March 29, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State sand volleyball team kept its undefeated streak intact on Thursday at the Seminole Sand Volleyball Complex, capturing back-to-back 4-1 victories over Hawai’i in an afternoon doubleheader.
The Seminoles improved to 11-0 in dual matches in the inaugural collegiate sand volleyball season, and have all but locked up one of four spots at the AVCA National Championships, which will be held from April 27-29 in Gulf Shores, Fla.
“Hawai’i was the one team we expected to be really good that we hadn’t seen yet,” Florida State head coach Danalee Corso said. “We beat them 4-1 twice, so I feel good about where we are at. I just need to keep the team sharp, energized and healthy for the next four weeks until we get to the national championships.”
Only FSU’s No. 1 team of junior Aurora Newgard and sophomore Brittany Tiegs had an off day, losing their two matches to the Rainbow Wahine.
FSU’s other four teams made short work of Hawai’i.
The Seminoles started out the day by winning the first set on every court in Match 1, and three Garnet & Gold tandems breezed to straight set victories.
Senior Jekateina Stepanova and freshman Jace Pardon defeated Hawai’i’s Larissa Nordyke and Ashley Lee, 21-17, 21-17, on Court 2 and senior Mallory Kiley and freshman Sarah Wickstrom cruised past the Rainbow Wahine’s Mita Uiato and Elizabeth Blake, 21-9, 21-14.
Freshman Melanie Pavels and senior Visnja Djurdjevic put the Seminoles ahead 3-0 to clinch the win on Court 3 after Pavels delivered her third ace of the match to give the duo a 22-20, 21-18 win. Pavels also had the match-clinching point in the second end of the doubleheader.
“It felt good that I could finish out a match,” Pavels said. “It’s also awesome to win.”
Graduate student Caitlin Haworth and Jeassica McGregor edged out a three-set win on Court 4 in Match 1, defeating Monica Stauber and Alex Griffiths, 21-6, 17-21, 16-14. McGregor tallied a staggering 32 digs and 18 kills in the match.
Newgard and Tiegs fell to Hawai’i’s No. 1 team of Elizabeth Stoltzman and Emily Hartong, 17-21, 21-17, 15-12.
FSU showed no rust in the second match after a 20-mintue break. The Seminoles won in straight sets on four of five courts. Only Newgard and Tiegs dropped a match, losing to Jane Croson and Ashley Lee, 21-18, 21-19 on Court 2.
Stepanova and Pardon moved up to the No. 1 Court for the second match where they dismantled Stoltzman and Hartong, 21-9, 21-11.
“Hopefully we can continue to play this well,” Pardon said. “We’ll have to face Hawai’i again this weekend. We have to stay humble and focused, cool and collected. It was a great match. It feels good to defeat such a strong team. We had to battle it out.”
Haworth and McGregor improved to 9-0 as team with their two wins on Thursday. The pair moved up from Court 5 to Court 4 against the `Bows.
“We have three really, really good teams – that are capable of winning a tournament,” Corso said. “I finally feel like I may have figured out our Nos. 4 and 5 teams with our combinations, too. Caitlin and Jeassica are undefeated. They’re playing fantastic. We’ve had some good chemistry from the beginning.”
The Seminoles will get to test that chemistry once again this weekend in Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday and Sunday at 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 and Hawai’i at the event, the nation’s largest collegiate competition, will be UNF, Florida Atlantic, Jacksonville, College of Charleston and UAB.
For the latest news and updates on the FSU sand volleyball team follow the Seminoles on Twitter at @FSU_SVB.
Florida State vs. Hawai’i Doubleheader Dual
at the Seminole Sand Volleyball Complex in Tallahassee, Fla. – March 29, 2012
Florida State 4, Hawai’i 1
Court 1: Stoltzman/Hartong (Hawaii) def. Tiegs/Newgard (FSU) – 17-21, 21-17, 15-12
Court 2: Stepanova/Pardon (FSU) def. Nordyke/Lee (Hawaii) – 21-17, 21-17
Court 3: Djurdjevic/Pavels (FSU) def. Croson/Long (Hawaii) – 22-20, 21-18
Court 4: McGregor/Haworth (FSU) vs. Stauber/Griffiths (Hawaii) – 21-6, 17-21, 16-14
Court 5: Wickstrom/Kiley (FSU) def. Uiato/Blake (Hawaii) – 21-9, 21-14
Florida State 4, Hawai’i 1
Court 1: Stepanova/Pardon (FSU) vs. Stoltzman/Hartong (Hawaii) – 21-9, 21-11
Court 2: Croson/Lee (Hawaii) def. Tiegs/Newgard (FSU) – 21-18, 21-19
Court 3: Djurdjevic/Pavels (FSU) vs. – Nordyke/Stauber (Hawaii) – 21-12, 21-16
Court 4: McGregor/Haworth (FSU) vs. Blake/Long (Hawaii) – 21-9, 21-16
Court 5: Wickstrom/Kiley (FSU) def. Lelepali/Vorster (Hawaii) – 24-22, 21-19
Records: Florida State 11-0, Hawai’i 1-1.