March 15, 2014
LOS ANGELES - The fourth-ranked Florida State sand volleyball team went 2-1 on Friday at Southern California's Merle Stadium, sweeping No. 6 UCLA (5-0) and Loyola Marymount (5-0) and losing a close 3-2 dual to the second-ranked Trojans.
The Seminoles were led by the No. 1 pair of senior Aurora Davis and junior Jace Pardon and the No. 3 tandem of junior Stephanie Pellitteri and sophomore Kristina Pellitteri, who both went 3-0 and only dropped one set.
"Our whole team played well in what was a very long day of great competition," Florida State head coach Danalee Corso said. "We tweaked the lineup a little bit from Wednesday and as the day went on. We battled very close with USC. That's how you expect those matches to be between two of the nation's Top 4 teams. It's always going to be a battle. We'll get some rest tonight and then get ready for another marathon day tomorrow."
The Southern California event wraps up Saturday with bracket play beginning at 9 a.m. PT. Pairs will have to win four consecutive matches to capture the title in their grouping.
FSU played USC first before taking on Loyola Marymount and UCLA. Each match was split into two waves with Courts 4 and 5 playing first followed by Courts 1, 2 and 3.
The Seminoles started the dual against Southern California in a 2-0 hole. Senior Fatma Yildirim and sophomore Kayla Joyce lost a close 21-16, 26-24 dual to Allie Wheeler and Nicolette Martin on Court 5, while juniors Sarah Wickstrom and Katie Mosher dropped a three-set matchup to Eve Ettinger and Bria Russ on Court 4, winning the first set 21-18, but dropping the next two 21-16, 15-11.
FSU rallied on Courts 1, 2 and 3, however.
Pardon and Davis continued to show why they could be the nation's top tandem by knocking off the Trojans' top duo of Kirby Burnham and Sara Hughes in an epic three-set thriller, 18-21, 21-18, 19-17. Pardon served an ace and Davis had two huge kills, including a match-point smash, down the stretch to pick up the huge pairs victory. Burnham teamed with former Trojan Stevi Robinson to claim the ACVA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championship pairs title in 2013, while Hughes was that No. 1 sand volleyball recruit in the country heading into the 2014 campaign.
The Pellitteri's also came out on top in a three-set affair with Sam Hirshmann and Natasa Silijkovic, coming back to grab a 20-22, 21-17, 22-20 win on Court 3. Kristina Pellitteri tallied the final two points in the back-and-forth final set, getting a tool kill followed by a deep line shot that dropped for the win.
Florida State thoroughly dominated Loyola Marymount, Corso's alma mater, in its second match. All five teams won in two sets. Pardon and Davis cruised past the Lions' No. 1 pair of Betsi Metter and Litara Keil (21-11, 21-6), Brown and Pavels routed Kathleen Luft and Avery Bush on Court 2 (21-13, 22-20) and the Pellitteri's took down Taylor Akana and Rachelle Suaava (21-16, 21-16) on Court 3.
On Court 4, Yildirim and Joyce downed Caitlin DeWitt and Hannah Tedrow, 21-11, 21-12, and freshmen Hailey Luke and Sierra Sanchez handled Ashley Maxfeldt and Anne Marie Taylor on Court 5, 21-6, 21-16.
Florida State wrapped up a long Friday with another 5-0 win against sixth-ranked UCLA, but had to pick up a pair of three-set victories on Courts 1 and 2 to insure the sweep.
Pardon and Davis grabbed a 21-16, 20-22, 15-9 win over Bruins' top pair Jessyka Ngauamo and Kamila Tan, while Brown and Pavels edged UCLA's Zoe Nightingale and Maddie Smith, 20-22, 21-15, 15-9 on Court 2.
The Pellitteri's dominated on Court 3, breezing past Rachel Inouye and Karly Droslen, 21-16, 21-7. The sisters held a commanding 17-4 lead at one point in the second set against the UCLA pair.
On Court 4, Wickstrom and Mosher captured a 25-23, 21-12 win over Taylor Formico and Karsta Lowe, while Luke and Joyce paired together for the first time to snag a 21-18, 21-12 victory on Court 5.
"We had some outstanding performances today," Corso said. "Jace and Aurora were phenomenal. They beat a USC team that had one of the reigning national pairs champions and a very tall UCLA squad. Julie is playing very well - she's becoming a great blocker. Hailey Luke made her debut today and showed a lot of potential. All of our freshmen are playing well. We're excited with how the team is progressing."
For more information visit Seminoles.com. Live updates from Los Angeles will also be reported on the Florida State sand volleyball team's official twitter account @FSU_SVB.
Results #2 Southern California 3, #4 Florida State 2 At Merle Stadium, Los Angeles 1.) Jace Pardon-Aurora Davis (FSU) def. Kirby Burnham-Sara Hughes (USC) 18-21, 21-18, 19-17 2.) Alexa Strange-Kelly Claes (USC) def. Julie Brown-Melanie Pavels (FSU) 24-22, 21-19 3.) Stephanie Pellitteri-Kristina Pellitteri (FSU) def. Sam Hirshmann-Natasa Siljkovic (USC) 20-22, 21-17, 22-20 4.) Eve Ettinger-Bria Russ (USC) def. Sarah Wickstrom-Katie Mosher (FSU) 18-21, 21-16, 15-11 5.) Allie Wheeler-Nicolette Martin (USC) def. Fatma Yildirim-Kayla Joyce (FSU) 21-16, 26-24 Exhibition: Hailey Luke-Sierra Sanchez def. Brooke Fournier-Kati Duddridge 21-17, 21-14
#4 Florida State 5, Loyola Marymount 0 At Merle Stadium, Los Angeles 1.) Jace Pardon-Aurora Davis (FSU) def. Betsi Metter-Litara Keil (LMU) 21-11, 21-6 2.) Julie Brown-Melanie Pavels (FSU) def. Kathleen Luft-Avery Bush (LMU) 21-13, 22-20 3.) Stephanie Pellitteri-Kristina Pellitteri (FSU) def. Taylor Akana-Rachelle Suaava (LMU) 21-16, 21-16 4.) Fatma Yildirim-Kayla Joyce (FSU) def. Caitlin DeWitt-Hannah Tedrow (LMU) 21-11, 21-12 5.) Hailey Luke-Sierra Sanchez (FSU) def. Ashley Maxfeldt-Anne Marie Taylor (LMU) 21-6, 21-16 Exhibition: Annie Montgomery-Julia Thompson (FSU) def. Alyssa Walton-Taylor Scioscia (LMU) 22-20, 21-16
#4 Florida State 5, #6 UCLA 0 At Merle Stadium, Los Angeles 1.) Jace Pardon-Aurora Davis (FSU) def. Jessyka Ngauamo-Kamila Tan (UCLA) 21-16, 20-22, 15-9 2.) Julie Brown-Melanie Pavels (FSU) def. Zoe Nightingale-Maddie Smith (UCLA) 20-22, 21-15, 15-9 3.) Stephanie Pellitteri-Kristina Pellitteri (FSU) def. Rachel Inouye-Karly Drolsen (UCLA) 21-16, 21-7 4.) Sarah Wickstrom-Katie Mosher (FSU) def. Taylor Formico-Karsta Lowe (UCLA) 25-23, 21-12 5.) Hailey Luke-Kayla Joyce (FSU) def. Skylar Dykstra-Jennie Frager (UCLA) 21-18, 21-12