Beach Noles Honor Seniors, Finish 3-1 at Home Tournament
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The fourth-ranked Florida State beach volleyball team got back in the sand on Saturday after defeating No. 2 Pepperdine Friday night. The Noles faced some of their toughest competition of the season as they prepare to defend their CCSA Championship next weekend.
Florida State picked up victories over No. 10 Grand Canyon, 3-2, and No. 14 FIU, 3-2, before falling to the second-ranked Waves, 4-1, in the final match of the Noles’ Alumni Weekend Tournament.
FSU finished 3-1 on the weekend to move to 21-7 on the season. The Noles held a ring ceremony for the 2016 conference championship team and also honored their three seniors, Leigh Andrew, Sierra Sanchez and Julia Thompson, before battling the Waves at the end of the day.
“Every weekend we have the toughest schedule,” Florida State head coach Brooke Niles said. “Every weekend we play teams in the Top-15. We are going to learn from this and try to get better heading into the conference tournament.”
The Garnet and Gold started the morning off with a 3-2 win over No. 10 Grand Canyon. It was the third win over Grand Canyon and the second straight win for the Noles over a West Coast school. Redshirt Junior Hailey Luke and redshirt freshman Eva Torruella were the first to fall for FSU as Grand Canyon won in straight sets 21-18, 21-15.
The Seminoles bounced back and won three of the next four matches, three of them in straight sets. Pair four captured the Noles first point as junior Victoria Paranagua and sophomore Macy Jerger won in straight sets 21-17, 21-10. They led the whole match as they took an 11-5 lead in the second set and never looked back. Jerger led the way for Florida State with 12 kills and four aces.
The Noles gained a 2-1 lead as redshirt junior Katie Horton and freshman Francesca Goncalves dominated in straight sets, 21-11, 21-12. The Garnet and Gold got out to 6-1 lead in the second set and kept expanding the lead as they won 21-12. Goncalves dominated the match with 14 kills and five aces. Horton was a brick wall as she had four blocks.
Florida State clinched the match, 3-1, as graduate senior Andrew and sophomore Brooke Kuhlman defeated The Antelopes No. 2 pair of Rebecca Conrad and Jessica Stransfield. They were down early in the first set, but took the lead and never looked back en route to a 21-17 first set win. Andrew and Kuhlman took the lead at the beginning of set and never lost it as they finished up taking the second set 21-12 on an Andrew kill over the right side of the net.
Kuhlman was the star of the match as she recorded 20 of the Noles’ 32 kills.
The Seminoles wrapped up the match with a three-set loss on court one from junior Vanessa Freire and senior Sanchez. The duo fell in the first set 21-16 before they came back to win the second set, 22-20. They fell in the third set 15-12 to give the Noles a 3-2 match win.
The Noles captured another 3-2 victory on Saturday as they took down FIU for the second time this season.
The Seminoles captured the first two possible points in the first flight of matches. Horton and Goncalves dominated the first set as they won 21-11. They did not have it as easy in set two as they were down 11-7 before they came back to win 21-18. Horton was a force on the court as she accounted for 17 kills and another two blocks.
Luke and Torruella gave the Garnet and Gold a 2-0 lead as they came back from a 21-16 first set loss. The No. 4 duo for the Noles took an early lead in the second set and capped it off 21-18. They once again got off to a fast start against FIU’s Anabela Sataric and Estefanie Bethancourt in set three. They finished off the panthers 15-9 thanks to Torruella’s 21 kills and three aces.
Florida State then dropped two straight matches to tie it up 2-2. It started with a Paranagua and Jerger straight set loss, 22-20, 21-15. The Noles then lost on court one as Andrew and Kuhlman fell in a three set match 21-14, 20-22, 15-12.
It came down to court two as Sanchez and Freire faced off against FIU’s Katie Hogan and Lina Bernier. The Noles took the first set from FIU 21-16. The Panthers took an early lead at 5-3, before the Garnet and Gold tied it up at 7-7. Sanchez and Freire then took the lead and held onto it for a first set victory. In the second set FSU never led and dropped it 21-15.
As the match hinged on the tiebreaking third set, the Seminole duo got out of the gates fast and took a 7-2 lead. The Panthers fought back and brought it within four, 14-10, before they served one into the net to give the Noles a 15-10 set three victory and a 3-2 match win.
Florida State finished off the day against Pepperdine for the second time in two days. The Noles beat the Wave 3-2 on Friday.
The Seminoles got out to a 1-0 lead as Horton and Goncalves took a straight set win at position four over Pepperdine’s Deahna Kraft and Anika Wilson, 21-17, 21-15. Horton had another impressive showing as she recorded 19 kills and another two blocks.
The Noles did not record another match point as three of the final four matches went three sets. Pepperdine grabbed a 2-1 lead as Luke and Torruella lost to Pepperdine’s Sarah Seiber and Nikki Lyons, 12-21, 21-18, 15-7, on court five, and Andrew and Kuhlman lost 21-19, 21-13 to Delany Knudsen/Madalyn Roh on court one.
In the final two matches the Noles took the first set but lost the second. Freire and Sanchez led early in the third set, 3-2, but were not able to keep it long as the Wave held the lead 9-8. The Seminoles were able to tie it up 11-11, but could not hold off Pepperdine as the Waves capped off the third set 15-12 and clinched match point.
While Freire and Sanchez were battling Paranagua and Jerger were in a fight of their own in the third set. They were down most of the third set until they tied it up, 7-7. They took an 11-10 lead and then kept swapping points with the Waves. It was tied 14-14 before Pepperdine’s Skylar Caputo and Heidi Dyer scored the final two points to give them a 16-14 third set win and a 4-1 match victory over Florida State.
Florida State looks to start of the 2017 post season next week as the Seminoles will be defending their conference crown at the 2017 CCSA Championship in Cartersville, Ga.
Fans can also follow the Noles on Twitter (@FSU_BeachVB), Facebook (facebook.com/FSUBeachVB) and on Instagram (@FSUBeachVolleyball) for updates from this weekend’s matches.
No. 4 Florida State 3, No. 10 Grand Canyon 2 – Tallahassee, Fla.
1. Molly Turner/Tjasa Kotnik (GCU) def. Sierra Sanchez/Vanessa Freire (FSU) 21-16, 20-22, 15-12
2. Leigh Andrew/Brooke Kuhlman (FSU) def. Jessica Stanstfield/Rebecca Conrad (GCU) 21-17, 21-12
3. Francesca Goncalves/Katie Horton (FSU) def. Tyanna Roy/Anna Unnasch (GCU) 21-11, 21-12
4. Victoria Paranagua/Macy Jerger (FSU) def. Emily Reinking/Hannah Towne (GCU) 21-17, 21-10
5. Kelli Iverson/Jessica Clark (GCU) def. Hailey Luke/Eva Torruella (FSU) 21-18, 21-15
Ext. Nikki Esposito/Danielle Pennington (FSU) def. Leigh Stonerook/Micaela Mirabal (GCU) 15-21, 21-12, 15-10
Order of finish: 4, 5, 3, 2*, 1
No. 4 Florida State 3, No. 14 FIU 2 – Tallahassee, Fla.
1. Frederica Frasca/Margherita Bianchin (FIU) def. Leigh Andrew/Brooke Kuhlman (FSU) 21-14, 20-22, 15-12
2. Sierra Sanchez/Vanessa Freire (FSU) def. Katie Hogan/Lina Bernier (FIU) 21-16, 15-21, 15-10
3. Taija Thomas/Katie Friesen (FIU) def. Victoria Paranagua/Macy Jerger (FSU) 22-20, 21-15
4. Francesca Goncalves/Katie Horton (FSU) def. Mariana De Paula/Mackemzie Walker (FIU) 21-11, 21-18
5. Hailey Luke/Eva Torruella (FSU) def. Anabela Sataric/Estefanie Bethancour (FIU) 16-21, 21-18, 15-9
Ext. Helene Thelle/Natalia Giron (FIU) def. Molly McBain/Nikki Esposito (FSU) 21-18, 21-13
Order of finish: 4, 5, 3, 1*, 2
No. 4 Florida State 1, No. 2/3 Pepperdine 4 – Tallahassee, Fla.
1. Delany Knudsen/Madalyn Roh (PEPP) def. Leigh Andrew/Brooke Kuhlman (FSU) 21-19, 21-13
2. Corinne Quiggle/Brittany Howard (PEPP) def. Vanessa Freire/Sierra Sanchez (FSU) 17-21, 21-19, 15-12
3. Skylar Caputo/Heidi Dyer (PEPP) def. Victoria Paranagua/Macy Jerger (FSU) 14-21, 22-20, 16-14
4. Katie Horton/Francesca Goncalves (FSU) def. Deahna Kraft/Anika Wilson (PEPP) 21-17, 21-15
5. Sarah Seiber/Nikki Lyons (PEPP) def. Hailey Luke/Eva Torruella (FSU) 12-21, 21-18, 15-7
Ext. Katty Workman/Gigi Hernandez (PEPP) def. Julia Thompson/Ali Eager (FSU) 21-14, 21-18
Order of finish: 4, 5, 1, 2*, 3