GULF SHORES, Ala. – Fourth-seeded Florida State began the quest for its first national title on Friday by rebounding from an early loss to take down South Carolina, 3-0, on day one of the 2017 NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship. The Noles lost their first match of the day to fifth-seeded Hawaii, 3-1, before regrouping to defeat the eighth-seeded Gamecocks to move on to day two of the double-elimination national championship tournament.
Florida State will get back into action on Saturday at 1 p.m. CT against second-seeded UCLA. The winner of the Seminoles and the Bruins will go on to take on the winner of LSU and Hawaii. The loser of Florida State vs. UCLA will be eliminated.
“We came out this morning thinking Hawaii was just going to give it to us, but they were definitely ready to play,” Florida State head coach Brooke Niles said. “They have great coaches and we needed to be a little bit tougher and more aggressive, which we were able to do against a good South Carolina team.”
After the disappointing loss to Hawaii in the morning, the Garnet and Gold got back on the sand to take on conference foe South Carolina on a very windy afternoon.
“We were definitely frustrated we could not come out a little stronger,” said junior Vanessa Freire. “The wind is a great equalizer. We had to refocus and get ready for our second match. We wanted to get that win and we got it to move on to tomorrow.”
Florida State jumped out to a quick start against the Gamecocks in the first set leading on four of the five courts. The Seminoles were able to maintain control and take set one on four courts.
On court two, juniors Victoria Paranagua and Freire we able to capture the first point of the match after falling to Hawaii earlier in the day. The duo won in straight sets, 21-17, 21-19. They were quickly followed by graduate senior Leigh Andrew and sophomore Brooke Kuhlman who captured the Noles second point in a 25-23, 21-17 straight set victory on court one. Andrew carried the Florida State defense as she was able to come away with seven blocks in the match.
“It was exciting for Tory and I to get the win against South Carolina, especially since we got off to a slow start,” said Freire. “We cleaned it up and did everything we needed to do. We were crisp and Tory picked up my slack when she needed to.”
On courts three, four and five the matches all went to three sets.
There was a race to the finish on these three courts as they all came down to the wire. On court three, senior Sierra Sanchez and sophomore Macy Jerger were able to finish before everyone else as they won 21-14, 17-21, 15-13.
The Noles were not as fortunate earlier in the day as they stepped onto the sand during a brisk Friday morning to begin their sixth national championship event. The Garnet and Gold got out to a slow start as they trailed on four of the five courts early in set one. They bounced back and took set one on three different courts.
Florida State took the first point of the match on court five as redshirt junior Hailey Luke and redshirt freshman Eva Torruella defeated Hawaii in straight sets, 21-14, 22-20. The Rainbow Wahine answered with a straight set win of their own on court one. Florida State’s No. 1 pair of Andrew and Kuhlman fell to Hawaii’s duo of Tucker and Martin, 21-15, 21-14.
Hawaii captured its second point of the match as they won on court four. FSU’s No. 4 pair of redshirt junior Katie Horton and freshman Francesca Goncalves fell in the first set 21-14, but were able to win the second set, 21-16, to force a third set. The Seminoles were tied 3-3 in the third before Hawaii went on a 6-2 run to give the Rainbow Wahine a 9-5 advantage. Hawaii went on to take set three 15-9.
The match came down to courts 2 and 3 as both were sent to a third set. On court two, Paranagua and Freire fell into a hole early as they were down 5-0. On court three at the same time Sanchez and Jerger were in a battle of their own. They jumped out to an early 10-6 lead before Hawaii stormed back and tied it up at 13-13. While the two teams were exchanging points on court three, Paranagua and Jerger fought their way back on court two to get it within one, 14-13. The Rainbow Wahine proved to be too much for the Seminoles as they won 15-13 on court two to take the match 3-1.
Every match of the NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship will be streamed live on NCAA.com. Four matches on Saturday beginning at 2 p.m. ET will all air live on truTV. The championship final on Sunday will be broadcast live on TBS beginning at 2 p.m. ET.
Stay tuned to Seminoles.com on Saturday for more coverage of the Garnet and Gold in Gulf Shores at the 2017 NCAA Beach Volleyball Championships. As always, fans can also follow the Noles on Twitter (FSU_BeachVB), Facebook (/FSUBeachVB) and on Instagram (FSUBeachVolleyball) for continued updates on team.
No. 4 Florida State 1, No. 5 Hawaii 3 – Gulf Shores, Ala.
1. Tucker/Martin (UH) def. Leigh Andrew/Brooke Kuhlman (FSU) 21-15, 21-14
2. Taylor/Schucht (UH) def. Vanessa Freire/Victoria Paranagua (FSU) 16-21, 21-18, 15-13
3. Macy Jerger/Sierra Sanchez (FSU) & Maglio/Weaver (UH) 23-21, 19-21, DNF
4. Kan/Homayun (UH) def. Katie Horton/Francesca Goncalves (FSU) 21-14, 16-21, 15-9
5. Hailey Luke/Eva Torruella (FSU) def. Ozee/Zalopany (UH) 21-14, 22-20
Order of finish: 5, 1, 4, 2*; 3 DNF
No. 4 Florida State 3, No. 8 South Carolina 0 – Gulf Shores, Ala.
1. Leigh Andrew/Brooke Kuhlman (FSU) def. Adrianna Culbert/Katie Smith (SC) 25-23, 21-17
2. Vanessa Freire/Victoria Paranagua (FSU) def. Shannon Williams/Ali Denney (SC) 21-17, 21-19
3. Macy Jerger/Sierra Sanchez (FSU) def. Katie Zimmerman/Macie Tendrich (SC) 21-14, 17-21, 15-13
4. Katie Horton/Francesca Goncalves (FSU) & Julia Mannisto/Carly Schnieder (SC) 18-21, 21-16, DNF
5. Hailey Luke/Eva Torruella (FSU) & Jade Vitt/Franky Harrison (SC) 21-19, 17-21, DNF
Order of finish: 2, 1, 3*; 4 & 5 DNF