On Saturday, the Stetson volleyball came within a few points of securing a spot in the Atlantic Sun tournament before falling 3-2 to league-leader ETSU. Tuesday the Hatters came even closer, serving match point on two separate occasions before UNF rallied for a five-set win, taking the deciding frame 18-16 at UNF Arena.
“We had opportunities in the fifth set,” Stetson head coach Tim Loesch said. “We just didn’t put the ball away. I want to say we had three swings for the match, and we just couldn’t take advantage.”
The second straight heartbreaking loss leaves Stetson (17-13, 8-7 A-Sun) on the verge of its first postseason berth since 1995. With three regular season matches remaining, the Hatters will try again Saturday at Florida Gulf Coast.
“I told the girls I was proud of their effort,” Loesch said. “This is something we are going to see the rest of the way. North Florida is fighting for a tournament spot just like we are. Nobody is going to give us anything easy, and when we get into the tournament it is going to be the same way. We just have to learn from that. We can’t take any points for granted. North Florida made some plays, but we had our chances.”
The Hatters won sets one and three 25-15, 25-21, while UNF took sets two and four 25-19, 25-23. Stetson led for most of set five, including a 13-11 margin late. UNF scored the next three points to serve for match point, but an attack error tied the score at 14. Tiffany Creamer and Erika White then teamed on a block to give Stetson its first match point, and another service error two points later gave Stetson a second chance. However, the Ospreys (9-17, 5-9 A-Sun) rattled off the final three points to steal the victory.
Three Hatters recorded double-doubles, including Creamer who notched a career-high 23 kills and 18 digs. Kaley Melville added 13 kills and 20 digs, and Kayla Weller totaled 50 assists and 11 digs.