FORT WORTH, Texas – The second-ranked Florida State Beach Volleyball team continued its strong start to open the 2016 campaign posting a pair of 5-0 victories over Houston Baptist and TCU on the opening day of the ‘Fight at the Fort’ Tournament in Fort Worth.
The Seminoles won in straight sets on all five courts to start the day in cruising to a win over Houston Baptist. Freshmen Ali Eager and Brooke Kuhlman made their first career starts as Eager paired with Katherine Plessy on court five, while Kuhlman teamed with Vanessa Freire on court three.
Nikki Esposito and Hailey Luke recorded the Noles’ first point of the match defeating HBU’s Ashlee Vann and Melissa Fuchs (21-11, 21-12) on court four. Eager and Plessy gave the Noles a 2-0 lead with a 21-13, 21-14 win over Hailey Erickson and Laura Fox. The match clincher came on court one as Julie Brown and Jace Pardon wasted very little time disposing of their opponent giving up just 12 points in the two-set victory.
Kristina Pellitteri and Victoria Paranagua defeated Madison O’Brien and Bailey Banks at the second position (21-11, 21-12), while Kuhlman and Freire downed HBU’s Guinevere Meyer and Haley Durham (21-13, 21-14) at the third spot to complete the sweep.
In the second match of the afternoon against TCU, Florida State registered straight set wins on courts one, two and five, while the duo of Freire and Sierra Sanchez and Kayla Joyce and Annie Montgomery were victorious in a hard fought three sets after both teams dropped the first.
Brown and Pardon once again provided the clinching victory on court one, this time defeating the Horned Frogs’ number one pair of Michelle McNamee and Sarita Mikals, 21-11, 21-10.
For the second straight match, Esposito and Luke notched the first point of the afternoon for the Noles’ defeating Blaire Pickens and Clare Ford on court five, 21-14, 21-16. Joyce and Montgomery fought back after dropping the first set to TCU’s Molly Scheel and Ariah Palter, 21-12, on court four, winning the next two sets – 21-18, 15-9 – to give FSU a 2-0 lead.
Paranagua and Pellitteri moved their dual record to 11-0 on the year with a convincing victory over TCU’s Olivia Canales and Shane Peters, 21-10, 21-16, at position number two.
Sanchez and Freire closed out the afternoon with a thrilling three-set victory on court three as the first two sets were forced to extra points. After falling 26-24 in set one, the Seminole duo took the next set 31-29 before riding the momentum to a 15-9 win in set three. The victory moved Freire and Sanchez to 9-0 in 2016.
With the two wins, Florida State extended its winning streak to 11-straight games, four shy of the school record 15 consecutive victories set during the inaugural 2012 season.
The Seminoles will return to the courts in Fort Worth for their final match of the Fight at the Fort Tournament on Saturday, March 20 when FSU faces Texas A&M Corpus Christi at 10:00 am (ET).
Match 10 – Fort Worth, Texas
No. 2 Florida State d. Houston Baptist, 5-0
Court 1: Julie Brown/Jace Pardon, FSU d. Jessica Wooten/Aeriel Horton, HBU – 21-4, 21-8
Court 2: Kristina Pellitteri/Victoria Paranagua, FSU d. Madison O’Brien/Bailey Banks, HBU – 21-11, 21-12
Court 3: Brooke Kuhlman/Vanessa Freire, FSU d. Guinevere Meyer/Haley Durham, HBU – 21-13, 21-14
Court 4: Nikki Esposito/Hailey Luke, FSU d. Ashlee Vann/Melissa Fuchs, HBU – 21-11, 21-12
Court 5: Ali Eager/Katherine Plessy, FSU d. Hailey Erickson/Laura Fox, HBU – 21-13, 21-14
Order of Finish: 4, 5, 1*, 2, 3
*clinched dual win
Match 11 – Fort Worth, Texas
No. 2 Florida State d. TCU, 5-0
Court 1: Julie Brown/Jace Pardon, FSU d. Michelle McNamee/Sarita Mikals, TCU – 21-11, 21-10
Court 2: Kristina Pellitteri/Victoria Paranagua, FSU d. Olivia Canales/Shane Peters, TCU – 21-10, 21-16
Court 3: Vanessa Freire/Sierra Sanchez, FSU d. Jaelyn Greene/Jillian Bergeson, TCU – 24-26, 31-29, 15-9
Court 4: Kayla Joyce/Annie Montgomery, FSU d. Molly Scheel/Ariah Palter, TCU – 12-21, 21-18, 15-9
Court 5: Nikki Esposito/Hailey Luke, FSU d. Blaire Pickens/Clare Ford, TCU – 21-14, 21-16
EXH: Macy Jerger/Brooke Kuhlman, FSU d. Jade Henderson/Jordan Terral, TCU – 21-15, 21-18
Order of Finish: 5, 4, 1*, 2, 3
*clinched dual win