LakePoint, Ga. - On the first day of the 2018 NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship in Gulf Shores, Ala. the No. 4-seeded Florida State Seminoles were the story of the day as the CCSA Champions pulled off two great victories. LSU remained alive after winning its final dual of the day.
No. 4 Florida State opened the Championship against the two-time defending NCAA Champions No. 5 Southern California and the Seminoles secured a 3-1 victory. At the 5-court, Francesca Goncalves and Madison Fitzpatrick set the tone for the dual as they won 21-13, 21-15 to pick up the first point of the match for Florida State. Macy Jerger and Sara Putt, CCSA All-Tournament selections, continued their great form as they won 21-16, 22-20 to pick up the second point of the dual for FSU. The clinching point would come from one of the best pairs in the nation and CCSA Tournament MVPs, Hailey Luke and Katie Horton. The senior duo won a tightly contested match in three sets, winning 15-8 in the set to give FSU the 3-1 victory.
The Seminoles came back later in the day to face No. 1 seed UCLA, and Florida State was once again on top of its game as the Seminoles defeated the Bruins 3-1 to stay in the winners bracket. Florida State jumped all over the Bruins as they won the first set on four of the five courts. The Seminoles carried that momentum into the second set as Court 5 once again clinched the first point. Goncalves and Fitzpatrick won in straight sets. Court 3 pitched in with another victory as well as Jerger and Putt won in straight sets to give FSU the 2-1 lead. The clinching point came on Court 4 where Molly McBain and Brooke Kuhlman won the first set 21-18, then battled back from an 18-15 deficit in set two to win 28-26 and secure the dual victory for No. 4 Florida State.
No. 7 LSU will take on UCLA in an elimination match tomorrow after a 1-1 day in the 2018 NCAA Championship. LSU dropped its opening dual to No. 2 Pepperdine, but bounced back to defeat fellow CCSA Conference member No. 6 South Carolina, to survive and advance. In that second dual, the 2018 CCSA Pair of the Year Claire Coppola and Kristen Nuss set the tone with a straight set victory at Court 1. The duo won 21-14, 21-18 to get LSU on the board first. After the Gamecocks tied the match at Court 2, Riley Young and Maddie Ligon put LSU back in front with a 27-25, 21-15 win on Court 5. The first set was back and forth, before the duo closed things out in straight sets. The clinching point of the dual came down to Court 3, where Olivia Powers and Hunter Domanski climbed back after losing the first set to win 21-18 and 15-9 in sets two and three.
No. 6 South Carolina dropped its opening match 3-0 against No. 3 Hawai'i before falling to No. 7 LSU in the elimination bracket. The Gamecocks conclude the 2018 season with a 24-9 overall record. No. 8 Florida International participated in its first-ever NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship and the Panthers put up a big fight before falling in both matches. After falling to No. 1 UCLA 3-0, the Panthers gave defending champions Southern California all they could handle, before falling 3-2. Anabel Sataric picked up one of the two wins for FIU on Court 3, one day after taking home the prestigious NCAA Elite 90 Award for holding the highest GPA among participants in this year's NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship.
ESPN is the home for the 2018 NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship, with all matches being shown on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and online or on the WatchESPN app.