EMERSON, Ga. – The No. 1-seeded Florida State beach volleyball team defeated fifth-seeded FIU (3-0) on Sunday to take home the CCSA Championship for the second year in a row. The win at the LakePoint Sporting Community marks 11 consecutive CCSA Tournament victories for the Noles.“This is a big confidence boost,” Florida State head coach Brooke Niles said “The last three weeks we have been playing really good volleyball. We are just ready to compete.”
The Seminoles stepped out onto the sand in the pouring rain to take on the Panthers for the second time of the CCSA Tournament, with this match for the conference championship.
“I don’t think one person on the team even talked about the rain,” Niles said. “We wanted to win no matter what the elements were. All year we have battled different things and it has prepared us for this.”
Florida State got out to an early lead as the Noles won the first set on four of the five courts. Redshirt junior Hailey Luke and redshirt freshman Eva Torruella dominated for the Noles on court five. They were able to take down the Panthers duo of Anabela Sataric and Estefanie Bethancourt 21-12, 21-6. They gave the Noles an early 1-0 lead in the championship match. The Garnet and Gold did not look back.
On court three, senior Sierra Sanchez and sophomore Macy Jerger were able to give the Seminoles a 2-0 lead. They battled in the first set winning 21-19. In the second set they had it easier as the pair took down FIU’s Helene Thelle and Natalia Giron 21-9 behind the blocking of Sanchez.
“It has been an awesome year,” Sanchez said. “There has been so many changes to our lineup and so many different things happening. We were finally able to come together. Macy and I were able to come together as a pair and it was amazing to get better through this tournament. I think getting through that last match was a testament to the whole team and how hard we work.”
Juniors Victoria Paranagua and Vanessa Freire clinched the Conference Championship for the Noles on court two as too won in straight sets. They caged the Panthers as they came back in the second set to win. The Seminole duo won the first set 21-16, but were down late in the second set 18-16. Paranagua and Freire went on a 5-1 run capped with a Paranagua kill to give the Noles a 3-0 lead and their second consecutive CCSA conference championship
The Noles No. 2 Duo of Paranagua and Freire earned tournament MVP Honors while Horton and Goncalves were named to the all-tournament team.
After capturing the CCSA Championship and holding a 27-7 overall record, Florida State is expected to earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament beginning on May 5.
The NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship Selection Show will stream live on NCAA.com at 7 p.m. on Sunday, April 30.
Fans can also follow the Noles on Twitter (@FSU_BeachVB), Facebook (facebook.com/FSUBeachVB) and on Instagram (@FSUBeachVolleyball).
No. 4 Florida State 3, No. 10 FIU 0 – Emerson, Ga.
1. Leigh Andrew/Brooke Kuhlman (FSU) vs. Margherita Bianchin/Frederica Frasca (FIU) 17-21, 16-17, unfinished
2. Vanessa Freire/Victoria Paranagua (FSU) def. Katie Friesen/Taija Thomas (FIU) 21-16, 21-19
3. Macy Jerger/Sierra Sanchez (FSU) def. Helene Thelle/Natalia Giron (FIU) 21-19, 21-9
4. Katie Horton/Francesca Goncalves (FSU) vs. Katie Hogan/Lina Bernier (FIU) 21-15, 10-19, unfinished
5. Hailey Luke/Eva Torruella (FSU) def. Anabela Sataric/Estefanie Bethancour (FIU) 21-12, 21-6
Order of finish: 5, 3, 2*