CHULA VISTA - Two days after capturing a state title with their Grossmont College teammates at the 2019 CCCAA Women's Beach Volleyball Championships at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center, Ashlee Goycoochea and Alexcis Morris added another banner on Saturday when they edged talented Kaylin Henderson and Mapuhalo Sekona from West Valley College in three exciting sets, 21-19, 18-21 and 16-14, to win the pairs championship.
The exciting final culminated a pairs competition in which both teams swept through their respective pools with undefeated records on Friday and then through three rounds of bracket play on Saturday to reach the championship while both surviving tough semifinal challenges. So, it's no surprise that they engaged in a thrilling three-set battle after having to wait out several weather delays that pushed back the start of the championship match by nearly two hours.
But once things got started, neither team was able to take full control of the match with never more than a few points separating them throughout. When Goycoochea and Morris were finally able to secure the winning point, it set off a celebration that gave the Griffins their first individual championships in the five-year history of CCCAA Beach Volleyball.
Goycoochea and Morris paved their way to the final with a trio of straight-set wins on Saturday. They opened their day with a 21-13, 21-13 win over Kaitlyn Peterson-Elsa Woods from Long Beach City, then turned back Kayla Boatright and Halie Hess from MiraCosta in the quarterfinals. Ashtyn Lyneis and Kelsey Smith from College of the Desert gave the Grossmont duo their toughest competition to that point when they extended them in the first set of their semifinal before finally falling, 26-24. Goycoochea-Morris then won the second set, 21-17, to punch their ticket to the championship.
Sekona and Henderson, meanwhile, steamrolled their way through the round of 16 and the quarterfinals against Grossmont's Desiree Elizondo-Aofiaolela Faa'agi and then Chloe Howard-Maddy Howard from Feather River, respectively, to earn a spot in the semifinals against Renata Bath-Lea Kruse from Irvine Valley in the semifinals. It was in that matchup that Sekona and Henderson finally lost their first set of the tournament, 21-19, before rallying to win 21-15 and 15-13 to move into the title match.
Thirty-two teams began the pairs tournament.