Former Minnesota Golden Gopher women’s volleyball player Paula Gentil (Forteleaza Ceara’, Brazil) teamed with former USC player Bibiana Candelas to win the 2006 Beach Volleyball Collegiate National Championships on Saturday, Apr. 22.
With the championship, Gentil and Candelas earned a spot on the AVP Beach Volleyball Tour this summer.
Gentil and Candelas earned the No. 1 seed between the four competing teams coming out of the preliminary rounds. The seed earned them a matchup with the fourth-seeded team of Lauren Brewster (Notre Dame) and Jessica Veris (Washington) in the semifinal round.
In that round, Gentil and Candelas won by scores of 18-21, 21-12, 15- 11 in 68 minutes. The victory advanced them to the finals to face the second-seeded team of Jennifer Abernathy (Arizona) and Victoria Prince (Hawai’i).
Gentil and Candelas won the championship match 21-18, 21-10 in 43 minutes over Abernathy and Prince to earn the AVP Tour spot.
Recaps courtesy of CSTV sports
Semifinal Match #1 Candelas / Gentil (seed 1) def. Brewster / Veris (seed 4), 18-21, 21- 12, 15-11 (68)
Game 1: Fourth-seeded Brewster / Veris surprised the top seeds, jumping out to a 7-3 lead, spurred on by an ace and a block by Brewster. But Candelas / Gentil were seeded first for a reason, and they showed it by going on a 6-2 run to tie the score at 9-9 when Candelas blocked a ball. The underdogs started to pull away again, going up 17-14 as Brewster was showing her versatility by scoring points on transition (digging a ball and then getting the ensuing kill). Candelas had back-to-back kills to tie the game at 18-18, but then Brewster / Veris scored the final three points to take game one. In round robin play, the team winning game one won the match five out of six times.
Game 2: Candelas / Gentil turned the tables, jumping out to a 7-4 lead. Brewster / Veris clawed back to tied it at 7-7, and had a swing to take the lead, but Candelas denied them with her only block of the game. Candelas / Gentil led 10-9, then closed out the game on an 11-3 run, made possible by the fact they cut their hitting errors down to two for the game (from seven in the first game). Candelas put down an overset on game point, as they won 21-12.
Game 3: After the first side change it was anyone's game, with Candelas / Gentil leading 3-2. At that point, though, Candelas used her 6-5 frame to her advantage in a big way. She killed an overpass to make the score 5-2, got another kill on the second contact the next point, then had a block to extend the lead to 7-2. Candelas / Gentil scored one more point (for a total of five unanswered) in taking an 8-2 edge. Brewster / Veris gave themselves little chance to get back into it as they both missed serves in falling behind 11-6. Gentil, who had an impressive seven digs in each of the three games, got the final kill to win the game 15-11.
Candelas / Gentil (seed 1) def. Abernathy / Prince (seed 2), 21-18, 21-10 (43)
Game 1: Fittingly, with the top two seeds playing, the match began with a good rally, ending when Prince blocked the ball. But that would be the only point for her team until the first sidechange, as Candelas / Gentil, who started on the "bad" side, went up 6-1. Gentil had two aces during that spurt, and the 1-0 lead that Abernathy / Prince began with would end up being the only time in the match that they would lead. Candelas scored a block to push the score to 14-8, then another to make it 19-14. Prince valiantly tried to make a comeback, getting a block to pull within three at 19-16, then got an ace for a 20-18 score. But Candelas closed the door with a kill on the next play, giving her team the win 21-18.
Game 2: Candelas / Gentil looked like a team worthy of being in the AVP Hermosa Beach Open presented by Bud Light in June. After having six combined hitting errors in the first game, the top seeds suffered just one in game two. Candelas / Gentil scored 11 points when serving, while allowing their opponents just one point while serving. During their romp they had many highlights, including a kill off an overset by Candelas to take a 12-5 lead, and a dig and ensuing kill by Gentil to make the score 14-6. Candelas had a pair of blocks in the game, the first making the score 15-6 and then shortly thereafter, stretching the lead to 17-7. Gentil ended the match with a kill, and the top seeds won convincingly 21-10.