April 10, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The fourth-ranked Florida State sand volleyball team heads to Siesta Key, Fla. this weekend looking to capture the Fiesta on Siesta Key Team Cup Title for the third consecutive year.
The Seminoles will open the weekend playing their last two dual matches of the season on Friday against Webber and Tulane beginning at 2 p.m. The Noles are undefeated all-time against East Coast teams in dual matches, including an 11-0 record against schools this season.
The Fiesta on Siesta Key is the biggest collegiate sand volleyball event in the nation with 30 different universities competing. Florida State has won the Team Cup Title in both years that it has participated in the event.
"This is such an awesome event to go to," assistant coach Brian Corso said. "The fact that we have had a lot of success down there the past two years is exciting. Going in as defending team champions is another great opportunity to continue to establish ourselves as the best out here in the Southeast."
The event begins at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday and will be split up into two groups of pool play.
The top two pairs from 10 schools and four at-large teams will be placed into six pools of four teams competing for the Siesta Sand Pairs Challenge. Florida State will have its top three tandems battling in the pairs challenge. Because the Seminoles are the top ranked team based off the AVCA rankings, they have earned one of the four at-large berths. The results from pool play will determine the seeding for bracket play which will be played on Sunday. Each match will be best-of-three sets, with rally scoring to 21 in the first two sets and to 15 in the third.
The remaining pairs from each school will compete in the Fiesta on Siesta Team Cup starting on Saturday at 10 a.m. There will be 27 different pools of four teams with pool play being one set to 25 points. After pool play, all teams will advance into four single elimination bracket playoffs. The Fiesta on Siesta Team Cup title will be awarded based on the final finish points for the top four pairs from each school.
The Seminoles have plenty of experience at the Fiesta on Siesta Key event. Last year, junior Stephanie Pellitteri and sophomore Kristina Pellitteri placed first in the 12-team "Sunday Fun 1" bracket. Junior Melanie Pavels and sophomore Julie Brown will look to improve on the success of last year's third-place finish in the 16-team Gold Division. In 2012, senior Aurora Davis placed first in the Fiesta Pairs Tournament while her current partner junior Jace Pardon finished second. Senior Fatma Yildirim placed first that year in the Siesta Pairs Tournament.
Florida State is able to play on the beach for the last time before the AVCA National Championships less than a month away in Gulf Shores, Ala. The beach brings many different elements than other sand courts the Seminoles have competed at.
"It's a tough one," Corso said. "At Siesta Key, the surface is very flat, hard and compact as opposed to Gulf Shores which is a little deeper and is very similar to our site. Having the elements as far as the wind and things of that nature is awesome.
The sand conditions are two extremes. Siesta Key is similar to almost playing on an indoor surface. It is very thin sand where Gulf Shores has a little deeper, thicker sand. The fact that we are playing in a different environment can only do us good."
For more information visit Seminoles.com or the Fiesta on Siesta Key website at FiestaOnSiestaKey.com and follow the Florida State sand volleyball team's official twitter account @FSU_SVB.