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Mt. SAC Pairs DeGroot/Gutowski and Whiteman/Christelman finish strong at 3C2A State Beach Volleyball Championships

Mt. SAC Pairs DeGroot/Gutowski and Whiteman/Christelman finish strong at 3C2A State Beach Volleyball Championships

(Saratoga, CA) As the conclusion of the most successful Beach Volleyball season in program history comes to an end, Mt. SAC was well represented at the 3C2A State Pairs Championships on Friday and Saturday (May 12, 13) at West Valley College.

The team of Riley DeGroot/Paige Gutowski, which came out of the 3C2A So Cal's in the No. 7 position, advanced all the way to the Round of 16. They were 2-1 in pool play.

The team of Allison Whiteman/Bristol Christelman, who finished in the No. 9 position in SoCal's, were 1-2 in pool play and came oh, so close to also advancing to the Round of 16 on the second day of the championships along with their teammates.

"It was awesome for all of us (coaches and players) to experience state for the first time," Mt. SAC Beach Volleyball coach Danielle Diaz said. "It was a memorable experience and I'm so proud of the two pairs who were able to qualify and continue to play for one last weekend.

"It was a season I'll never forget, and I'm so blessed to have gone through it with this specific team." 

On the first of the two-day championships, all the pairs had three matches, some of them of which were back-to-back.

There were eight pools joined from the North and South. The North had 12 teams and the South qualified 20 teams, with a total of 64 competitors.

The top two teams of each pool qualified for the second day, which was the round of 16.

Both South 9 Seed Whiteman/Christelman and South No. 7 Seed DeGroot/Gutowski competed in the morning wave, which was Pool 8 and Pool 2, respectively, with 16 competitors.

Whiteman/Christelman drew a tough first match, going up against the top pairs team in the South, Madison Bogel/Alana Embry of Grossmont. The Mounties lost 17-21, 8-21. Bogel/Embry was the eventual 3C2A State Champions.

Whiteman/Christelman won their next set in three games against the No. 8 team from Hartnell, 18-21, 21-15, 15-11, to even their matches on the day, 1-1.

The third and deciding set also went three games against the No. 19 Seed from Orange Coast College. Whiteman/Christelman finished their college careers at Mt. SAC, as they fell in another three-set match, 25-23, 7-21, 13-15. They needed to win that set to advance to the Round of 16.

"It was a long first day of three matches back-to-back and it was unfortunate that Allison Whiteman) and Bristol (Christelman) couldn't advance to the top 16," Diaz said. "But that last game they played in (13-15 loss), I can confidently say they played 110 percent and as a coach that's all I can ask for."

The path to the Round of 16 on Saturday by South 7 Seed DeGroot/Gutowski, started on Friday with a 2-1 record, which qualified them for the finals.

They won their first two sets against the South No. 18 Miramar pair, 16-21, 21-16, 15-5 and South No. 10 Fresno City College 21-10, 21-15, for a 2-0 start in matches.

They lost their third and final match to North No. 2 Cabrillo, 20-22, 13-21, but already qualified for the finals on Saturday.

On Saturday, DeGroot/Gutowski were just three wins from a state title, but fell in a close three-set match in the Round of 16 to North No. 1 Seed Fresno City, 21-18, 17-21, 13-15.

"Riley (DeGroot) and Paige (Gutowski) qualified for day two, making the top 16 which was incredible," Diaz said. "Unfortunately, they lost their first match in a close three-set match.

"Paige was the only freshman out of the four Mt. SAC competitors, and we talked about how awesome it was that she was able to experience what state is all about in her freshman year and that next year she'll know what to expect and will be more ready for it. It's sad to wrap up the end of an amazing season, but I know these sophomores are going to go off and continue to do amazing things in their volleyball career."