WILMINGTON, North Carolina – The UNCW volleyball team recently completed its spring training schedule by hosting the program’s first UNCW Sandblast Volleyball Tournament.  

A total of 19 teams representing UNCW, Campbell, UNCG and Winthrop took part in the event, held on Saturday, April 13, at the Kure Beach/Ft. Fisher State Recreational Beach. 

“Overall, the UNCW Sandblast was a fantastic day for Seahawk Volleyball,” said UNCW Head Coach Amy Bambenek. “We had great support from our fans and our parents once again made sure that all of the visiting teams felt right at home.  We have heard nothing but exceptional feedback from all the participants and coaches, so we are really hoping this is an event that we can make even bigger and better for next year.” 

UNCW had a fantastic showing in the tournament as five of its seven teams advanced into the Gold Bracket with all five tandems vying for the 2013 Sandblast Championship. The pairing of rising junior McKenzie Keightley and rising sophomore Victoria Phillips highlighted the Seahawks day on the sand as they recorded a stellar third-place finish. The duo fell in the semifinals to Karrian Chambers and Emily McMurtrey of UNCG, who finished second overall to tournament champions and Spartan teammates Katherine Santiago, Morgan Freeman and Julia Westerbur. 

UNCW had two teams play for the Bronze bracket title as rising sophomores Kaitlyn Cobb and Meredith Peacock would be pitted against rising senior Siera Young and rising junior Sarah Fitzgerald.  The tandem of Cobb and Peacock would come out on top with a closely contested result of 21-14. 

The UNCG pairing of Olivia Humpries and Kellie Orewiler took the Silver bracket championship with a score of 21-19 over the pairing of Jessica Codato and Julia Ferreira-Alves from Winthrop.

“I’m so proud of the effort our girls showed,” said Bambenek. “For only getting five days to train in the sand is quite the task to compete at this high of a level, but its spring and its all for fun right now.  I know the girls will pull the necessary information out of this experience to make it applicable for all of their indoor games.  This was the perfect finish to an already exciting spring season; everyone is looking forward to next fall.”