March 9, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The fourth-ranked Florida State sand volleyball team will kick off 2013 competition against No. 3 Southern California and Loyola Marymount on Sunday at the Trojans' new on-campus Merle Norman Stadium in Los Angeles.
FSU will face Loyola Marymount in a dual match at 9 a.m. PST and meet the host Trojans at 2 p.m. PST.
The FSU versus USC match will be video streamed on usctrojans.com.
Following Sunday's matches, the Seminoles will travel just a few miles away to Long Beach State's sand volleyball courts to face UCLA and the second-ranked 49ers on Monday.
FSU will face UCLA at 11 a.m. PST Monday before clashing with Long Beach State in a rematch from the 2012 AVCA National Championship Semifinals where the 49ers defeated the Seminoles twice by scores of 4-1 and 3-2 in Gulf Shores, Ala.
Those were the only two losses suffered by Florida State in its inaugural sand volleyball season. Long Beach State finished second behind Pepperdine at the National Championships, while FSU placed third.
"Last year we played really well," Florida State head coach Danalee Corso said. "It was a great season. I'm definitely confident about this year as far as where we are compared to last year. This trip will be educational because many of the players on the team have not been to California and it's where beach volleyball started. There is a lot of history there."
UCLA enters its first year with a collegiate sand volleyball program.
The sand volleyball courts are found on the Long Beach State campus, located directly behind the baseball diamond past the Walter Pyramid. Fans can park in Lot 13 and make the short walk to the courts. Admission is free.
Florida State will be led by a host of experienced veterans and a group of talented newcomers.
Junior Aurora Davis was part the inaugural 10-member sand volleyball All-America class last season, while senior Fatma Yildirim is coming off a stellar honorable mention indoor All-America campaign from the fall.
That pair went undefeated in the season-opening Garnet & Gold exhibition match in Tallahassee last year.
Florida State also has sophomore star Jace Pardon. Pardon paired with Jekaterina Stepanova last season to advance to the semifinals of the AVCA National Pairs Championship. The pair fell in a three-set battle to Long Beach State's All-America duo of Caitlin Ledoux and Tara Roenicke, who return to lead the 49ers.
"We've been working hard all year training in different kinds of weather - since we had trouble with weather last year," sophomore Stephanie Pellitteri said. "We're really prepared. It's exciting to start our season with some West Coast competition."
For updates and more information on the Florida State sand volleyball team, follow the Seminoles on Twitter at: @FSU_SVB.