The Daily Nole

FSU Beach Volleyball Goes 2-0 to Open NCAA Tournament

Bill Love/FSU athletics

After being eliminated in just two matches last season at the championships, top-seeded Florida State began the 2016 NCAA Tournament on the right foot in Gulf Shores, Alabama on Friday, but it didn’t come without drama.

After Nikki Esposito and Hailey Luke were defeated on Court 5 and Vanessa Freier and Sierra Sanchez were defeated on Court 3 for the Seminoles, FSU won on the final three courts to defeat Hawaii, 3-2.

Florida State’s Katie Horton and Annie Montgomery beat Hawaii’s Lara Schreiber and Hannah Zalopany in straight sets, 21-16 and 21-12. The FSU combination of Kristina Pellitter and Victoria Paranagua did likewise, topping Hawaii’s Nikki Taylor and Ka’iwi Schucht 21-15 and 21-16.

The match was ultimately decided on Court 1. Julie Brown and Jace Pardon overcame a 21-14 loss in the first set to win the second 21-17 over the Hawaii combination of Katie Spieler and Emily Maglio. Brown and Pardon clinched the match for the Seminoles with a 16-14 victory in the decisive set.

Florida State opened the day by defeating Stetson, 3-0.

Freier and Sanchez defeated Stetson’s duo Kaylee Anderson and Emily Carroll 21-16 and 23-21. Pellitter and Paranagua also won in straight sets for the Seminoles, topping Stetson’s Kristin Lind and Madison Tormey, 21-17 and 21-12.

FSU’s Nikki Esposito and Hailey Luke came back from a 21-16 loss in the first set to defeat Jamie Walsh and Alexa Richardson 21-15 and 15-10 over the next two sets. FSU was winning in the third set on each of the other courts when the match finished.

The Seminoles will resume NCAA Tournament play on Saturday at 4 p.m. against USC. The Trojans are the second seed in the tournament and beat both Georgia State EST and Pepperdine by 3-0 margins. The contest will air on truTV.

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