May 4, 2014
GULF SHORES, Ala. (Seminoles.com) - A day after leading the Florida State sand volleyball team to the Team National Championship Finals, senior Aurora Davis and junior Jace Pardon collected a couple more accomplishments on Sunday.
Florida State's No. 1 pair advanced to the Pairs National Championship Semifinals and both earned their second All-America honors in the process.
Davis and Pardon defeated Stetson's Kaley Melville and Kaylee Anderson, 21-12, 21-9 in the first round of the 16-team single-elimination bracket on the beaches of Gulf Shores and followed with a quick 21-8, 21-15 win over ULM's Zuzana Markova and Marcela Araya in the quarterfinals.
The Seminoles duo fell to Hawaii's Brittany Tiegs and Emily Cook, 21-18, 21-16, in the semifinals.
"They laid it on the line for the team today," Florid State head coach Danalee Corso said of her top pair. "This just wasn't their day today. I'm still so proud of them. Jace will get another crack at it next year. We will send Aurora off with a third-place finish which is great. They played awesome the whole year. I'm proud of everything this team has accomplished this season."
Davis and Pardon actually defeated Tiegs and Cook in three sets on Saturday in the team semifinals to help send the Seminoles to their first-ever National Championship Finals.
After a tough three-set match that went down to the wire against Pepperdine's top pair late Saturday and the earlier pairs tournament matches Sunday morning, Davis and Pardon ran out of gas against the Rainbow Wahine pair.
The FSU tandem was tied 12-12 in the first set with Tiegs and Cook until an 8-1 run gave the Hawaii pair the first set (21-18).
Still, the Seminoles fought hard in set two behind several great cut shots from Pardon and timely kills from Davis. The Garnet and Gold pair took a 14-13 lead in the second set after a big Pardon kill followed a Davis ace. Hawaii used another big run to take control, however, and moved in front 19-15 before closing out the match 21-16.
Davis and Pardon made short work of their opponents in the earlier rounds, opening up the first set in front 10-1 against ULM's Markova and Araya In the quarterfinals and dominating the Hatters top pair in the opening round.
On the season, Pardon and Davis finished with a spectacular 41-4 record en route to All-America accolades.
"It means a lot to be an All-American," Davis said. "There are a ton or good athletes out here. The competition is so good. It's anyone's game at any time. It's tough because we beat (Hawaii) yesterday.
"We had two Final Four appearances this weekend. We barely lost the National Championship. It says a lot about our team and how far we have come."
Pardon also earned All-America honors in 2013, while Davis captured the honor in 2012.
Davis will go down in history as a true leader and three-time captain of the inaugural sand volleyball team, pointing Florida State in the path to greatness right from the start of the sport at the collegiate level.
Florida State's No. 2 team of junior Stephanie Pellitteri and sophomore Kristina Pellitteri also competed in the Pairs Championship, but fell to LMU's No. 1 team of Betsi Metter and Litara Keil in two hard fought 22-20, 22-20 sets.
Trailing 20-17 in set two, the Pellitteri sisters showed the same heart they've had all season long and tied the match at 20-20 on a Nina Pellitteri ace.
The pair played at the No. 5 position last season at the National Championship but put in enough hard work to improve to the No. 2 spot this year and finished with a solid 25-8 record.
"We had a great season," Stephanie Pellitteri said. "We worked really hard - our whole team. We were two points from taking it all in the team championship. Coming from playing the five spot last year to playing the two spot this year, Nina and I have grown so much. It was a great learning experience for us. We know what it feels like being one of the top teams."
CBS Sports Network will televise portions of the National Championship competition, including Saturday's team championship in its entirety in a two-hour special that will have three airings on May 26 (7 p.m. ET), May 30 (7:30 p.m. ET) and June 2 (7 p.m. ET).
For more information visit Seminoles.com and follow the Florida State sand volleyball team's official twitter account @FSU_SVB.
National Pairs Championship Tournament Sunday Results First Round 2-seed Jace Pardon-Aurora Davis (FSU) def. 15-seed Kaley Melville-Kaylee Anderson (Stet) 21-12, 21-9 9-seed Betsi Metter-Litara Keil (LMU) def. 8-seed Stephanie Pellitteri-Kristina Pellitteri (FSU) 22-20, 22-20
Quarterfinals 2-seed Jace Pardon-Aurora Davis (FSU) def. 7-seed Zuzana Markova-Marcela Araya (ULM) 21-8, 21-15
3-seed Brittany Tiegs-Karissa Cook (UH) def. 2-seed Jace Pardon-Aurora Davis (FSU) 21-18, 21-16