LakePoint, Ga. - The 2018 CCSA Beach Volleyball season is around the corner, and the league's head coaches voted Florida State's Vanessa Freire as the league's Preseason Player of the Year, the league office announced on Thursday. She was joined by nine other student-athletes on the CCSA Beach Volleyball Preseason All-Conference squad.
Freire makes it back-to-back Preseason Player of the Year honors after another outstanding campaign for the Florida State Seminoles last season. She posted a 29-9 record last season, second-most wins on the team and was named to the CCSA Championship Tournament MVP Pair playing alongside Tory Paranagua. She earned one CCSA Pair of the Week honors once, while also taking home National Pair of the Week honors on one occasion by DiG Magazine. Her play helped Florida State win the CCSA Championship title and earn the team an appearance in the NCAA Tournament again.
Freire was joined by three of her teammates, giving Florida State four players on the 10-person squad, the most of any league team. Paranagua, Goncalves and Brooke Kuhlman joined Freire among the league honorees. Paranagua had her best season with the Noles last year as she led the team with 30 wins. She was named CCSA Pair of the Week once and collected Championship MVP honors alongside Freire. Kuhlman is coming off a year where she was named AVCA All-American, the eighth in Florida State beach volleyball history. She finished 2017 with a 22-14 record, with 17 of those 22 wins coming in the No. 1 position. Goncalves the 2017 CCSA Freshman of the Year, joins the team after winning 29 matches in 2017. She was tied for second on the team and made an immediate impact helping Florida State win the CCSA Championship.
Florida Atlantic's Jessalyn Kinlaw captured a spot on the CCSA Preseason All-Conference team after a record-breaking season last year. She tied the school record with 23 match wins last season, all of them coming at the No. 1 position. During the season, Kinlaw had an 18-match unbeaten streak, including four wins over nationally ranked opponents. She competed in the National Pairs Championship as well, becoming the first to play for FAU at that event.
Claire Coppola and Kristen Nuss give LSU two honorees on this year's CCSA Preseason All-Conference team. Nuss posted a 27-7 record, including 18 wins at the No. 1 position for the Tigers. She earned All-American honors by Volleyballmag.com and posted nine wins against nationally ranked opponents. Coppola played alongside Nuss for the 2017 season as the duo collected 18 victories in the top position. Coppola also posted a 9-1 record at the No. 2 position, with seven wins over top-10 competition.
South Carolina's Katie Smith was voted to the CCSA Preseason team after being a member on the 2017 CCSA All-Freshman team. The sophomore posted an impressive 22-16 record last season, tying the school's program record for most wins by a freshman. She went 17-9 at the No. 1 position and recorded five wins against top-15 ranked opponents. Kaylie McHugh and Maddy Mertz rounded out the CCSA Preseason All-Conference squad. Tulane's McHugh was also a member of the All-Freshman team last season while compiling a record of 28-9 on the season with 24 of those 28 wins coming in straight sets. Mertz returns for her senior campaign as she recorded a 23-14. Mertz came on strong to close the year as she finished the regular season on a five-game winning streak.
For the second season, we asked the CCSA Beach Volleyball fans who their choice for Preseason Player of the Year is in a fan vote conducted on social media. With 328 votes, South Carolina's Franky Harrison earned the fan's choice. Over 1,100 people cast votes on the league's Facebook page.
The 2018 season begins this week as several teams are in action to open the campaign.