March 7, 2014 - by
No. 4 FSU Sand Volleyball Kicks Off Third Season Saturday

March 7, 2014

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The fourth-ranked Florida State sand volleyball team will begin its third season this weekend at the 2014 UNF Sand Invitational at the St. Augustine Beach Pier before heading over to the West Coast next week to battle some of the country’s top teams.

Florida State will compete against four of the nation’s Top 10 teams over a nine-day stretch.

On Saturday, the Seminoles will face No. 9 Florida International at 9:30 a.m. before taking on ULM at 11:30 a.m. FSU will compete against Jacksonville at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday and wrap up the event against host UNF at 2:30 p.m.

The Seminoles will then look to gain revenge against the defending national champions Long Beach State on Wednesday in Long Beach, Calif. FSU nearly defeated the 49ers at the 2013 AVCA National Championships, falling 3-2.

After facing third-ranked LBSU, Florida State will meet No. 2 Southern California, No. 6 UCLA and Loyola Marymount at Merle Norman Stadium in Los Angeles for dual matches on March 14 and bracket play on March 15.

“We are playing the toughest teams in the East Region right off the bat,” Florida State sand volleyball head coach Danalee Corso said. “We’re excited. We are prepared and we don’t take anybody lightly. It’s our third season now. We are ready to compete.

“We start off in California against the defending national champions – Long Beach State. We are looking for success against them. We can gauge how the rest of the season will go based on these next 10 days. Its good competition and its good to start off strong like that.”

The Seminoles will rely heavily on its experienced sand-only veterans early in the season, including All-Americans Aurora Davis and Jace Pardon.

Davis was an All-American in 2012, while Pardon collected the honors in 2013. That pair along with junior Stephanie Pellitteri and her sister, sophomore Kristina Pellitteri, and junior Melanie Pavels and sophomore Julie Brown will likely be FSU’s top core. All six players competed at last season’s national championships

Junior Sarah Wickstrom, an All-American in 2013, is expected to round into sand shape as the season moves on as the FSU indoor volleyball setter has been splitting time practicing on both the sand and indoor courts, while senior Fatma Yildirim should be a factor after recently returning to FSU after spending the fall with the Turkish national indoor team.

Sophomore Kayla Joyce, junior Katie Mosher and freshman Sierra Sanchez will also push for spots in the lineup early.

In two years, FSU holds a 33-6 mark in dual matches, including a 30-2 mark in the regular season. Florida State is undefeated against teams from the East Coast.

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