April 22, 2018 - by
Three-Peat: Seminoles Claim Third-Straight CCSA Beach Volleyball Championship

EMERSON, Ga. – At the Rally Volleyball courts on Sunday morning, the Florida State volleyball team was warming up in the pouring rain, all singing along to senior Vanessa Freire’s favorite song, “Africa” by Toto – everyone chiming in at every mention of rain. There was an aura of confidence around the team as the Seminoles headed into their third consecutive CCSA Championship match, an energy that carried them through a 3-0 shutout of LSU.

FSU went 6-0 over the weekend, finishing at the top of its pool and downing FIU 5-0 in the semifinal round before continuing on to sweep the Tigers. While the Seminoles faced a tough LSU team in less than desirable weather, the team was still strong enough to earn the first three points and claim their third conference title in as many years.

Florida State has proven itself as the dominant force in the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association, going undefeated in both conference play and the CCSA Championship for all three years of the conference’s existence.

The Seminoles surrendered only one point in the 2018 Championships, earning a 27-1 pairs record in its 6-0 weekend. It’s the best record FSU has ever seen at the event after giving up two points in 2016 and four in 2017.

Florida State saw a similar outcome last season, where FSU saw FIU both in pool play and the championship match. Both times Florida State defeated its opponent 4-1 in pool play and 3-0 in the final.

The pairs of Macy Jerger/Sara Putt and Hailey Luke/Katie Horton were named to the CCSA All-Tournament Team, while Luke/Horton took home the Tournament MVP honor.

FSU becomes the second NCAA beach volleyball program to win its conference championship three years in a row, as Pepperdine won the WCC title on Saturday (April 21). Hawaii and Southern Cal will have a chance to do the same as the Big West and Pac 12 Championships will be held next weekend (April 26-29).

Florida State now turns its attention to the NCAA Championship. The eight teams for the tournament will be chosen next Sunday, April 29 at 7:00 pm Eastern time on NCAA.com. FSU is one of only two NCAA beach volleyball programs (along with Pepperdine). to make an appearance in every AVCA and NCAA Championship.


Conference Champions

Semifinal – #1 Florida State 5, #3 FIU 0

  1. Tory Paranagua/Vanessa Freire (FS) def. Federica Frasca/Margherita Bianchin (FIU) 21-14, 18-21, 15-11
  2. Katie Horton/Hailey Luke (FS) def. Lina Bernier/Erika Zembyla (FIU) 13-21, 21-14, 19-17
  3. Macy Jerger/Sara Putt (FS) def. Katie Friesen/Dorina Klinger (FIU) 21-17, 21-16
  4. Brooke Kuhlman/Molly McBain (FS) def. Mariana Dal Pozzo/Taija Thomas (FIU) 21-13, 21-10
  5. Francesca Goncalves/Eva Torruella (FS) def. Natalia Giron/Estefanie Bethancour (FIU) 28-26, 21-16

Order of finish: 4, 3, 5*, 1, 2

The Panthers gave FSU some trouble in the beginning of the match, keeping all of the first set scores tight. Kuhlman/McBain pulled ahead to win the first set at No. 4, but FIU took the first set at No. 2. The Seminoles closed out the first sets at No. 1 and 3 and a tight battle on five to take four of the first sets from the Panthers.

Kuhlman/McBain battled through the next set to earn the first team point for FSU, and Horton/Luke fought back to win the second set at No. 2 to force a third. Jerger/Putt won in straight sets at No. 3 to earn the Seminoles’ second team point, and Goncalves/Torruella clinched the match for FSU win a win in the No. 5 position.

The top two positions were each decided in three sets. Paranagua/Freire stayed ahead to earn the fourth point for the Seminoles, and Horton/Luke fought off a close battle at No. 2 to close out the sweep. It marked the second time that the Seminoles swept their semifinal match in the CCSA Championship, and the 11th time in program history FSU shutout its opponent in a conference tournament match.


Final – #1 Florida State 3, #4 LSU 0

  1. Tory Paranagua/Vanessa Freire (FS) vs. Claire Coppola/Kristen Nuss (LSU) 12-21, 21-18, 14-13 DNF
  2. Katie Horton/Hailey Luke (FS) def. Haleigh Nelson/Mandi Orellana (LSU) 21-18, 21-19
  3. Macy Jerger/Sara Putt (FS) def. Olivia Powers/Hunter Domanski (LSU) 11-21, 21-15, 15-9
  4. Brooke Kuhlman/Molly McBain (FS) vs. Emmy Allen/Megan Davenport (LSU) 21-12, 19-21, 12-11 DNF
  5. Francesca Goncalves/Eva Torruella (FS) def. Riley Young/Maddie Ligon (LSU) 21-17, 19-21, 15-12

Order of finish: 2, 3, 5*

The Tigers fought off Florida State from the beginning of the match, taking the first sets at No. 3 and No. 1 to start things off in the Championship match. The Seminoles stayed tough on courts four, five and two to earn the first set on each.

In the second set, nearly every result flipped as the matches went to three sets on four of the five courts. Despite facing close competition on the second court, Hailey Luke and Katie Horton were able to close out a straight-set win to secure the Seminoles’ first team point.

From there the third sets on the remaining four courts all came down to the wire, but Sara Putt and Macy Jerger jumped into the lead and earned the second point for FSU. With the Tigers holding the Seminoles back from clinching on the first, fourth and fifth courts, Francesca Goncalves and Eva Torruella pulled ahead and won in three sets to clinch the match for Florida State.

LSU was Florida State’s third different opponent in the CCSA Championship title match, and the Seminoles have won each title in 3-0 decisions.


CCSA All-Tournament Team

Katie Horton / Hailey Luke, Florida State – MVP
Macy Jerger / Sara Putt, Florida State
Claire Coppola / Kristen Nuss, LSU
Federica Frasca / Margherita Bianchin, Florida International
Shannon Williams / Ali Denney, South Carolina
Brooke Weiner / Tiffany Creamer, Georgia State
Maddy Mertz / Kaylie McHugh, Tulane


Match Notes

  • FSU’s season record improves to 30-6.
  • Florida State is undefeated in the CCSA Championship with a 17-0 record.
    • FSU’s pairs record in the championship is 72-7.
  • The Seminoles’ pairs record in the 2018 CCSA Championship was 27-1.
    • It’s the best record FSU has ever seen at the event. They surrendered only two points in 2016 and four in 2017.
  • With its sweeps of FIU and LSU, Florida State has now shutout its opponent at the CCSA Championship 12 times.
  • This is the second year the Seminoles faced a member of their pool in the finals (saw FIU in the championship match last year). Both times FSU defeated its opponent 4-1 in pool play and 3-0 in the finals.
  • FSU defeated LSU three times in a span of only seven days, playing the Tigers in Baton Rouge on the last day of the regular season and twice in the conference tournament.
  • Only Pepperdine and FSU have won their conference championships three times in a row. Hawaii and USC have the opportunity to do the same as the Big West and Pac 12 Championships will be held next weekend (April 26-29).


Records to Watch

  • Tory Paranagua
    • With a 98-24 dual match record, Paranagua holds the record for the most career dual match victories in program history.
      • She is two wins away from becoming the first Seminole in program history to reach 100 career dual match wins.
    • Her 111-29 overall record ranks fourth in program history.
    • Her 28-7 record at the No. 1 position is tied for fourth in program history. She needs just one more win to take third place.
    • Her 42-7 record at the No. 2 position is the second most ever earned at FSU.
  • Vanessa Freire
    • Her 96-30 career dual record ranks second in program history, right behind her partner’s 98 career dual wins.
    • Her 106-33 career overall wins ranks fifth in program history.  
    • Her 36-13 record in the No. 2 position ranks third all-time behind Paranagua’s 42 wins and Pellitteri’s 44.
  • Sara Putt and Macy Jerger are undefeated as a pair with a 17-0 record, all in the No. 3 position.
  • Macy Jerger’s 42-10 record at the No. 3 position is a program record.
  • Katie Horton now holds the record for most wins at the No. 4 position with a 30-11 record. Francesca Goncalves and Hailey Luke are both tied for the sixth-most wins on the fourth court, each with a 15-4 record.
  • Four current players rank in the top-5 for most wins at No. 5, as Hailey Luke leads with a 42-16 record, followed by Eva Torruella coming in second (28-6), Nikki Esposito coming in third (19-11) and Molly McBain tied for fourth with a 15-5 record.



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