Fort Myers, Fla. - The Stetson volleyball team (3-10, 0-3 Atlantic Sun) took the first set Saturday night at A-Sun rival FGCU (8-7, 3-0 A-Sun), but would find itself edged out three times down the stretch in a four-set loss. Junior libero Monique Russell (Phoenix, Ariz.) notched a season-high 22 digs for the Hatters.
The Hatters shook off an early 4-1 deficit in the first set, taking advantage of some Eagle attack errors to open up a 19-15 lead midway through; Stetson held FGCU at arms length the rest of the way home for the 25-22 win.
The match may have turned late in the second set when after fighting off a 22-20 deficit and set point, the Hatters found themselves serving for the set and a 2-0 advantage with a 25-24 lead; however, a service error, attack error and FGCU kill later it was the host Eagles that had wrestled out a 27-25 victory.
Perhaps still reeling from that moment, the Hatters gave up an 8-0 run to FGCU midway through the third set that allowed the Eagles to take a 25-16 win and a 2-1 sets advantage; Florida Gulf Coast closed out the match late in the fourth set with a 3-0 run off a 22-22 tie, ending on back-to-back kills from Jelena Simic.
FGCU enjoyed the statistical advantage in kills (59-41), hitting percentage (.214 to .170), aces (9-4) and digs (81-61). Serving accurately proved troublesome for both teams as the Hatters and Eagles each committed 13 service errors on the night.
Sophomore outside hitter Kaley Melville (New Germany, Minn.) hit .279 with 15 kills and nine digs to lead the Hatter attack while senior outside hitter Kaylee Ream (Venice, Fla.) put up 13 kills and 10 digs for her second double-double of the season and fourth straight match with double-figure kills. Junior setter Kelli Carneal (Fredericksburg, Va.) finished with 32 assists, six digs and three kills while defensively it was Russell (22 digs) and freshman defensive specialist Savannah Byl (Bradenton, Fla.) (seven digs) pacing Stetson.
For FGCU, the thunderous hitting of freshman sensation Jill Hopper (24 kills, 17 digs, .354 hitting percentage) was the key to victory. Simic added an 11-kill, 10-dig double-double with Gigi Meyer (33 assists, 12 digs), Camil Dominguez (12 assists) and Holly Youngquist (24 digs) putting up strong stat lines as well.
The Hatters return home to host NAIA foe Southeastern University at 6:00 pm Tuesday, October 4. Live Stats and Hatter Vision will be available at GoHatters.com.
STETSON SOCIAL MEDIA
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