May 29, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida State sand volleyball team finished its 2014 season with a 19-3 dual match record and reached the AVCA National Championship Finals for the first time in school history.
The Seminoles went 3-2 at the AVCA National Championships in Gulf Shores, Ala., defeating Stetson, 5-0, No. 6 ranked FIU, 5-0, and No. 3 ranked Hawai'i, 4-1, before falling to No. 2 ranked Pepperdine, 3-2, in the National Finals.
"Coming into this past season, I had no plans of putting Aurora and Jace together because they both played the same position," Florida State head coach Danalee Corso said. "I like to recruit players like Jace that can play both positions. We trained her in the blocking role and after watching them both play together, I was blown away. They were just so good."
It was the second time Davis and Pardon have earned All-America honors. The duo finished the season with a 41-4 record (.911 winning percentage) and held a winning streak of 26 matches in a row including all 52 sets during that span. Davis and Pardon also reached the semifinals of the single-elimination pairs bracket at the AVCA National Championships.
Senior Fatma Yildirim and junior Sarah Wickstrom didn't get paired up until midway through the season, but once they did they made sure to make the most of it. Jumping from the No. 5 spot, to No. 4 and finishing as the No. 3 team for the Seminoles, Yildirim and Wickstrom finished the season with an incredible 24-3 record including a 5-0 mark in dual matches at the AVCA National Championships.
Junior Stephanie Pellitteri and sophomore Kristina Pellitteri held down the No. 2 court for the majority of the season. The sisters posted a 25-8 record on the season and nearly claimed All-American honors after appearing in the pairs bracket of the AVCA National Championships.
The emergence of freshman Hailey Luke and Sierra Sanchez will be a bright spot for the Seminoles for years to come. The freshman tandem posted a 14-5 record in the first year of collegiate competition. Their consistent improvement throughout the season earned them the final spot in the starting lineup as the Noles competed at the AVCA National Championships.
Junior Melanie Pavels and Julie Brown had a 26-11 record and won the Gold bracket division at the Fiesta at Siesta Key sand volleyball event. The duo won seven consecutive matches en route to the Gold Championship.
Sophomore Annie Montgomery and freshman Julia Thompson finished the season with a 14-7 record and won the Silver division at the Fiesta at Siesta Key event. Montgomery and Thompson trailed 16-8 in the Silver Finals, but fought back to win 27-25. It was just one comeback among several for the duo this season.
Florida State finished its season with a 6-3 record against ranked teams defeating then-No. 9 and No. 6-ranked FIU, No. 3 and the 2013 National Champions Long Beach State, No. 6 UCLA, No. 8 Georgia State, and No. 3-ranked Hawai'i.
The Seminoles completed their regular season with a 16-1 dual match record with their only loss being to No. 1-ranked USC in Los Angeles, Calif., 3-2. FSU placed first at the CofC Sand Challenge, and won the Team Cup at the Florida State Pairs Challenge.
Florida State will lose seniors Davis and Yildirim for the 2015 season, but will bring back much of the core team that reached the AVCA National Championship Finals.
"Our whole team gets better every year," Corso said. "I have no doubt some of the younger players that didn't get the chance to start will be able to step into much bigger roles next year."
The Seminoles will bring in some highly touted recruits to round out the 2015 roster as they will look to win their first National Championship in school history.
"All of the girls that are coming in next year are the best players from their area," Corso said. "We have a lot of depth. After seeing how our players progress each year, I know that we will have a tremendous chance to reach our ultimate goal next season."
For more information visit Seminoles.com and follow the Florida State sand volleyball team's official twitter account @FSU_SVB.