DeLAND, Fla. – The second-ranked Florida State Beach Volleyball (2-0) team posted a pair of victories over No. 10 LSU and No. 9 Stetson to open the 2017 campaign on Saturday at the Stetson Spring Break Invitational. The Seminoles got off to a hot start, defeating the Tigers, 4-1, in the morning. The Noles began strong as pairs No. 4 and No. 5 won their first sets. On Court 4, redshirt junior Hailey Luke and sophomore Nikki Esposito fell in the second set 19-21 after winning the first set 26-24.
The pair came back and won the final set 15-9 to capture the Seminoles’ first point of the afternoon. On Court 5, redshirt junior Katie Horton and freshman Molly McBain fell in the second and third sets 19-21, 11-15 after taking the first set 21-12.
Tied 1-1 with LSU, the top three pairs took the court and breezed to victory as each duo won its match in straight sets. The No. 1 pair of graduate senior Leigh Andrew and sophomore Brooke Kuhlman gathered up the second point of the afternoon for the Noles, winning in straight sets, 21-10, 21-17. Junior Vanessa Freire and freshman Francesca Goncalves clinched the win for the Garnet and Gold on Court 2 as they too won in straight sets, 26-24, 21-13. Sophomore Macy Jerger and junior Victoria Paranagua cleaned house on Court 3, 23-21, 21-19, as they wrapped up the Seminoles’ 4-1 win.
“The first match we had some jitters because we hadn’t played in a while,” head coach Brooke Niles said. “We were still figuring out partnerships. We played hard and LSU was tough.”
In the second match of the day, Florida State returned to the beach in Deland to face tournament-host Stetson. The Seminoles got off to a fantastic start thanks to wins at the fourth and fifth positions courtesy of Luke and senior Sierra Sanchez (19-21, 21-18, 15-10) and Horton and redshirt freshman Eva Torruella (21-19, 21-15).
FSU wasted very little time clinching the match as the No. 1 duo of Andrew and Kuhlman defeated the Hatters, 21-18, 21-19.
The pairing of Freire and Francesca Goncalves started off strong on Court 2, winning the first set 21-12 before falling in the last two sets, 16-21, 12-15. Paranagua and Jerger capped off the afternoon as they went into a three-set comeback thriller (19-21, 21-18, 18-16) on Court 3 that resulted in the Seminoles’ fourth and final point.
“We are a young team,” Niles said. “We have some older, upperclassmen playing with some younger freshmen so we knew it would be a little up and down. It was nice to see them all find a way to win together. I saw some improvement throughout the day.”
The Seminoles return to action on Sunday as they play in the Stetson Pairs Tournament starting at 10 a.m.
Match 1 – DeLand, Fla.
No. 2 Florida State d. No. 10 LSU, 4-1
Court 1: Leigh Andrew/Brooke Kuhlman, FSU d. Emma Allen/Riley Young, LSU – 21-10, 21-17
Court 2: Vanessa Freire/Francesca Goncalves, FSU d. Claire Coppola/Kristen Nuss, LSU – 26-24, 21-13
Court 3: Victoria Paranagua/Macy Jerger, FSU d. Lilly Kessler/Katie Lindelow, LSU – 23-21, 21-19
Court 4: Hailey Luke/Nikki Esposito, FSU d. Taylor Bradley/Olivia Powers, LSU – 26-24, 19-21, 15-9
Court 5: Cati Leak/Maddie Ligon, LSU d. Katie Horton/Molly McBain, FSU – 12-21, 21-19, 15-11
Exh: Riley Young/Callan Molle, LSU d. Breana Edwards/Danielle Pennington, FSU – 18-21, 23-21, 15-11
Order of Finish: 4, 5, 1, 3*, 2
*clinched dual win
Match 2 – DeLand, Fla.
No. 2 Florida State d. No. 9 Stetson, 4-1
Court 1: Leigh Andrew/Brooke Kuhlman, FSU d. Maggie Skjelbred/S. Helland-Hensen, SU – 21-18, 21-19
Court 2: Darby Dunn/Kristen Lind, SU d. Vanessa Freire/Francesca Goncalves, FSU– 12-21, 21-16, 15-12
Court 3: Victoria Paranagua/Macy Jerger, FSU d. Emily Carroll/Kaylee Anderson, SU – 19-21, 21-18, 18-16
Court 4: Hailey Luke/Sierra Sanchez, FSU d. Tiffany Creamer/Rachel Noble, SU – 19-21, 21-18, 15-10
Court 5: Katie Horton/Eva Torruella, FSU d., Carly Perales/Jami Walsh, SU, 12-21, 21-19, 15-11
Exh: Samantha Harris/Alexa Richardson, SU d. Devon Hultquist/Julia Thompson, FSU – 11-21, 21-19, 17-15
Order of Finish: 5, 4, 2, 1*, 3
*clinched dual win