TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – To cap off the 2017 season, the fourth-ranked Florida State beach volleyball team will be home for the second straight weekend as the Seminoles host Alumni Weekend on Friday and Saturday. FSU will honor its three seniors on Saturday before facing No. 2/3 Pepperdine at 4 p.m.The Seminoles will be wrapping up the regular season at the Florida State Beach Volleyball Complex after going 3-0 at their home complex last weekend.
“It is nice not to travel,” Florida State head coach Brooke Niles said. “It does bring extra challenges because they are in school and they have to worry about that. They are excited and we are comfortable because this is where we live, eat, sleep and practice every day, so there are no adjustments we need to make.”
Florida State welcomes Pepperdine, No. 9 Stetson, No. 10 Grand Canyon and No. 14 FIU to Tallahassee for the two-day tournament. The Seminoles will open the tournament against the Wave at 3 p.m. on Friday for the Noles only match of the day. On Saturday, FSU will face No. 10 Grand Canyon at 9 a.m., No. 14 FIU at 11 a.m. and then close out the tournament against Pepperdine for the second time at 4 p.m.
The Noles last played the Wave in the East Meets West Invitational in March, where they were defeated 3-2. Florida State will also be playing FIU for the second time this season as the Seminoles beat the Panthers 3-2 in the Fifth Annual Surf & Turf Invitational at Miami, Fla. This will mark the third time the Garnet and Gold will be playing Grand Canyon. Florida State holds a 2-0 record all-time against the Antelopes, beating them twice last season.
The Seminoles are currently on a five-match winning streak, tied for longest of the season. Florida State has picked 5-0 wins during every match of the streak.
Florida State is a perfect 23-0 all-time at the Florida State Beach Volleyball Complex and the Noles will look to continue the streak this weekend.
The Noles will honor seniors Julia Thompson (19-9), Sierra Sanchez (66-29) and Leigh Andrew (12-12).
In the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll, Florida State comes in at No. 4. This marks the 18th straight week that the Noles have been ranked in the Top 5 of the AVCA Coaches Poll dating back to the first poll of 2016. The Seminoles still rank No. 4 in the DiG magazine poll, as well.
Vanessa Freire and Francesca Goncalves Take Home DiG National Pair of the Week Honor
After capturing CCSA Pair of the week on Tuesday, junior Vanessa Freire and freshman Francesca Goncalves gathered even more awards as the duo won the DiG Magazine National Pair of the Week.
“It’s exciting for us,” Freire said. “We have been working really hard. It finally came together this weekend and we had a great weekend. We are excited to see what is ahead of us, especially going against Pepperdine this weekend in a really big game.”
The duo went 3-0 during the Staybridge Suites invitational, defeating TCU, FAU and South Carolina in straight sets. Freire and Goncalves opened the tournament with a straight set victory over TCU’s Molly Scheel and Haven Hill, 21-8, 21-10, before another straight set victory over FAU’s Gabrielle Dischler and Candace Lacour, 21-13, 21-11. The pair capped off the weekend with its third straight set victory, this time over the Gamecock duo, 33-31, 21-14
“Vanessa and Francesca winning this sets the standard that we can compete with anyone,” Niles said. “They grinded out and won one of the highest scoring games in school history. They deserved it, but they know it is a team effort and they can’t win on their own.”
This is the first time this season that a Florida State pair has captured DiG Magazine National Pair of the Week honors.
Lives stats for all nine matches of Alumni Weekend will be available at Seminoles.com. Admission to the Seminole Beach Volleyball courts is free of charge and parking will be in the Spirt Way Garage just next to the courts. Fans can also follow the Noles on Twitter (@FSU_BeachVB), Facebook (facebook.com/FSUBeachVB) and on Instagram (@FSUBeachVolleyball) for updates from this weekend’s matches.
Alumni Weekend Schedule
Friday, April 14
Match 1: Grand Canyon vs. FIU 8:30 a.m.
Match 2: Pepperdine vs. Stetson 10 a.m.
Match 3: Stetson vs. FIU 1 p.m.
Match 4: Pepperdine vs. Florida State 3 p.m.
Match 5: Grand Canyon vs. Stetson 5 p.m.
Saturday, April 15
Match 6: Grand Canyon vs. Florida State 9 a.m.
Match 7: Florida State vs. FIU 11 a.m.
Match 8: FIU vs. Pepperdine 1 p.m.
Match 9: Pepperdine vs. Florida State 4:00 p.m. (senior day/ring ceremony)