EMERSON, Ga. – The No. 1-seeded Florida State beach volleyball team defeated FAU (4-1) in the semifinals of the CCSA Championship after finishing pool play with two wins over South Carolina (3-2) and FIU (4-1) earlier in the day at the Lakepoint Sporting Community. The Noles will be taking on FIU in the championship match on Saturday at 1 p.m.
The Seminoles are looking to win the CCSA Championship for the second straight year.
“I am super proud of them today,” Florida State head coach Brooke Niles said. “We took care of business today and expected to be in the finals.”
The semifinals were originally scheduled for Sunday, but were played on Saturday due to heavy rain expected on Sunday.
The Seminoles won three first sets and were leading in set two on all courts against FAU before play was suspended for 15 minutes because of lightning. This did not phase the Garnet and Gold as they went on to take the second set on four of the five courts.
The Noles captured the first two matches giving Florida State a 2-0 lead. Juniors Victoria Paranagua and Vanessa Freire buried the Owls’ duo of Jazmine Barker and Brittany Pellitteri in straight sets 21-10, 21-10. On court three, senior Sierra Sanchez and sophomore Macy Jerger played their best match of the day as they too won in straight sets 21-14, 21-11.
FAU was able to gather one point on court one as graduate senior Leigh Andrew and sophomore Brooke Kuhlman fell in straight sets, 22-20, 22-20.
On court four, redshirt junior Katie Horton and freshman Francesca Goncalves gathered the point that sent the Noles to the CCSA Championship Match. They took down FAU’s Nicole Grant and Nicole Navarro 21-19, 25-23.
The only match of the round that went three sets was on court five as redshirt junior Hailey Luke and redshirt freshman Eva Torruella had to battle it out before they won 16-21, 21-15, 15-12 to give the Garnet and Gold a 4-1 win over the Owls.
The Noles started the day off against fourth-seeded South Carolina to begin the final day of pool play in Pool A. As all five courts got started at once, FSU got out to a slow start as they only led on courts two and four midway through the first set.
Freire and Paranagua made quick work of the Gamecocks as they took down Shannon Williams and Ali Denney in straight sets, 21-13, 21-13. Horton and Goncalves continued their hot streak as they gave the Noles a 2-0 lead after their third straight set victory of the tournament, this time over South Carolina’s Julia Mannisto and Carly Schnieder, 21-11, 21-17.
The Seminoles clinched the match on court one as Andrew and Kuhlman battled against South Carolina’s Adrianna Culbert and Katie Smith. They were down 8-6 early in the first before they battled back. The pairs kept swapping points until Andrew and Kuhlman pulled away and gathered a 26-24 first set win. The Noles’ No. 1 duo was behind late in the second set as the Gamecocks led 18-16. Andrew and Kuhlman went on a five-point run capped off with an ace over the right side of the net to give them a 21-18 second set win and the Noles a 3-0 advantage over South Carolina.
The Gamecocks were able to fight back as they brought courts three and five to a third set. Sanchez and Jerger made a big comeback in set one as they were down 9-4 and came back to win 24-22. They were not able to hold on to the momentum as they lost sets two and three, 21-19, 15-11.
On court five, Luke and Torruella lost the first set 21-19, but came back to take the second set 21-19. In the third set Luke and Torruella went back and forth with South Carolina’s Jade Vitt and Franky Harrison as they were tied 14-14. The Gamecocks scored the final two points to win set three 16-14, but Florida State won the match 3-2.
FSU vs. FIU Highlights
For the second match of the day the Noles took on fifth-seeded FIU. Florida State improved to 4-0 at the CCSA Championship after defeating the panthers 4-1, and clinched a spot in the semifinals.
The Garnet and Gold clinched by winning the first three matches, taking courts two, three and five.
On court two, Paranagua and Freire continued their dominance as they defeated FIU’s Katie Friesen and Taija Thomas, 21-18, 21-14, to give the Noles their first point of the match. Just seconds after Paranagua and Freire won, Jerger and Sanchez secured Florida State’s second point as they beat the Panther duo of Helene Thelle and Natalia Giron, 21-17, 21-15.
On court five, Luke and Torruella gathered their first win of the day as they too won in straight sets, 21-18, 21-17. This win put the Seminoles up 3-0 over the Panthers and secured FSU a spot in the semifinals with a 4-0 performance in pool play.
On courts one and four the Noles were still playing as they both lost in set one, but won the second set. Horton and Goncalves were not able to secure a third set victory as they lost 15-12 to FIU’s Lina Bernier and Katie Hogan for just their second loss as a pair. Meanwhile on court one, Andrew and Kuhlman were in a battle with the Panthers’ No. 1 duo of Margherita Bianchin and Frederica Frasca. The pair was tied 6-6 in the third set before they started to pull away to a 10-7 lead. Andrew and Kuhlman maintained their lead and won the third set 15-12 to give Florida State a 4-1 win over FIU.
FSU vs. South Carolina Highlights
The Seminoles will take on FIU Sunday at 1 p.m. in the CCSA finals on ESPN3. Lives stats for the match will be available at Seminoles.com. Fans can also follow the Noles on Twitter (@FSU_BeachVB), Facebook (facebook.com/FSUBeachVB) and on Instagram (@FSUBeachVolleyball) for updates from this weekend’s CCSA Conference Championship.
No. 4 Florida State 3, No. 12 South Carolina 2 – Emerson, Ga.
1. Leigh Andrew/Brooke Kuhlman (FSU) def. Adrianna Culbert/Katie Smith (SC) 26-24, 21-18
2. Vanessa Freire/Victoria Paranagua (FSU) def. Shannon Williams/Ali Denney (SC) 21-13, 21-13
3. Katie Zimmerman/Macie Tendrich (SC) def. Macy Jerger/Sierra Sanchez (FSU) 22-24, 21-19, 15-11
4. Katie Horton/Francesca Goncalves (FSU) def. Julia Mannisto/Carly Schnieder (SC) 21-11, 21-17
5. Jade Vitt/Franky Harrison (SC) def. Hailey Luke/Eva Torruella (FSU) 21-19, 19-21, 16-14
Order of finish: 2, 4, 1*, 3, 5
No. 4 Florida State 4, No. 10 FIU 1 – Emerson, Ga.
1. Leigh Andrew/Brooke Kuhlman (FSU) def. Margherita Bianchin/Frederica Frasca (FIU) 19-21, 23-21, 15-12
2. Vanessa Freire/Victoria Paranagua (FSU) def. Katie Friesen/Taija Thomas (FIU) 21-18, 21-14
3. Macy Jerger/Sierra Sanchez (FSU) def. Helene Thelle/Natalia Giron (FIU) 21-17, 21-15
4. Lina Bernier/Katie Hogan (FIU) def. Katie Horton/Francesca Goncalves (FSU) 21-13, 21-23, 15-12
5. Hailey Luke/Eva Torruella (FSU) def. Anabela Sataric/Estefanie Bethancour (FIU) 21-18, 21-17
Order of finish: 2, 3, 5*, 4, 1
No. 4 Florida State 4, No. 15 FAU 1 – Emerson, Ga.
1. Kinlaw,Jessalyn/Rice,Megan (FAU) def. Leigh Andrew/Brooke Kuhlman (FSU) 22-20, 22-20
2. Vanessa Freire/Victoria Paranagua (FSU) def. Barker,Jazmine/Pellitteri,Brittany (FAU) 21-10, 21-10
3. Macy Jerger/Sierra Sanchez (FSU) def. Dischler,Gabrielle/Lacour,Candace (FAU) 21-14, 21-11
4. Katie Horton/Francesca Goncalves (FSU) def. Grant,Nicole/Navarro,Nicole (FAU) 21-19, 25-23
5. Hailey Luke/Eva Torruella (FSU) def. Scarborough,Carly/Cunningham,Ashlan (FAU) 16-21, 21-15, 15-12
Order of finish: 2, 3, 1, 4*, 5