Aubrey Ezell’s summer volleyball journey ended with a fifth-place finish in the Gold Bracket of the USA Volleyball Beach Junior National Championships in Milwaukee.
Teamed with Haley Tippett for the first time, they won seven of their nine matches. It was also their first time to play in the prestigious tournament.
“We’re good friends, and when her partner got hurt the week before, we just decided to play together,” said Ezell, a junior on the Granbury Lady Pirates.
Ezell and Tippett won five of six games in pool play, beginning with 21-18, 22-20, 21-13 and 21-15 victories. Then, they met the duo of Chang and Lyons, falling 21-13 before winning the second game 21-16.
In the next round, the Gold Contention A Pool, Ezell and Tippett won 21-18, 21-18. That set up a rematch with Chang and Lyons in the quarterfinal round of bracket play.
The match was close, with Chang and Lyons holding on for a 21-19 win.
“That was an intense match,” said Ezell. “It could have gone either way.”
Ezell said the outdoor event made for interesting challenges.
“The sand was different than what I’m used to. It was hard to jump out of,” she said. “Up in Wisconsin it’s windy, so we also had to deal with that. But you just have to go up against it.
“On one side you’d have the wind with you, and typically you like the wind against you. Then your serve will just drop in.
“But it was a fantastic time. I had so much fun. Now it’s time to get ready for the high school season.”
Ezell and the Lady Pirates open the 2013 season Aug. 12 at home against Mansfield Lake Ridge. On Aug. 14 they will travel to Hawaii for a tournament.
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