EMERSON, Ga. – The Florida State Beach Volleyball team (26-1) got off to a fantastic start on day one of competition at the 2016 CCSA Conference Championship as the Seminoles defeated No. 11 LSU and South Carolina, 3-2 and 5-0, respectively, on the Rally Courts at the Lakepoint Sporting Community. “The first match was very close and LSU played really well but we know we didn’t play our best and we didn’t communicate our best, so I challenged the team to communicate a little bit more, talk and be a little bit more aggressive,” Florida State head coach Brooke Niles said.
“They came out really strong (in the second match) and I was proud of them.”
FSU sits atop group one with a 2-0 record in pool play competition. LSU and South Carolina both sit at 1-1, while UAB is 0-2 after the first day. With a win over UAB on Saturday morning, the Noles will earn a bye into the semifinals of the inaugural championship. Semifinal one will be played at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday.
“We are pleased (with the 2-0 start),” said Niles. “We still have a lot of work to do with one more game in pool play. Our goal is to win our pool and get the bye to play on Sunday.”
Florida State’s first match of the day came down to court three as Vanessa Freire and Sierra Sanchez captured a thrilling three-set victory over LSU’s Cait Leak and Callan Molle in a torrential down pour to give the Noles a 3-2 victory in the opening match Friday morning.
After dropping the first set 22-20, Freire and Sanchez bounced back for a 21-14 win in set two. The third set went back and forth with the Tigers taking a 7-5 lead before the Seminole duo went on a 4-0 run to take the lead at 9-7. With the Noles leading 13-11, LSU won three of the next four points to tie the match at 14-14 before Freire and Sanchez clinched the match winning the next two points to take set three 16-14.
The other four courts were all decided in straight sets as Florida State posted victories on courts one and two, while LSU secured wins on courts four and five. Victoria Paranagua and Kristina Pellitteri registered FSU’s first point of the match defeating Helen Boyle and Lilly Kessler, 21-17, 21-13, on court two.
The Tigers immediately evened the match at 1-1 on court four as Riley Young and Mandi Orellana defeated Macy Jerger and Annie Montgomery, 21-15, 21-16. Jace Pardon and Julie Brown gave the lead right back to FSU with a convincing win on court one downing LSU’s Katie Lindelow and Ashley Allmer, 21-16, 21-18. The lead was short lived as the Tigers’ number five team of Cheyenne Wood and Megan Davenport defeated Nikki Esposito and Hailey Luke, 21-18, 21-15, to tie things up at 2-2 leaving the match up to the game winning heroics of Freire and Sanchez on court three.
In game two, Florida State did not miss a beat winning in straight sets on all five courts en route to a 5-0 sweep over South Carolina. The Seminoles returned the same line-up from their earlier match against LSU and were firing on all cylinders right from the start against the Gamecocks.
Brown and Pardon secured the first point of the match defeating Julia Mannisto and Shannon Williams, 21-11, 21-9, while Jerger and Montgomery bounced back to win 21-16, 21-8 over Sarah Blomgren and Aubrey Ezell.
For the second straight match, Freire and Sanchez provided the match clinching victory with a 21-11, 21-14 victory on court three. Shortly after, Esposito and Luke finished off Erin Neuenfeldt and Lisa Darby on court five, 21-13, 21-12, while Paranagua and Pellitteri completed the clean sweep with a 21-19, 23-21 victory on court two.
Florida State returns to action on Saturday, April 23 for its third and final match of pool play competition of the inaugural CCSA Conference Championship as the Seminoles face eighth-seeded UAB at 10:30 a.m. Stay tuned to Seminoles.com for more information on this weekend’s championship. As always, fans can also follow the Noles on Twitter (FSU_BeachVB) and on Instagram (FSUBeachVolleyball) for continued updates on this year’s team.
Match 26 – Emerson, Ga.
No. 3 Florida State d. No. 11 LSU, 3-2
Court 1:Julie Brown/Jace Pardon, FSU d. Katie Lindelow/Ashley Allmer, LSU – 21-16, 21-18
Court 2: Kristina Pellitteri/Victoria Paranagua, FSU d. Helen Boyle/ Lilly Kessler, LSU – 21-17, 21-13
Court 3: Vanessa Freire/Sierra Sanchez, FSU d. Cati Leak/Callan Molle, LSU – 20-22, 21-16, 16-14
Court 4: Riley Young/Mandi Orellana, LSU d. Macy Jerger/Annie Montgomery, FSU – 21-15, 21-16
Court 5: Cheyenne Wood/Megan Davenport, LSU d. Nikki Esposito/Hailey Luke, FSU – 21-18, 21-15
Order of Finish: 2, 4, 1, 5, *3
*clinched dual win
Match 27 – Emerson, Ga.
No. 3 Florida State d. South Carolina, 5-0
Court 1:Julie Brown/Jace Pardon, FSU d. Julia Mannisto/Shannon Williams, SC – 21-11, 21-9
Court 2: Kristina Pellitteri/Victoria Paranagua, FSU d. Sarah Blomgren/Aubrey Ezell, SC – 21-19, 23-21
Court 3: Vanessa Freire/Sierra Sanchez, FSU d. Macie Tendrich/Katie Reilly, SC – 21-11, 21-14
Court 4: Macy Jerger/Annie Montgomery, FSU d. Delaney Wood/ Jade Vitt, SC – 21-16, 21-8
Court 5: Nikki Esposito/Hailey Luke, FSU d. Erin Neuenfeldt/Lisa Darby, SC – 21-13, 21-12
Order of Finish: 1, 4, *3, 5, 2
*clinched dual win