Despite an 11-kill, nine-dig effort from junior Kaley Melville, the Stetson volleyball team dropped a 3-1 decision to Florida Gulf Coast in an Atlantic Sun Conference match Saturday afternoon at Alico Arena. The Eagles (18-7, 13-0 A-Sun) won by scores of 25-15, 25-14, 20-25, 25-18.
The Hatters posted 41 kills in the match and hit .164 as a team. Ellen Hawks assisted on six of the Hatters eight blocks, while posting six kills and a .294 hitting percentage. Cailyn Prewitt recorded nine kills and three blocks, Catherine Coston contributed seven kills, and Kelli Carneal dished out a season-high 34 assists. Monique Russell led the defense with 11 digs.
"I am happy to say the girls played hard, they improved as the day went along, and they did much better the last few sets," Stetson head coach Tim Loesch said. "I liked what Kaley Melville did today, passing, attacking, and being a vocal leader. Ellen Hawks also did a good job blocking, attacking, and playing her role. I thought Catherine Coston stepped up and had one of her best matches as a Hatter."
"FGCU did a lot of good things, but I thought we did as well," Loesch said. "Hopefully we can keep improving and playing better down the stretch."
After dropping the first two sets, Stetson came out strong in set three, opening up a 13-10 lead and prompting the Eagles to call their first timeout. After the break the Hatters stayed hot as Melville, Coston, and Carneal each recorded kills to help extend the advantage to 18-13. After using their second timeout the Eagles were able to close the gap to two at 20-18, but Stetson finished strong and captured their first set victory in conference play since Sept. 29 vs. ETSU.
Despite tie scores at 7-7 and 8-8, FGCU controlled the fourth set to close out its 14th consecutive victory and remain undefeated in conference play.
Melville surpassed the 300-kill mark on the season, and stands at 799 digs for her career.
The Hatters (4-26, 0-13 A-Sun) became the first Division I team in 2012 to play 30 matches. Fordham will play its 30th match Saturday night.
Stetson will return home Tuesday night to host UNF in the team's 2012 Passionately Pink match. The Hatters will be outfitted in pink and fans are encouraged to wear pink as well. Donations will be accepted for the fight against breast cancer and all proceeds will go to Susan G. Komen For The Cure.