Westminster Christian beach volleyball loses state final after two-day, four-match grind

The Westminster Christian beach volleyball team poses with the state runner-up trophy on Saturday in Tallahassee after losing in the state final against New Smyrna Beach.

Call them the “Marathon Girls.”

The Westminster Christian Warriors beach volleyball team played four do-or-die playoff matches in an exhausting 26-hour period this past weekend in Tallahassee. The Warriors, ranked ninth in Florida by MaxPreps, won three of those matches to finish second at state.

“Anytime you lose, it’s tough,” said Westminster coach and former University of Miami standout Sylvia Guso (nee Hernandez). “But our team fought hard the whole time.”

To start its run at state, Westminster (19-2) defeated St. Thomas Aquinas, 3-2, on Friday afternoon in a match delayed for three hours due to lightning.

Later that night, Westminster upset second-ranked Hagerty, 3-0, in a match that ended at about 10:30 p.m.

After the match, there was only time for a shower, a quick meal, some sleep and right back to the courts on Saturday at 10 a.m., which is when Westminster upset fourth-ranked Vero Beach, 3-0. That avenged Westminster’s only regular-season loss, having been defeated by Vero Beach back in March.

Finally, on Saturday afternoon, Westminster lost 3-0 to top-ranked New Smyrna Beach, which finished a great season with an undefeated 28-0 record. In fact, New Smyrna Beach is ranked No. 2 nationally.

Westminster, which fielded a young team, was led by its top duo comprised of the Matias sisters, senior Emily and sophomore Zoey. The Cadavid sisters – senior Alyah and junior Alyssa – were Westminster’s second team.

At No. 3, the Warriors used sophomore Francesca Pazmino and freshman Cassie Thomas. They were followed at No. 4 by freshmen Gigi Artiles and Alex Washington. At No. 5, the Warriors used eighth-grader Alyana Cadavid and junior Gia Romano.

Emily Matias will play indoor volleyball next season for FIU. Alyah Cadavid will play next season for Winthrop University, a Division I school located in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Everyone else figures to return to the Warriors for the 2024 beach volleyball season.

“We’re excited about the future,” Guso said. “We have a lot of great girls who are ready to work.”