesterday, they didn't have a very good day and it could've been easy to just kind of take it on in," he said. "But the girls today came in and they were really focused and they had a very good first match, and I think it gave them a good attitude. It made them feel that they could do better.
"They actually had their best match of the tournament today and it was lucky. Some days you have it on another day but they had it today."
The match capped a great weekend of championship beach volleyball, now in its third year of CCCAA sponsorship. Cabrillo beat MiraCosta to claim the team title on Thursday before 32 teams embarked on a grueling trip through pool play on Friday, setting up Saturday's exciting action.
(Mike Robles, CCCAA)