April 1, 2012 - by
FSU Claims Team Title at UNF Invite

April 1, 2012

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Florida State sand volleyball team ran away with the team title and grabbed second- and third-place finishes in the pairs tournament on Sunday at the UNF Sand Invitational presented by Chicago Pizza and Metro PCS at the Jacksonville Beach courts.

The Garnet and Gold wrapped up Saturday’s weather-delayed pool play early Sunday morning by winning all four of its matches in straight sets to finish with a 34-6 (sets won – sets lost) mark among seven pools to easily win the team championship.

All five Seminole tandems advanced to the top-16-team gold bracket pairs tournament. No other team placed more than two squads in the gold bracket.

Junior Aurora Newgard and sophomore Brittany Tiegs lost a hard-fought, three-set battle to Hawaii’s Jane Croson and Ashley Lee, 21-16, 19-21, 15-11, in the pairs championship. The FSU duo nearly won its third consecutive tournament pairs title, and now has two runner-up placements and two victories in four tournaments this season.

“It was an arduous weekend,” head coach Danalee Corso said. “One of our top players (Jekaterina Stepanova) went down with a sprained ankle, but we still took second and third in the individual pairs championship, and we won the team championship by a large margin. I’m really happy. I’m really proud of Brittany and Aurora. They’re playing great. Hawaii had a fantastic team. Jane Croson is a world champion who I used to train on the national team, so I knew they’d be good. We had wonderful volleyball in the final, and that’s something to be excited about.”

Tiegs and Newgard defeated Jacksonville’s top duo in the semifinals, 23-21, 21-16. The pair went 6-1-1 on the weekend.

“Brittany and I didn’t play as well on Thursday against Hawaii in Tallahassee, but throughout the weekend we really focused and made sure we were prepared,” Newgard said. “We communicated well and we were clicking out there on the court. It was a great weekend. We had some weather trouble on Saturday, but today the weather was great. All of our teams played well today. We faced some really good competition. It was a lot of fun.”

Tiegs and Newgard, the fifth-seed in the gold bracket, were joined in the semifinals by senior Visnja Djurdjevic and freshman Melanie Pavels, the third seed.

Djurdjevic and Pavels won their first six matches on the weekend before falling to Croson and Lee, 21-12, 21-14, with the finals berth on the line.

Tiegs, Newgard, Djurdjevic and Pavels were all named to the all-tournament team.

The foursome likely would’ve been joined by Stepanova and freshman Jace Pardon if Stepanova hadn’t sprained her left ankle during the first round of the bracket tournament. The pair had steamrolled the competition all weekend and was the gold No. 1 seed, but had to withdraw midway through the second set against Jacksonville after winning 21-9 in set one.

Senior Mallory Kiley and freshman Stephanie Pellitteri (11th-seed) placed sixth, pushing Djurdjevic and Pavels to three sets in the quarterfinals, while graduate student Caitlin Haworth and sophomore Jeassica McGregor took ninth. Haworth and McGregor (12th-seed) unfortunately drew their teammates, Tiegs and Newgard, in the first round, and fell, 21-11, 21-17.

After Saturday’s competition was sporadically interrupted by storms, Sunday’s weather couldn’t have been better.

The sun was out all day and temperatures stayed consistently in the mid-80s. Groups of beachgoers stopped by the courts and created a fun, raucous atmosphere – especially in the final.

Tiegs and Newgard avenged one of their losses from Thursday’s dual against Hawaii in the quarterfinals, routing the Rainbow Wahine’s No.1 squad of Elizabeth Stoltzman and Emily Hartong in straight sets, 21-13, 21-17.

Sunday’s final gave the FSU duo another chance to atone for its only other non-FSU loss on the season against Croson and Lee.

Croson and Lee jumped out to a big lead and never looked back in set one, however. FSU opened up a large lead of its own in set two. The Seminoles let the `Bows back in the set late, though, and trailed, 19-18, when Tiegs had a vicious block that tied the second set at 19-19 and sparked FSU to the 21-19 second set win.

Croson’s jump serve and hammer were too much in the third set of the finals. Tiegs and Newgard cut Hawaii’s lead in the final set to 1, 12-11, but Croson’s ace spurred three consecutive points for the Rainbow Wahine.

“We had great weather today and fantastic crowds for the finals,” Corso said. “There was a great crowd for Hawaii and a great crowd for us. What’s impressive to me is the level of volleyball for these young women. I’m really excited for USA Volleyball in general and for what collegiate sand volleyball is going to do for the sport. It was a great, fun weekend competing at the beach.”

The Seminoles return to action on Friday at Stetson in a three-team event with the Hatters (10 a.m.) and FAU (Noon).

For more information and updates on the Florida State sand volleyball team, follow the Seminoles on twitter at: @FSU_SVB.

Team Standings (based on pool play)

1. Florida State (34-6)

2. Hawaii (27-13)

3. College of Charleston (21-19)

4. North Florida (17-23)

5. Jacksonville (15-25)

6. UAB (11-19)

7. FAU (10-30)

All Tournament

UH #2 (Lee/Corson)

FSU #1 (Teigs/Newgard)

JU #1 (Courtney/Witmire)

FSU #3 (Djurdjevic/Pavels)

UH #3 (Nordyke/Uiato)


FSU #2 (Stepanova/Pardon) vs JU #1 (Courtney/Witmire) – JU wins (Medical Forfeit)

UAB #1 (Hirini/Fairbanks) vs CofC #1 (Chub/Theesfeld) – UAB wins 2-0 (21-11, 21-16)

UH #1 (Stoltzman/Hartong) vs UNF #1 (Medina/Strack) – UH wins 2-0 (21-18, 21-16)

FSU #4 (Hayworth/McGregor) vs FSU #1 (Tiegs/Newgard) – FSU #1 wins 2-0 (21-11, 21-17)

UH #2 (Lee/Croson) vs UH #4 (Griffiths/Stayer) – UH #2 wins 2-1 (24-26, 21-18, 15-9)

FAU #1 (Joanne/Pizzocheri) vs CofC #2 (Kolich/Shelton) – FAU #1 wins 2-1 (20-22, 23-21, 15-2)

FSU #3 (Djurdjevic/Pavels) vs UAB #2 (Thomas/Gallagher) – FSU #3 wins 2-0 (21-17, 21-12)

FSU #5 (Kiley/Pellitteri) vs JU #2 (Stausbaugh/Cullen) – FSU #5 wins 2-0 (21-10, 21-10)


JU #1 vs UAB #1 – JU #1 wins 2-1 (21-16, 16-21, 22-20)

FSU #1 vs UH #1 – FSU #1 wins 2-0 (21-13, 21-17)

UH #2 vs FAU #1 – UH #2 wins 2-0 (21-17, 21-17)

FSU #5 vs FSU #3 – FSU #3 wins 2-1 (21-11, 16-21, 15-6)


JU# 1 vs FSU #1 – FSU #1 wins 2-0 (23-21, 21-16)

UH #2 vs FSU #3 – UH #2 wins 2-0 (21-12, 21-14)


FSU #1 vs UH #2 – UH #2 wins 2-1 (21-16, 19-21, 15-11)

Tied for 3rd

JU #1, FSU #3

First Round Consolation

FSU #2 vs UH #4 – UH #4 wins (Medical Forfeit)

FSU #4 vs CofC #2 – FSU #4 wins

UNF #1 vs CofC #1 – CofC #1 wins 2-0 (21-17, 21-13)

JU #2 vs UAB #2 – JU wins 2-1 (25-23, 18-21, 15-11)

Tied for 9th

UH #4, JU #2, CofC #1, FSU #4

Tied for 13th

FSU #2, UAB #2, UNF #1, CofC #2

Second Round Consolation

UAB #1 vs FAU #1 – FAU #1 wins 2-0 (21-18, 21-19)

UH #1 vs FSU #5 — UH #1 wins 2-0 (23-21, 21-10)

Tied for 5th

FAU #1, UH #1

Tied for 7th

UAB #1, FSU #5


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