EMERSON, Ga. – At the Rally Volleyball courts on Sunday morning, the Florida State volleyball team was warming up in the pouring rain, all singing along to senior Vanessa Freire’s favorite song, “Africa” by Toto – everyone chiming in at every mention of rain. There was an aura of confidence around the team as the Seminoles headed into their third consecutive CCSA Championship match, an energy that carried them through a 3-0 shutout of LSU.
FSU went 6-0 over the weekend, finishing at the top of its pool and downing FIU 5-0 in the semifinal round before continuing on to sweep the Tigers. While the Seminoles faced a tough LSU team in less than desirable weather, the team was still strong enough to earn the first three points and claim their third conference title in as many years.
Florida State has proven itself as the dominant force in the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association, going undefeated in both conference play and the CCSA Championship for all three years of the conference’s existence.
The Seminoles surrendered only one point in the 2018 Championships, earning a 27-1 pairs record in its 6-0 weekend. It’s the best record FSU has ever seen at the event after giving up two points in 2016 and four in 2017.
Florida State saw a similar outcome last season, where FSU saw FIU both in pool play and the championship match. Both times Florida State defeated its opponent 4-1 in pool play and 3-0 in the final.
The pairs of Macy Jerger/Sara Putt and Hailey Luke/Katie Horton were named to the CCSA All-Tournament Team, while Luke/Horton took home the Tournament MVP honor.
FSU becomes the second NCAA beach volleyball program to win its conference championship three years in a row, as Pepperdine won the WCC title on Saturday (April 21). Hawaii and Southern Cal will have a chance to do the same as the Big West and Pac 12 Championships will be held next weekend (April 26-29).
Florida State now turns its attention to the NCAA Championship. The eight teams for the tournament will be chosen next Sunday, April 29 at 7:00 pm Eastern time on NCAA.com. FSU is one of only two NCAA beach volleyball programs (along with Pepperdine). to make an appearance in every AVCA and NCAA Championship.
Order of finish: 4, 3, 5*, 1, 2
The Panthers gave FSU some trouble in the beginning of the match, keeping all of the first set scores tight. Kuhlman/McBain pulled ahead to win the first set at No. 4, but FIU took the first set at No. 2. The Seminoles closed out the first sets at No. 1 and 3 and a tight battle on five to take four of the first sets from the Panthers.
Kuhlman/McBain battled through the next set to earn the first team point for FSU, and Horton/Luke fought back to win the second set at No. 2 to force a third. Jerger/Putt won in straight sets at No. 3 to earn the Seminoles’ second team point, and Goncalves/Torruella clinched the match for FSU win a win in the No. 5 position.
The top two positions were each decided in three sets. Paranagua/Freire stayed ahead to earn the fourth point for the Seminoles, and Horton/Luke fought off a close battle at No. 2 to close out the sweep. It marked the second time that the Seminoles swept their semifinal match in the CCSA Championship, and the 11th time in program history FSU shutout its opponent in a conference tournament match.
The Noles swept the Panthers in the semifinal round of the CCSA Championships, and we're headed to the finals at 1 pm 👊 pic.twitter.com/HoxQqLqwcf
— FSU Beach Volleyball (@FSU_BeachVB) April 22, 2018
Order of finish: 2, 3, 5*
The Tigers fought off Florida State from the beginning of the match, taking the first sets at No. 3 and No. 1 to start things off in the Championship match. The Seminoles stayed tough on courts four, five and two to earn the first set on each.
In the second set, nearly every result flipped as the matches went to three sets on four of the five courts. Despite facing close competition on the second court, Hailey Luke and Katie Horton were able to close out a straight-set win to secure the Seminoles’ first team point.
From there the third sets on the remaining four courts all came down to the wire, but Sara Putt and Macy Jerger jumped into the lead and earned the second point for FSU. With the Tigers holding the Seminoles back from clinching on the first, fourth and fifth courts, Francesca Goncalves and Eva Torruella pulled ahead and won in three sets to clinch the match for Florida State.
LSU was Florida State’s third different opponent in the CCSA Championship title match, and the Seminoles have won each title in 3-0 decisions.
— #CCSABeachVB (@CCSA_Beach) April 22, 2018
Katie Horton / Hailey Luke, Florida State – MVP
Macy Jerger / Sara Putt, Florida State
Claire Coppola / Kristen Nuss, LSU
Federica Frasca / Margherita Bianchin, Florida International
Shannon Williams / Ali Denney, South Carolina
Brooke Weiner / Tiffany Creamer, Georgia State
Maddy Mertz / Kaylie McHugh, Tulane
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