EMERSON, Ga. – The Florida State sand volleyball team was dominant in its first competition since the 2014 AVCA National Collegiate Championships, cruising to a first-place finish at the inaugural Collegiate Sand Clash presented by Rand Volleyball over the weekend.
The Seminoles won 51 sets for an 82 percent winning percentage en route to the team championship at the fall exhibition held at LakePoint Sporting Community in Emerson Ga., on Saturday.
FSU finished ahead of Georgia State, LSU, South Carolina and UAB at the event on a day that featured temperatures in the 30’s.
“I thought we played excellent and we are only going to get better,” Florida State head coach Danalee Corso said. “Jace (Pardon) and Nina (Pellitteri) looked amazing. Nina has really improved and really impressed me. Stephanie (Pellitteri), Julie (Brown) and Tory (Paranagua) all were impressive. We changed up some lineup combinations and some of the pairs had only been practicing together for a few days, but overall it was a great performance.”
Pardon, a senior two-time All-American, and Pellitteri, a junior, won all eight of the sets they played in dominating fashion. The pair routed South Carolina’s No. 1 team of Julia Mannisto and Paige Wheeler, 21-10, 21-11, and took down Georgia State’s top duo, Maggie Dostalova and Jansen Button, 21-15, 21-8.
Senior Melanie Pavels and junior Annie Montgomery also finished undefeated, taking all eight of their sets, and picking up a 21-15, 21-9 victory over LSU’s No. 1 tandem of Mandi Orellana and Lilly Kessler.
Brown, a junior, and Paranagua, a freshman competing in her first collegiate event, only dropped one set and also picked up a win over LSU’s Orellana and Kessler, 21-16, 23-21.
Sophomore Sierra Sanchez and freshman Vanessa Freire finished 7-1, while the trio of juniors Blyss Harkness and Kayla Joyce and freshman Julia Thompson combined to finish 8-0.
“It was cold and windy early in the day, but by the end of the day it wasn’t too bad,” Corso said. “We won’t compete again till the spring and we will give the players a small break before adding the indoor volleyball girls in January. We’re looking really strong. I’m very happy where we are at.”
The Noles will open the 2015 season on March 7 in DeLand, Fla., against Stetson and FIU before traveling to California for a West Coast trip that will feature matchups with national powers Long Beach State, Pepperdine and Southern California.