April 13, 2013
SIESTA KEY, Fla. - The No. 3-ranked Florida State sand volleyball team captured its second consecutive Fiesta on Siesta Team Cup title on Saturday on Day 2 of the nation's largest collegiate sand volleyball tournament.
Additionally, senior Fatma Yildirim and junior Olivera Medic went undefeated in pairs play to snag the Fiesta Gold Division championship, while senior Amanda Saxton and freshman Annie Montgomery grabbed runner-up honors in the Fiesta Silver bracket.
The Fiesta Gold and Silver divisions featured every pair except for each team's top three tandems and each match was played as one set to 25.
The top three pairs on each squad participated in the two-day Siesta bracket that wraps up Sunday morning beginning at 8:30 a.m. with a 16-team single elimination bracket.
All three FSU tandems remain alive in the Siesta bracket after finishing in the top two in each of their respective pools and combining for an 8-1 record.
Sophomores Jace Pardon and Sarah Wickstrom and the team of junior Aurora Davis and freshman Katherine Plessy both went 3-0, while sophomore Melanie Pavels and freshman Julie Brown went 2-1, losing in a three-set match to FIU's No. 1 team.
The team championship was determined by total point totals correlating to the placement of each squads' pairs.
"I keep talking about our depth all year and this team championship is a reflection of that," head coach Danalee Corso said. "We've had top-to-bottom arguably the nation's deepest team this season and we played great today. It was a windy day and we used that to our advantage. We are smaller than a lot of these teams out here, but we have better ball control and defense and those were major factors today. Our top three teams all played great and we are definitely peaking at the right time with Nationals just a few weeks away."
In the Fiesta Gold division, Florida State had two other teams reach the quarterfinals with the tandems of senior Mallory Kiley and junior Jeassica McGregor and sophomore Stephanie Pellitteri and her sister freshman Nina Pellitteri accomplishing the feat.
The highlight of the day was the championship for Yildirim and Medic, who haven't played together much in the sand, but were teammates on the FSU indoor volleyball team in the fall. The duo beat Webber International's Juliane Dougherty and Katie Lindstrom, 25-23, in the finals. They took down the Pellitterri's, 25-23, in the semifinals.
"Fatma has been battling some injuries, but she was great today," Corso said. "Oli played as well as I've seen her. She really stepped it up and elevated her game today. She is a gamer and probably the most improved player on our team."
For more information on the Florida State sand volleyball team, follow the Seminoles on Twitter at: @FSU_SVB.