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Seminoles Brush Off Rain to Dominate Day 1



April 18, 2014

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The rain never let up and neither did the Seminoles on Friday during Day 1 of competition at the Florida State Pairs Challenge.

Despite a steady downpour and gusting winds all day, the fourth-ranked Florida State sand volleyball team was able to host 36 matches of pairs pool play with No. 10 Georgia State, ULM and South Carolina to kick-off the two-day event.

Led by senior All-American Aurora Davis and junior All-American Jace Pardon, the Seminoles had four pairs go undefeated at 3-0 in their respective pools and will have three teams in the Team Cup's Gold Division, the top pool, on Saturday.

"It is extremely tough playing in these conditions but this is our sport and our ladies have played in much worse," FSU head coach Danalee Corso said. "This could happen at the National Championships. It is a totally different game when it rains like this so we have to practice in this. In reality, if we had to practice in this we would take a day off but when it is a competition you have to play.

"This is a great mental practice for the team because conditions like this is a great equalizer. The top seeds aren't as strong because you are dealing with another element. They have to play a different kind of game. The ball is heavier, it is more of a (shot-heavy) game. It definitely is going to toughen us up mentally."

The Team Cup trophy will be awarded to the squad with the most points following Saturday's competition. The point scale will work as follows: first place in the Gold pool will earn 12.5 Team Cup points, second place will earn 12 points, third place 11.5 points and fourth place 11 points. The winner of the Silver pool will be awarded 10.5 points and so forth down the finishes of each pool.

There will be a Gold, Silver, Bronze, AAA, AA and A divisions.

Joining Davis and Pardon, who swept all three of their matches in their pool to improve their record to 33-1 this season, were junior Melanie Pavels and sophomore Julie Brown and senior Fatma Yildirim and junior Sarah Wickstrom.

Pavels and Brown didn't drop a set en route to winning their pool.

Yildirim and Wickstrom finished 2-1 in their pool, falling to ULM's No. 1 team of Zuzana Markova and Marcela Araya 21-17, 21-19. Markova and Zuzana join the Seminoles' top three pairs in the Gold Division.

"I think a day like this is really good because when it comes to Nationals you never know what the weather is going to be like," Davis said. "Just to be ready for anything I think it really helps us with that."

Two duos of young performers also went undefeated for FSU and will headline the AAA Division during Saturday's play.

Sophomore Annie Montgomery and freshman Julia Thompson and freshmen Sierra Sanchez and Hailey Luke both finished 3-0 without dropping a set.

Also competing on Friday was the pair of sophomores Kayla Joyce and Lexy Ryan, who finished 2-1 with their only loss coming in three sets to Georgia State's Delaney Rohan and Alexis Townsend.

"I think everyone did really well," Pardon said. "No one complained. It is great practice playing in these types of conditions so we can be ready for anything at Nationals. It was good experience."

Senior Day honors were originally scheduled for Friday, but will now be Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Davis and Yildirim will be honored in a brief ceremony on Court 1.

For more information visit Seminoles.com and follow the Florida State sand volleyball team's official twitter account @FSU_SVB.

Pool Play Results
Pool A (FSU 3-0, GSU2 2-1, SC3 1-2, ULM2 0-3
Jace Pardon/Aurora Davis (FSU1) def. Michelle McNamee/Bianca Ocana (ULM2) 21-13, 21-14
Sara Olivova/Jansen Button (GSU2) def. Mikaela Christiaansen/Jade Vitt (SC3) 21-15, 21-18
Jace Pardon/Aurora Davis (FSU1) def. Mikaela Christiaansen/Jade Vitt (SC3) 21-16, 21-7
Sara Olivova/Jansen Button (GSU2) def. Michelle McNamee/Bianca Ocana (ULM2) 17-21, 21-19, 15-5
Jace Pardon/Aurora Davis (FSU1) def. Sara Olivova/Jansen Button (GSU2) 21-7, 21-14
Mikaela Christiaansen/Jade Vitt (SC3) def. Michelle McNamee/Bianca Ocana (ULM2) 21-19, 23-21

Pool B (FSU2 3-0, GSU1 2-1, ULM3 1-2, SC2 0-3)
Katie Madewell/Moriah Bellissimo (GSU1) def. Jordan Loney/Megan Kent (SC2) 21-16, 19-21, 16-14
Julie Brown/Melanie Pavels (FSU3) def. Hadley Swartz/Hope Pawlik (ULM3) 21-10, 21-11
Katie Madewell/Moriah Bellissimo (GSU1) def. Hadley Swartz/Hope Pawlik (ULM3) 15-21, 21-16, 15-13
Julie Brown/Melanie Pavels (FSU3) def. Jordan Loney/Megan Kent (SC2) 21-18, 21-18
Julie Brown/Melanie Pavels (FSU3) def. Katie Madewell/Moriah Bellissimo (GSU1) 21-15, 21-16
Hadley Swartz/Hope Pawlik (ULM3) def. Jordan Loney/Megan Kent (SC2) 17-21, 23-21, 15-13

Pool C (ULM1 3-0, FSU3 2-1, SC1 1-2, GSU3 0-3)
Zuzana Markova/Marcela Araya (ULM1) def. Fatma Yildirim/Sarah Wickstrom (FSU2) 21-17, 21-19
Paige Wheeler/Sarah Blomgren (SC1) def. Katelyn Rawls/Sarah Agnew (GSU3) 21-19, 21-11
Zuzana Markova/Marcela Araya (ULM1) def. Katelyn Rawls/Sarah Agnew (GSU3) 21-11, 21-18
Fatma Yildirim/Sarah Wickstrom (FSU2) def. Paige Wheeler/Sarah Blomgren (SC1) 21-16, 21-14
Zuzana Markova/Marcela Araya (ULM1) def. Paige Wheeler/Sarah Blomgren (SC1) 21-15, 21-10
Fatma Yildirim/Sarah Wickstrom (FSU2) def. Katelyn Rawls/Sarah Agnew (GSU3) 21-12, 21-13

Pool D (GSU5 3-0, FSU6 2-1, GSU7 1-2, ULM5 0-3)
Delaney Rohan/Alexis Townsend (GSU5) def. Lexy Ryan/Kayla Joyce (FSU6) 21-16, 14-21, 15-11
Lexy Ryan/Kayla Joyce (FSU6) def. Jessica Fourspring/Kaitlynn Hufstetler (GSU7) 21-12, 21-16
Delaney Rohan/Alexis Townsend (GSU5) def. Celine Flores/Kaitlyn Shearer (ULM5) 21-8, 21-8
Delaney Rohan/Alexis Townsend (GSU5) def. Jessica Fourspring/Molly Smestad (GSU7) 21-14, 21-14
Lexy Ryan/Kayla Joyce (FSU6) def. Celine Flores/Kaitlyn Shearer (ULM5) 21-5, 21-7
Jessica Fourspring/Molly Smestad (GSU7) def. Celine Flores/Kaitlyn Shearer (ULM5) 21-11, 22-20

Pool E (FSU4 3-0, GSU4 2-1, USC5 1-2, USC6 0-3)
Milani Pickering/Natalie Wilson (GSU4) def. Chynna Ratner/Koko Atoa-Williams (SC5) 21-15, 21-8
Annie Montgomery/Julia Thompson (FSU4) def. Morgan LaVigne/Helen Recaborde (SC6) 21-8, 21-9
Milani Pickering/Natalie Wilson (GSU4) def. Morgan LaVigne/Helen Recaborde (SC6) 21-18, 21-12
Annie Montgomery/Julia Thompson (FSU4) def. Chynna Ratner/Koko Atoa-Williams (SC5) 21-19, 21-13
Annie Montgomery/Julia Thompson (FSU4) def. Milani Pickering/Natalie Wilson (GSU4) 21-12, 21-18
Chynna Ratner/Koko Atoa-Williams (SC5) def. Morgan LaVigne/Helen Recaborde (SC6) 21-17, 21-13

Pool F (FSU5 3-0, GSU 6 2-1, ULM4 1-2, USC4 0-3)
Hailey Luke/Sierra Sanchez (FSU5) def. Alannah Cullum/Rachel Arnason (ULM4) 21-13, 21-6
Karlee Kavanaugh/Alexis Elmurr (GSU6) def. Litsa Darby/Erin Neuenfeldt (SC4) 21-12, 21-16
Karlee Kavanaugh/Alexis Elmurr (GSU6) def. Alannah Cullum/Rachel Arnason (ULM4) 21-19, 23-21
Hailey Luke/Sierra Sanchez (FSU5) def. Litsa Darby/Erin Neuenfeldt (SC4) 21-10, 21-15
Alannah Cullum/Rachel Arnason (ULM4) def. Litsa Darby/Erin Neuenfeldt (SC4) 21-17, 28-30, 15-8
Hailey Luke/Sierra Sanchez (FSU5) def. Karlee Kavanaugh/Alexis Elmurr (GSU6) 21-9, 21-14

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