COLUMBIA, S.C. – The fourth-ranked Florida State beach volleyball team (11-5) finished strong at the Gamecock Grand Slam on Sunday, wrapping up the event with a pair of 4-1 victories over No. 9 South Carolina and No. 13 Stetson.The Noles split with Georgia State and No. 1 Southern California on Saturday to finish 3-1 at the South Carolina-hosted competition.
“Overall we showed a lot of heart out their today,” head coach Brooke Niles said. “We had a lot of close wins and are learning to be patient and tough. Overall, it was a great tournament because every team was strong. We were able to come away with three big wins which was great for us.”
FSU squared off against tournament host and No. 9-ranked South Carolina to begin the final day of the Grand Slam. The Noles lost the first point of the day as the No. 4 pair of redshirt junior Katie Horton and freshman Francesca Goncalves fell 21-19, 27-25. The No. 2 duo of junior Vanessa Freire and sophomore Brooke Kuhlman captured a three-set victory to swing momentum Florida State’s way, however.
Coming back from a 21-18 loss in the first set, Freire and Kuhlman captured the next two sets, 21-18, 15-11, to tie up the match at 1-1 heading to the second flight of the day.
To start off the second set of matches, sophomore Ali Eager and freshman Molly McBain gave the Garnet and Gold a 2-1 lead as they defeated the Gamecocks in straight sets 21-16, 21-19 on court five. Playing at the No. 1 position, senior Sierra Sanchez and graduate senior Leigh Andrew came back after a set one loss (21-11) to clinch the match for the Noles. In the third set, Andrew and Sanchez were down 12-11 before they took control. The veteran duo took the lead 13-12 after an Andrew block and then expanded that lead to 14-12 on a Sanchez kill. The Gamecocks made a brief comeback as they brought it within 1, 14-13, but the No. 1 pair for the Seminoles put the match away on an Andrew poke over the right side of the net.
Junior Victoria Paranagua and sophomore Macy Jerger expanded the Seminole lead to 4-1 as they won 21-19, 23-25, 15-10 for their 11th victory as a pair, most of any Seminole tandem. The No. 3 duo dominated the third set by jumping out to an early 6-1 lead and did not look back as they finished the Gamecocks off 15-10.
Florida State finished off the Gamecock Grand Slam against No. 13 Stetson just as rain started to pick up. The No. 2 pair of Freire and Kuhlman captured the Noles first point as they won in straight sets 21-14, 21-15. The Seminoles got out to an early 2-0 lead after the first set of matches as the No. 4 pair of Horton and Goncalves took their match in straight sets as well, 27-25, 21-18.
The Seminoles continued their dominance of the Hatters as The No. 3 duo of Paranagua and Jerger recorded the third straight set victory, 21-19, 21-9. The No. 5 pair of McBain and Eager dropped the only match against Stetson as they were defeated 21-17, 21-16. Playing in the No. 1 position, Andrew and Sanchez captured their second win, 19-21, 21-17, 15-11, of the day as they capped off Florida State’s 4-1 win over Stetson.
The Seminoles return to action next Friday as they begin play at the Fifth Annual Surf & Turf Invitational at the Lummus Park Beach Courts in Miami, Fla., against Tulane (9 a.m., Friday), FIU (12 p.m., Friday), UCLA (10 a.m., Saturday), Arizona State (2 p.m., Saturday) and New Orleans (4 p.m., Saturday).
No. 4 Florida State 4, No. 9 South Carolina 1 – Columbia, S.C.
1. Leigh Andrew/Sierra Sanchez (FSU) def. Adrianna Culbert/Ali Denney (SC) 11-21, 21-16, 15-13
2. Vanessa Freire/Brooke Kuhlman (FSU) def. Katie Zimmerman/Katie Smith (SC) 18-21, 21-18, 15-11
3. Victoria Paranagua/Macy Jerger (FSU) def. Julia Mannisto/Carly Schnieder (SC) 21-19, 23-25, 15-10
4. Shannon Williams/Macie Tendrich (SC) def. Katie Horton/Francesca Goncalves (FSU) 21-19, 27-25
5. Molly McBain/Ali Eager (FSU) def. Jade Vitt/Franky Harrison (SC) 21-16, 21-19
Ext. Eva Torruella/Danielle Pennington (FSU) def. Abby Feruck/Helen Recaborde (SC) 21-12, 21-12
Order of finish: 4, 2, 5, 1*, 3
No. 4 Florida State 4, No. 13 Stetson 1 – Columbia, S.C.
1. Sierra Sanchez/Leigh Andrew (FSU) def. Maggie Skjelbred/Samantha Harris (SU) 19-21, 21-17, 15-11
2. Vanessa Freire/Brooke Kuhlman (FSU) def. Kristen Lind/Darby Dunn (SU) 21-14, 21-15
3. Macy Jerger/Victoria Paranagua (FSU) def. Kaylee Anderson/Emily Carroll (SU) 21-19, 21-9
4. Katie Horton/Francesca Goncalves (FSU) def. Tiffany Creamer/Rachel Nobel (SU) 27-25, 21-18
5. Sunniva Helland-Hansen and Carly Perales (SU) def. Molly McBain/Ali Eager 21-17, 21-16
Ext. Jamie Walsh/Alexa Richardson (SU) def. Eva Torruella/Danielle Pennington (FSU) 14-21, 21-15, 16-14
Order of finish: 2, 4, 3*, 5, 1
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