TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State’s Sand Volleyball team kicked off its second season with a Garnet & Gold intersquad match at the Seminole Sand Volleyball Courts on Sunday.
“We were really deep [as a team] and I knew that we would be, but we had some really strong performances coming out of nowhere and it’s a great place to be,” FSU head coach Danalee Corso said.
The girls were split into two teams. The Garnet Team, also known as Team Malihini, which means “visitor” in Hawaiian, was made up of players who live outside of Central and South Florida. The Gold Team, also known as Team Kama’aina, which means “resident” in Hawaiian, was made up of players from Central and South Florida. Each player played a ‘game within a game.’ What that meant was that each individual player obtained points for their respective team when they won their match (not set). The team with the most points at the end of the second match was declared the winner. Team Malihini, or the Garnet Team, defeated Team Kama’aina, or the Gold Team, 12-8.
The Seminoles had three different teams win a combined all four sets in both of their matches. Each of those teams had one true freshman on them as well.
“I am really happy with the freshman,” Corso said. “I think they’ve really proven that they can step in and take a major role. I love that. I think that’s how it’s going to be every year. It’s going to be tough to find a starting spot and that’s how it is at really good programs in any sport.”
Sophomore Melanie Pavels and freshman Katherine Plessy owned court two all day long by defeating the duo of sophomore Jace Pardon and senior Marija Milosavljevic, 21-16, 21-18, and defeating the team of sophomore Sarah Wickstrom and freshman Julie Brown, 21-18, 21-17.
Junior Jeassica McGregor and freshman Lexy Ryan beat freshman Kayla Joyce and senior Amanda Saxton in straight sets, 21-19, 21-19, in the first match. In the second match, McGregor and Ryan squeezed out a close one in straight sets against sophomore Katie Mosher and freshman Sarah Burrington, 21-19, 24-22.
The most dominant team was the duo of freshman Nina Pellitteri and junior Olivera Medic. The tandem cruised past the teams of freshmen Blyss Harkness and Annie Montgomery, 21-14, 21-15, and sophomore Stephanie Pellitteri and senior Mallory Kiley, 21-17, 21-15. “Today I was really nervous to be honest,” said Nina Pellitteri. “Our first game of the season, I didn’t know what was going to happen as a freshman, but it turned out really well today. Oli and I ended up playing really great and won some big games today.”
The most entertaining matches of the day happened on court three and on court one.
In the first match on court three, Stephanie Pellitteri and Kiley defeated the team of Mosher and Burrington in three sets, 21-13, 21-23, 16-14. Each set constantly went back and forth; the third and final set was decided by having to win by two.
In the second match on court one, the marquee match between All-American Aurora Davis and new partner Fatma Yildirim against Pardon and Milosavljevic was one to get Seminole fans excited for this season. Pardon and Milosavljevic took the first set, 21-15, before Davis and Yildirim came fighting back winning the last two sets and clinching the match point. Davis secured the match point on an ace to win the third set, 15-7.
A year ago, Davis (née Newgard) was named an All-American with her partner Brittany Tiegs. With Tiegs gone, Davis will likely spend the season playing with Yildirm, who was an indoor All-American for the Seminoles this season.
“The last couple weeks we have been playing a lot together, getting a feel for one another,” Davis said. “I was just really excited. Fatma is a really awesome player.”
The Florida State sand volleyball team heads to the west coast next week for a Tri-Match against USC and LMU to begin full competition on Sunday, March 10 in Los Angeles, Calif.
For updates and more information on the Florida State sand volleyball team, follow the Seminoles on Twitter at: @FSU_SVB.
Court 1 – Aurora Davis/Fatma Yildirim defeated Sarah Wickstrom/Julie Brown, 28-26, 21-15
Court 2 – Melanie Pavels/Katherine Plessy defeated Jace Pardon/Marija Milosavljevic, 21-16, 21-18
Court 3 – Stephanie Pellitteri/Mallory Kiley defeated Katie Mosher/Sarah Burrington, 21-13, 21-23, 16-14
Court 4 – Nina Pellitteri/Olivera Medic defeated Blyss Harkness/Annie Montgomery, 21-14, 21-15
Court 5 – Jeassica McGregor/Lexy Ryan defeated Kayla Joyce/Amanda Saxton, 21-19, 21-19
Court 1 – Aurora Davis/Fatma Yildirm defeated Jace Pardon/Marija Milosavljevic, 15-21, 22-20, 15-7
Court 2 – Melanie Pavels/Katherine Plessy defeated Sarah Wickstrom/Julie Brown, 21-18, 21-17
Court 3 – Nina Pellitteri/Olivera Medic defeated Stephanie Pellitteri/Mallory Kiley, 21-17, 21-15
Court 4 – Jeassica McGregor/Lexy Ryan defeated Katie Mosher/Sarah Burrington, 21-19, 24-22
Court 5 – Kayla Joyce/Amanda Saxton defeated Blyss Harkness/Annie Montgomery, 21-15, 21-17