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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Hittle, Brandt third on the beach

Advertiser Staff

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser
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Former Rainbow Wahine players Tara Hittle and Stephanie Brandt took third at last weekend's College Beach Volleyball Championship. The $5,000 tournament was run in conjunction with the AVP's Santa Barbara Open.

Hittle and Brandt, both all-conference players during their Hawai'i careers, started training in March. Hittle had never played a beach tournament before and this was Brandt's first since last year's College Championship.

They were seeded first in their pool and finished third, but won all their playoff matches to reach Sunday's semifinals. There they fell to Delaware's Stephanie Barry and Colleen Walsh, 21-16, 21-18. The top-seeded team of Emily Day and Heather Hughes, from Loyola Marymount, beat Barry and Walsh in the final, 21-16, 21-19.

Brandt and Hittle won $250 apiece. Brandt graduates this month and plans to pursue a master's degree in Marketing, and play more volleyball, at Durham University in England. Hittle has been helping Rainbow Wahine basketball while doing her student teaching.

The College Beach Volleyball Championship is part of The Alt Games: College Action Sports Championships, an annual showcase of college action sports now in its fifth year. In previous years, the beach volleyball format featured players with eligibility remaining and each team had multiple doubles squads who earned points.

CBS College Sports Network will feature 10 weeks of sports specific Alt Games coverage. Beach volleyball semifinal coverage will air May 16 and 20, with finals coverage May 30. Action will also be included in a 1-hour Alt Games highlight show airing on CBS Sports June 19.

Tomorrow's NCAA Men's Volleyball Championship semifinals will have second-seeded Cal State Northridge taking on third-seeded Penn State, and top-seeded Stanford facing fourth-seeded Ohio State. The semifinals and Saturday's final will be played at Stanford.

The Cardinal (22-6) earned an automatic bid by winning the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, after defeating Hawai'i in the semifinals. Northridge (23-9) was the MPSF runner-up and got the at-large bid. Ohio State (22-7) won the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association and Penn State (23-7) captured the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association.

Both semifinals are scheduled to be broadcast live tomorrow on ESPNU, starting with Northridge-PSU at 3 p.m. The first match is also scheduled to be shown live on ESPN2. Saturday's national championship is scheduled to be shown live at 1 p.m. HST on ESPN2.