TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State Beach Volleyball team wrapped up the second and final day of the FSU Beach Invitational with a pair of wins as the Seminoles defeated No. 17 Tulane and the College of Charleston, 5-0 and 4-1, respectively, to close out the regular season with a record of 24-1.
“Even though we changed the line-up so many times this weekend, it just shows how much depth we have which makes my job harder as a coach,” said Florida State head coach Brooke Niles on finishing the tournament with a 4-0 record. “But I know no matter who I put in there that they are going to play really hard. We were tested this weekend. It’s awesome to win, I love being 4-0 at home.”
FSU’s senior class had a fabulous day as the seven Seminoles went a combined 11-0 on Saturday. This year’s senior class, which features Julie Brown (Oviedo, Fla.), Blyss Harkness (Tallahassee, Fla.), Kayla Joyce (Oviedo, Fla.), Annie Montgomery (Sarasota, Fla.), Jace Pardon (Manhattan Beach, Calif.), Kristina Pellitteri (Deerfield Beach, Fla.) and Katherine Plessy (Marietta, Ga.), all had a hand in each of the Garnet and Gold’s four team points against the Cougars in the final match of the tournament.
“It was really special for them,” added Niles on all the seniors contributing to the win against the College of Charleston. “Jace has been here since beach volleyball started as a sport at Florida State and then all the other seniors but a lot of heart and soul, sweat and tears into the sport, seeing it grow so much and now it’s an NCAA Championship. They are just really important to our program and we wanted to honor them and make it special.”
“It felt so good for all the seniors to win,” said Plessy. “I just can’t believe how fast this time as gone; I can’t believe we are all seniors but it was really cool for all of us to win on ‘Senior Day.’”
“It was an unbelievable, indescribable feeling,” added Pellitteri. “It’s always fun having all the seniors play on their one, last night at home. We’re girls, so we are emotional. It was tough being with our families and really thinking about this as our last home game ever, putting on our jerseys at home; it was extremely emotional.”
With all five courts going on at once, FSU quickly secured the team victory posting straight set wins on courts two, four and five. Pellitteri and Victoria Paranagua recorded the first point of the match on court two, 21-14, 21-14. Montgomery and Joyce gave the Noles a 2-0 lead with a win on court four, 21-11, 21-7, while Harkness and Plessy clinched the match for FSU securing a win on four five, 21-17, 21-13.
Brown and Pardon closed out the scoring for FSU with a 21-19, 21-16 victory on court one. College of Charleston’s Krissy Mummey and McKala Rhodes captured the Cougars’ lone point of the match with a straight set victory over Vanessa Freire and Sierra Sanchez, 21-19, 21-18, on court three.
In the first match on day two, the Seminoles cruised past the 17th-ranked Green Wave, 5-0, giving FSU its 14th win over a ranked opponent this year.
Nikki Esposito and Katie Horton gave the Seminoles an early 1-0 lead on court five dominating Tulane’s Sarah Strasner and Anna Chin in straight sets, 21-18, 21-8. Montgomery and Macy Jerger then pulled out a grueling three-set victory on court four to give FSU a 2-0 advantage. After the Noles won set one 21-12, Tulane forced a third and decisive set with a 27-25 victory in set two. The third set went back and forth before Montgomery and Jerger pulled things out 15-13.
The second session was all FSU as the Seminoles won in straight sets on courts one, two and three. Freire and Sanchez clinched the match on court three taking down Tulane’s Miah Diirell and Briana Correa, 21-14, 21-9. Paranagua and Pellitteri recorded the Noles fourth point of the afternoon on court two defeating the Green Waves’ Madeline Mertz and Lan Nguyen, 21-13, 21-18. Brown and Pardon provided the clean sweep on court one downing Tea Juric and Jackie Wegner, 21-15, 21-14.
Florida State’s 24 regular season wins sets a single-season record while its perfect 4-0 record at home this weekend extends the Seminoles’ all-time home record to 20-0.
“It’s easy with our fans, they make us so proud and they give us so much support that it really makes a difference in our game,” said Pellitteri. “When we are down, they cheer for us and we seem to tie the score so quickly. It shows in every single game that the continued support from our community and all our local friends really picks us up and helps us win.”
With the regular season in the books, the Seminoles will now set their sights on the CCSA Conference Championship in Emerson, Ga., April 22-24. Stay tuned to Seminoles.com this week for more information on the upcoming championship. As always, fans can also follow the Noles on Twitter (FSU_BeachVB) and on Instagram (FSUBeachVolleyball) for continued updates on this year’s team.
Match 24 – Tallahassee, Fla.
No. 3 Florida State d. No. 17 Tulane, 5-0
Court 1: Julie Brown/Jace Pardon, FSU d. Tea Juric/Jackie Wegner, TUL - 21-15, 21-14
Court 2: Kristina Pellitteri/Victoria Paranagua, FSU d. Madeline Mertz/Lan Nguyen, TUL - 21-13, 21-18
Court 3: Vanessa Freire/Sierra Sanchez, FSU d. Miah Diirell/Briana Correa, TUL - 21-14, 21-9
Court 4: Macy Jerger/Annie Montgomery, FSU d. Christina McAfee/Hannah Holmes, TUL - 21-12, 25-27, 15-13
Court 5: Nikki Esposito/Katie Horton, FSU d. Sarah Strasner/Anna Chin, TUL - 21-18, 21-8
Order of Finish: 5, 4, *3, 2, 1
*clinched dual win
Match 25 – Tallahassee, Fla.
No. 3 Florida State d. College of Charleston, 4-1
Court 1: Julie Brown/Jace Pardon, FSU d. Melissa Morello/Kayla Tronick, CofC - 21-19, 21-16
Court 2: Victoria Paranagua/Kristina Pellitteri, FSU d. Maddie Hills/Taylor Foley, CofC - 21-14, 21-14
Court 3: Krissy Mummey/McKala Rhodes, CofC d. Vanessa Freire/Sierra Sanchez, FSU - 21-19, 21-18
Court 4: Annie Montgomery/Kayla Joyce, FSU d. Lauren Hollman/Kennedy Madison, CofC - 21-11, 21-17
Court 5: Blyss Harkness/Katherine Plessy, FSU d. Devon Rachel/Allison Beckman, CofC - 21-17, 21-13
Order of Finish: 2, 4, *5, 1, 3
*clinched dual win