A few hours after notching a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Drake, the Stetson Volleyball team put up a gutsy effort against host Wyoming before eventually falling 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 36-34) Friday afternoon at the UniWyo Invitational.
The Hatters finished the first day of the tournament with a 1-1 record and will face Montana State and Idaho on Saturday.
Kaley Melville led the Hatters with 17 kills against Wyoming and went over 900-kill mark for her career. Coupled with her 21-kill effort against Drake, she posted 38 kills in just seven sets on the day.In the marathon third set, Stetson staved off four Wyoming match points and held several opportunities with the serve to push the contest to a fourth set. The game also featured late ties in set one (23-23) and set two (22-22).
"It was an exciting match and very fun to be a part of," Stetson head coach Tim Loesch said. "I was really proud with how the team played. Every set was close and could have gone either way. It was a little tough being our second match of the day, and Wyoming's first, so they were just a little bit fresher, and maybe a little bit crisper. Our errors were mostly the result of good play by Wyoming. Anybody that watched the match (on the internet) saw us play at a high level and with chances to win in every set."
Kayla Weller registered 43 assists against Wyoming, giving her a grand total of 97 assists on the day.
"Kayla was the reason we got so many kills," Loesch said. "She did a really good job of executing our offense and she is already playing at a really high level."
After Monique Russell secured the libero position over the past four years, sophomore Michelle Kastner made a strong impact in her first day in that role, finishing with a combined 39 digs.
"Michelle was very consistent today, she made very few errors, and produced a lot of great passes," Loesch said. "She made a lot of great digs, she helped organize the defense, and she really stepped up and filled the role that 'Mo' filled the last few years."
Three different freshmen saw action on opening day, including Madison Akins who recorded eight kills against Drake, and Tiffany Creamer who notched 15 kills vs. Wyoming.
"Madison had a good game in the first match, and Tiffany really stepped up and had a great match in our second match," Loesch said. "It was real exciting to see (the freshmen) contribute."
Stetson owned a 49-47 advantage in kills and a 61-52 advantage in digs.
Notes: Set three was the Hatters longest since the NCAA adopted the 25-point set scoring system in 2008.