March 30, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State sand volleyball team will look to continue its stellar start to the inaugural collegiate sand season on Saturday and Sunday in Jacksonville, Fla. at the nation’s largest tournament- the UNF Sand Invitational presented by Chicago Pizza and Metro PCS.
Tournament play will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday at the Jacksonville Beach courts, located just south of the Pier. Joining FSU at the event, will be UNF, Florida Atlantic, Jacksonville, College of Charleston, UAB and Hawai’i, who the Seminoles defeated twice in a doubleheader on Thursday afternoon in Tallahassee.
“I expect Hawai’i to be even better this weekend,” FSU head coach Danalee Corso said. “We are not going to have that home-court advantage. This is going to be the biggest sanctioned event in the country for the entire year. We are coming in as favorites, but I expect there to be some fantastic players there. I saw some for Hawai’i, and I don’t take anyone lightly.”
The UNF Sand Invitational is a two-day event featuring pool play on Saturday followed by bracket play on Sunday. Saturday’s competition features seven pools of five teams. The top two finishers in each pool along with the top two third place finishers advance to gold bracket play on Sunday. A 12-team silver bracket and seven-team bronze bracket will also be contested Sunday.
With an 11-0 record in duals this season, the Seminoles will be favored to win the tournament this weekend, and FSU’s top three tandems – junior Aurora Newgard and sophomore Brittany Tiegs, senior Jekaterina Stepanova and freshman Jace Pardon, and senior Visnja Djurdjevic and freshman Melanie Pavels – should all be in the mix for the 16-team gold bracket title.
Tiegs and Newgard won the pairs championship last weekend at Florida State’s Seminole Sand Tournament and the week before at the USC Tournament, as well. Stepanova and Pardon won the pairs championship at the Clash of the Collegians on March 9.
For the latest news and updates on the FSU sand volleyball team follow the Seminoles on Twitter at @FSU_SVB.