Stetson University senior libero Monique Russell set the school single-season digs record on Tuesday night, but visiting UNF came away with a 3-1 victory in an Atlantic Sun Conference volleyball match at the Edmunds Center. The Ospreys (17-11, 8-7 A-Sun) won by scores of 25-12, 25-23, 23-25, 25-21.
The match was Stetson's "Passionately Pink" night, where the program helped raise approximately $700 for Susan G. Komen For The Cure and the fight against breast cancer. In addition to wearing pink uniform shorts, several players dyed their hair pink as did head coach Tim Loesch.
Russell picked up 20 digs in the match, including her 456th dig of the season, which moved her past Cindy Benge (1991) and Peggy Machamer (1985) and into first place on the Hatters' single-season digs list. She set the school career digs record earlier this season.
Despite UNF holding a 68-37 advantage in kills and an 87-74 advantage in digs, the Hatters (4-27, 0-14 A-Sun) had an opportunity to win three of the final four sets.
"I was pleased the girls responded, and started competing hard and following the game plan," Hatters head coach Tim Loesch said. "The last three sets were all very close, unfortunately we came up a little short in two of them. We had our chances, especially in game two when we had the lead until late, but we kind of let that one slip away. But I liked their effort, I liked that they were trying to do good things out there today."
Stetson received double-doubles from Kaley Melville (12 kills, 10 digs) and Kayla Weller (13 assists, 19 digs). Cailyn Prewitt registered 11 kills and four blocks, while Ellen Hawks picked up six blocks for the second straight match. She surpassed the 100-block mark on the season, becoming the first Hatter since Meghan Wright in 2002 to do so.
Kelli Carneal dished out 19 assists.
"Kaley Melville had a real nice match," Loesch said. "She took a lot of swings and was pretty efficient for the number she had. Cailyn Prewitt did a great job of attacking for us. And I thought both our middles (Hawks, Morgan Pautsch) did a pretty good job, too. They had fewer opportunities but got a few kills and a few blocks for us. I thought 'Moe' did a nice job defensively and made several good digs."
Loesch pointed out that although UNF had the statistical advantage, the Hatters were nearly able to force a fifth set.
"Because they followed the game plan, we had a shot to win all of the last three sets," Loesch said. "That's something I've been trying to relay to the girls, if you do the right things that we are asking, we'll have opportunities to win. So I'm glad they bought into that, and hopefully we can continue that down the stretch."
Stetson will be on the road this weekend for a pair of A-Sun matches. The Hatters travel to USC Upstate for a 6 p.m. match on Friday followed by a trip to ETSU for a 2 p.m. match on Saturday.
Notes: Russell is now among the top 10 A-Sun career dig leaders (since 2001) with 1405 career digs ... Kaley Melville is in the top 10 of Stetson career kill leaders and is the first Hatter since Kira Smedley in 2002 to have over 300 kills and over 300 digs in the same season.