The Stetson volleyball team captured the 2013 Stetson Westin Classic title with a 3-1 victory over Providence and a 3-0 triumph over Savannah State Saturday afternoon at the Edmunds Center.
The Hatters (5-3) went a perfect 4-0 in the two-day tournament and have posted their first four-game winning streak since 2007.
"It feels unbelievably amazing," senior Ellen Hawks said after the final match. "This is the first tournament win I have had since being at Stetson. It took each and every girl doing their part and working hard, and I am just so proud of all these girls."
Kaley Melville and Kayla Weller were named co-Most Valuable Players for the tournament, while Madison and Akins and Hawks joined Melville and Weller on the all-tournament team.
"I was really happy for the girls," Stetson head coach Tim Loesch said. "They worked really hard this preseason, and it was nice to see it all come together for them. We got contributions from everybody that was cleared to play. We are all about the team and playing together as one, and the girls did that this weekend."
The tournament championship was decided in Stetson's first match of the day against Providence. The teams split the first two sets and Stetson held a 12-10 lead in the third when Hawks recorded four consecutive blocks, one with Melville and three with Akins. That was part of a 6-0 run that helped Stetson take the third set 25-19.
"We just wanted to be aggressive," Hawks said about that stretch. "I just came onto the court and said, 'Let's go, let's get some blocks!' We just wanted to get up and make it easy for our defenders."
Stetson went on to an easy 25-14 win in the fourth set.
"Playing Providence was fun, it was an exciting match, and they are a good team," Loesch said. "I was just proud of the girls after we lost a set that they kept battling and finding a way to be successful. Then we continued to improve and we were able to close it out in fine fashion in the fourth set."
Akins led the way with 14 kills while Erika White added 12 and Tiffany Creamer chipped in 11. Weller collected 48 assists and 16 digs.
Stetson hit a blistering .379 against Savannah State, posting 41 kills in 87 attempts with just eight errors. Hawks (8-0-12, .667), Melville (9-0-17, .529), Creamer (6-1-11, .455), and Prewitt (9-1-20, .400) all had high attack percentages. Freshman Danika Yoder picked up a season-best 18 assists.
"That is a key for us and something we have been working on in practice," Loesch said about the Hatters' low-error total. "It was good to see them do that in real games against live competition. It is something we are going to have to work on throughout the season but I am glad the girls are buying into that. They are really having fun with our offense and with our defense."
Stetson will return to action next weekend at the Lion Classic in Hammond, La.
Notes: The Hatters have surpassed last year's win total ... The Hatters are off to their best start since 1999 ... Ellen Hawks surpassed 300 career blocks, becoming the seventh Hatter all-time to reach that milestone ... The full all-tournament team included Rhea Simon and Phylecia Armstrong from B-CU, Bryana Gadis and Bianca Brochu from SSU, Mackenzie Ziegler and Michelle Cruz from Providence, and Madison Akins, Ellen Hawks, Kaley Melville (co-MVP) and Kayla Weller (co-MVP) from Stetson.