TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After coming off a 32-3 season and a national runner-up finish, the Seminoles had high hopes for the 2017 season. Florida State finished off another impressive season under second year head coach Brooke Niles. The Noles went 29-9 and finished with their second straight CCSA Conference Championship, along with a fourth place finish at the NCAA Championships.
“Overall this was the toughest schedule we have had in school history,” Florida State head coach Brooke Niles said. “We preformed really well and were battle tested every weekend. I am proud of the way they competed. As a coaching staff we changed a lot of things every weekend, so our team was ready by the time NCAAs came around. Overall, it was a great season and we will have a lot of returners next year and we are excited to build on that.”
An Elite Program
· The Garnet and Gold were in the Top-4 of the AVCA Poll all season long, with their highest ranking coming in at No. 2. The Seminoles have now been ranked in the top four for 21 straight weeks dating back to week one of 2016 (March 7).
· The Noles captured their 10th and 11th All-American Honors in 2017, the third most in collegiate beach volleyball.
· Florida State is one of just two programs to have made every AVCA/NCAA Championship since the sports inception in 2012.
· The Seminoles fourth place finish in 2017 is FSU’s fifth Top-4 finish in their six years of competing.
Newcomers Make A Splash
· FSU received great production from its newcomers this past season. The Noles had three athletes make a significant impact that were not a part of the team a season ago, graduate transfer Leigh Andrew, redshirt freshman Eva Torruella and freshman Francesca Goncalves.
· Andrew finished the season with a 21-16 record with all of her matches at the No. 1 or 2 position.
· Torruella capped the season off with a 17-6 record with all of her matches played at the No. 5 position with redshirt junior Hailey Luke.
· Goncalves wrapped up her season with a 29-7 record, good for the second most wins on the team.
· Florida State’s three newcomers finished the season with a 67-29 (0.698) record and made an immediate impact on the courts after losing seven seniors a year ago.
Indoor Players Making an Impact
· After finishing their indoor careers with a Sweet 16 finish in the 2016 NCAA Indoor Volleyball Tournament, Katie Horton and Hailey Luke got back in the sand to make an impact for the beach team.
· Horton went 24-10 on the season with 18 of those wins coming in the No. 4 position. She made an impact as an every match starter for the Noles.
· Luke was also a constant starter as she went 22-8 in 2017 with 18 wins coming on court five.
Florida State Wins Back-to-Back CCSA Championships
· After winning the inaugural CCSA Championship in 2016, the Noles were able to go back-to-back and take the 2017 championship as well.
· The Garnet and Gold went a perfect 8-0 against conference opponents during the regular season and continued that streak into the postseason.
· The Noles won by a combined 24-4 score against opponents in the CCSA Tournament including a 34-minute, 3-0 win over FIU in the championship match.
· Florida State’s No. 4 duo of Francesca Goncalves and Katie Horton were honored with CCSA All-Tournament team honors. Victoria Paranagua and Vanessa Freire were named tournament MVP after going 6-0 and taking the final point against FIU in the championship match.
Noles go 29-9 in 2017
· Florida State finished the season with 29 wins, second-most in school history behind the 32 wins from the 2016 season.
· 31 of FSU’s 38 matches came against ranked opponents.
· The Garnet and Gold won 21 matches against ranked opponents including a win over No. 2 Pepperdine in Tallahassee for the first win against the Waves in school history.
· The Noles were 10-7 against opponents ranked in the Top-10.
· FSU went 4-1 on the road, 19-7 in neutral sand and 6-1 at home, losing on their home sand for the first time in school history.
· Florida State earned two AVCA All-Americans in 2017. Graduate Leigh Andrew and sophomore Brooke Kuhlman are the seventh and eighth beach volleyball athletes in FSU history to achieve All-American honors.
· The Noles earned CCSA Pair of the Week honors four times this year. Goncalves and Horton won the award twice (March 21/April 18). Goncalves and Freire won the award once (April 11) and Paranagua and sophomore Macy Jerger won the award once (March 14).
· Goncalves and Freire were named DIG Magazine National Pair of the Week on April 11 as well.
· Paranagua and Freire were named CCSA Tournament MVP with Goncalves and Horton making the CCSA All-Tournament team.
· Andrew and sophomore Brooke Kuhlman were named to the CCSA All-Conference First Team for going 11-9 (4-1) in the regular season. The pair went 7-2 in the post season including a 4-1 record in the conference tournament and 3-1 record in the NCAA Tournament.
· Jerger was name CCSA Scholar Athlete of the Year for her performance on and off the beach. She had a 3.808 GPA as a biology major and was fourth on the team in wins with a 27-10 record.
· Goncalves was named CCSA Freshman of the year. She was tied for second on the team in wins with 29. This was the second straight year that a Seminole was a part of this award as now sophomore Nikki Esposito was named co-Freshman of the Year in 2016.
Four Seminoles Participate in Inaugural USAV Collegiate Beach Championship
· Andrew and Kuhlman along with Paranagua and Freire participated in the inaugural USA Volleyball Collegiate Beach Championship in Hermosa Beach, Calif. with a shot at making it onto the USA Collegiate team.
· Andrew and Kuhlman went 3-3 finishing with a loss in the quarterfinal. The pair defeated Katie Smith and Adrianna Culbert from South Carolina 22-20, 21-16 to make it to the quarterfinals.
· Paranagua and Freire finished the tournament 2-3 and were knocked out in the round of 16 by defending national champions Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes from USC.
· Florida State played 22 different pairs during the 2017 season and had 16 of their athletes participate in matches.
· The Seminoles moved three athletes into the top-10 for most wins in school history. Victoria Paranagua is in seventh with 84, Vanessa Freire in eighth with 77 and Sierra Sanchez capped off her career at Florida State with the tenth most wins in school history with 71.
· Florida State is now 26-1 at home in their first six years.