LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The second-ranked Florida State beach volleyball team (22-1) split their two matches with No. 1 USC (13-1) on Saturday at Merle Norman Stadium in Los Angeles. It was FSU’s second win over the number one ranked team in the country this season.
USC took the first match 4-1 but the Seminoles responded by winning the second match 3-2. Alaina Chacon and Molly McBain clinched the match in a third set on court one for the Garnet and Gold.
“I am so proud of our team and our resiliency,” said head coach Brooke Niles. “We came out this morning and didn’t play like ourselves. We were tentative and not focused on our game plans. I’m so proud of how we adjusted after a quick turnaround, especially after being down 0-2 again. We kept fighting and clawing our way to each point.”
The win over No. 1 USC gave head coach Brooke Niles her 50th career top-10 victory and her third-ever win over the number one team in the country.
Florida State suffered their first loss of the season to start off the day. The Seminoles fell behind 2-0 early after USC earned straight-set wins on both courts four and five, handing Kate Privett and Jenna Johnson their first loss of the season.
Southern Cal expanded their lead to 4-0 with another pair of straight-set wins on courts one and two. With the match already clinched, the FSU duo of Sara Putt and Maddie Anderson remained unbeaten on the season with a 23-21, 21-17 win on court three. It was the only team point for Florida State in match one.
The Seminoles fell behind early once again in the second match, after losing on courts four and five. FSU did take the first set on court five 21-17 but Privett and Johnson lost the second set 21-16 and the third set 15-13.
With just three courts remaining, Florida State needed to win all three, and that is just what they did. Putt and Anderson continued to dominate, as they won 21-16, 21-13 on court three to get FSU on the board. The pair improved to 23-0 together on the season.
Not too long after, FSU tied things up with another straight-set win, this one coming on court two. Keara Rutz and Torrey Van Winden took the first set 21-17 before they tied the match up with a 21-19 second set win.
With the match tied at two, all eyes turned to court one as Molly McBain and Alaina Chacon were heading to a third set. The Seminole duo won the first set 27-25 and then lost the second set 21-15. In the third and final set for the match, Chacon and McBain jumped out to a quick 5-1 lead before Sammy Slater and Tina Graudina of USC tied it up at seven. The two teams would be back and forth throughout as it would all be tied at 14 and then tied again at 15. FSU would take the final two points and the third set, 17-15 to take down No. 1 USC on their home courts.
Florida State finishes off their trip to California tomorrow with a pair of matches against No. 4 UCLA beginning at 1 pm EST.
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