EMERSON, Ga. – The last time the Florida State sand volleyball team competed, it was completing its third consecutive appearance in the AVCA National Championships Final Four last spring.
On Saturday, the Seminoles will step on the sand courts of LakePoint Sporting Community in Emerson, Ga., for a preview of what the 2015 season will hold when they compete at Rally Volleyball’s Collegiate Sand Clash on Saturday.
“This competition is great because we’ve been training so hard,” Florida State head coach Danalee Corso said. “I’m excited to see how that translates. We still have a long way to go. I will use this to gage the pulse of the team. It’s important to see how the girls will compete – especially the freshmen.”
FSU will be joined by Georgia State, UAB, LSU and South Carolina at the sand volleyball showcase exhibition event that will begin at 9 a.m.
The Seminoles will return 13 players in 2015, including two-time All-American senior Jace Pardon as well as her classmates Stephanie Pellitteri and Melanie Pavels. The trio have led the Seminoles this fall and will be relied upon heavily as key contributors at the top of the line-up this spring.
“I’m super excited,” Pardon said. “I’m ready to compete. I had some time off, but now I’m hungry for the season to start. I can’t wait to play. We have a great squad and I’m looking forward to this weekend.”
FSU came within one point of being crowned National Champions at the AVCA Collegiate Championships last spring and the Seminoles have used that close loss to Pepperdine as motivation heading into the fourth year of the collegiate sport.
“After the national championships last year we felt like we had some unfinished business,” Pellitteri said. “We’ve definitely been working hard this offseason on the court and in the weight room to get better. We have a really strong team this year and we are looking forward to getting after it.”
In addition to the senior trio, FSU also returns National Championship participants Julie Brown, Kristina Pellitteri and Sierra Sanchez, while adding Jacksonville University transfer Taylor Nyquist, who competed at back-to-back National Pairs Championships.
FSU will be bolstered by the return of redshirt sophomore Katherine Plessy, who sat out last season with an injury, and the addition of indoor volleyball standouts Sarah Wickstrom, a sand All-American in 2012, and Hailey Luke in the spring.
The Seminoles also add the nation’s strongest freshmen class, headlined by U-21 National Champion Tory Paranagua.