Softball loses to Villanova, beach volleyball splits

Although they brought the tying run to the plate twice in the bottom of the seventh, the Seminoles’ comeback came up short on Sunday as No. 8 Florida State (10-6) dropped its final game of the weekend to Villanova (11-9) by the score of 9-6. The Wildcats used an eight-run third inning, scoring all of them with two outs, to take a lead that they would not relinquish.

Villanova pitcher Paige Rauch won her 10th game of the season on Sunday and is also batting .439 with 10 home runs at the plate this season, as the junior is one of the 50 players on the Watch List for the 2020 USA Softball National Player of the Year.

“Tough way to close out the weekend, but we are still learning and growing,” said FSU coach Lonni Alameda. “We can’t dwell on this and will need to get refocused for another week full of games in Tallahassee and Orlando this coming week. Overall, a lot of great learning moments and opportunities for the entire team this weekend and I’m looking forward to where we go from here.”

After retiring the Wildcats in order in the circle in the top of the first inning, FSU starting pitcher Cassidy Davis helped her own cause in the bottom half of the inning with a two-run home run to left, scoring Dani Morgan who reached on a two-out single. It was her team-leading fourth HR of the season as the Noles took an early 2-0 lead.

Morgan Noah led off the bottom of the second inning with a single to right and scored on a two-out, two-run home run to center by Sydney Sherrill, the 31st HR of her career to make it 4-0 Seminoles.

Davis retired eight of the first nine batters she faced, including a double play in the second inning, but Villanova took the lead in the top of the third with eight runs, all with two outs. After a pair of walks and a pair of RBI singles, Brianna Enter relieved Davis. Enter issued a pair of walks, had a run score on a passed ball and gave up a three-run home run as Villanova went in front, 7-4.

Davis came back in to pitch and gave up a single and an RBI triple, before Kathryn Sandercock took over in the circle. The sophomore got the Noles out of the inning by catching a hard line drive back to the circle. 

The Seminoles got a pair of runners on base in the bottom of the fifth inning with singles by Sherrill and Devyn Flaherty, but a fly out and a strikeout left them both stranded on base. 

Sandercock faced the minimum through her first 2.1 innings of relief, including a double play in the fifth inning, before a pair of doubles in the top of the sixth inning extended Villanova’s lead to 9-4. 

Kaia LoPreste opened the FSU seventh inning with a single to center and was pinch-run for by Maegan Tomlinson. After a groundout moved her up to second with one out, Tomlinson scored on an RBI single to center by Sherrill, her third hit of the game.

The inning continued with a walk by Flaherty and Morgan was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out. Davis hit a sacrifice fly to make it 9-6 with runners on the corners and two outs, but a pop out ended the game. 

The Seminoles will return to Tallahassee to host Holy Cross (0-5) on March 3 at 6:00 p.m. The game will be streamed on ACC Network Extra and links for the broadcast, live stats and tickets will be available on the softball schedule page on Seminoles.com.

Beach volleyball

The third-ranked Florida State beach volleyball team (10-1) split their two matches on the final day of the Hilton Head Island Invitational. The Noles opened the day with a 5-0 win over College of Charleston before coming up just short against No. 4 USC 3-2.

No. 3 Florida State vs. College of Charleston

The Seminoles started the day with their seventh sweep in the first 10 matches of the season. The Noles totally dominated College of Charleston, allowing no more than 10 points in five of the 10 sets played.

Florida State performed well in the first wave of matches taking courts four and five in straight sets. Sophomore Morgan Chacon and freshman Keara Rutz put the Noles on the board first with a dominant performance on court five. They took the first set 21-12 and improved on that in the second set, taking the set 21-8 and the match. Senior Payton Caffrey and freshman Liz Waters-Leiga gave the Garnet and Gold a 2-0 lead heading into the second wave of matches with a 21-15, 25-23 win on court four. In the second set the Seminole duo fell behind 20-17 before tying it up at 20. After exchanging points with College of Charleston, the FSU pair pulled ahead and won the second set 25-23.

With today’s win, Payton Caffrey moves into sole possession of first place for most wins at FSU on court four.

Wave two got underway with total domination from the Seminoles on courts one, two and three. The three pairs did not allow more than eight points in the first set and allowed a combined 21 points on three courts. Sophomore Kate Privett and freshman Maddie Anderson clinched the match on court three. After dominating the first set 21-7 they did not ease off the gas, winning 21-10 in the second set.

With the match already in hand, senior Molly McBain and junior Alaina Chacon cruised to a win on court one. The pair only allowed 15 total points, winning 21-6, 21-9. Juniors Madison Fitzpatrick and Alice Zeimann capped it off with a 21-8, 21-14 win on court two.

No. 3 Florida State vs. No. 4 Southern Cal

Florida State suffered their first loss of the season in a tightly contested 3-2 match against No. 4 USC. The match came down to a third set on court two which the Seminoles went on to lose 15-13.

The Seminoles got out to a hot start in the first wave, capturing the first point of the match on court four. Caffrey and Waters-Leiga grabbed the first set 21-16 and turned that into a 21-13 second set.

On court five, Chacon and Rutz were down most of the match but tied it up at 19. The match would go to extra points and USC would win 22-20. The Seminole duo would bounce back in the second set taking it convincingly 21-15. With the third set tied at five, the Noles could not get the lead as they would go on to lose the final set 15-13.

Heading into the second wave of matches tied at one, the Seminoles would lose all three first sets. USC would take its first lead of the match with a 21-19, 21-17 win on court three. Florida State would tie it up at two with a big three-set win on court one. McBain and Chacon lost the first set 21-19 but bounced back to take the next two sets 21-17, 15-10.

The fate of the match hinged on court two as Fitzpatrick and Zeimann lost the first set 21-18. They bounced back to take the second 21-15. In the final set the two teams continued to exchange blows. Down 14-12 Florida State was able to narrow it to 14-13 but would lose the final set 15-13.

The Noles head to Jacksonville next Saturday, March 2 for two matches against UNCW (11:30 am) and UNF (1 pm).

FSU men’s golf

Redshirt freshman Cole Anderson shot a 2-under 69 in the opening round of the Cabo Collegiate in Cabo del Sol to guide the Florida State men’s golf team to a tie for fifth.

The Seminoles shot 2-under on the day, keeping pace with a field that includes 14 of the 15 teams ranked in the Top 50. FSU is just four strokes behind tournament tri-leaders Arizona, Oklahoma State and Baylor.

Anderson is tied for eighth among the tournament’s 80 golfers. He shot six birdies on the day and carded a 32 on the back nine including a stretch of three birdies in four holes played on 13, 15 and 16. The native of Camden, Maine, birdied all four of the course’s par 5 holes. His 69 is the second round in the 60s of his young career.

Junior John Pak is tied for 15th with a 1-under 70, marking his eighth consecutive round under par. Collegiate golf’s second-ranked golfer according to Golfstat shook off a triple bogey on the opening No. 5 hole and shot a 32 on the back nine. He also had three consecutive birdies on holes 2-4 to finish his round in style.

Senior Jamie Li shot an even-par 71, which included four birdies. Despite a double bogey on the back-nine 14th, he joined the parade of Noles who played well on holes 10-18 by carding a 34.

Sophomore Alberto Martinez also gave FSU a good counting score with a 1-over 72. He finished the round with a birdie on the 137-yard, par-3 seventh hole to help the Noles move up the leaderboard.

FSU men’s tennis

The No. 15 Florida State men’s tennis team (10-3, 1-0) earned their first ACC win of the season with a thrilling 4-1 win over Georgia Tech (7-5, 1-2) at the Scott Speicher Memorial Tennis Center.

“It was a good win today over a very good hard-fought team,” said coach Dwayne Hultquist. “Georgia Tech came out and got the doubles point on us, but I thought we responded well in singles getting all six first sets to gain control of the match. They fought back and won three-second sets, but we gave ourselves a lead in those third sets. The key was we fought on all three courts and gave ourselves three options. Rana (Roop Singh Bhullar) got it done in a pretty physical match and I am pleased with how our guys came through at the end.”

Singles competition

  1. #82 Alex Knaff (FS) vs. #65 Andres Martin (GT) 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 4-4, unfinished
  2. Sebastian Arcila (FS) def. Marcus McDaniel (GT) 6-2, 6-2
  3. Loris Pourroy (FS) def. Pablo Schelcher (GT) 6-4, 6-3
  4. Marcus Walters (FS) vs. Chris Yun (GT) 6-2, 3-6, 6-6, unfinished
  5. #104 Rana Roop Bhullar (FS) def. Brandon Freestone (GT) 6-3, 4-6, 7-5
  6. Chase Wood (FS) def. Keshav Chopra (GT) 6-2, 6-4

Doubles competition

  1. Alex Knaff/Loris Pourroy (FS) def. Carlos Divar/Marcus McDaniel (GT) 6-1
  2. Andres Martin/Pablo Schelcher (GT) def. Sebastian Arcila/Marcus Walters (FS) 6-3
  3. Chris Yun/Brandon Freestone (GT) def. Rana Roop Bhullar/Richard Thongoana (FS) 6-4

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