The Stetson sand volleyball team split a pair of hard-fought 3-2 matches Sunday at the Beach 'N Boards Fest in Cocoa Beach, Fla.
The Hatters defeated Louisiana in Monroe 3-2 before falling to UNF 3-2 but improved their record to 3-1 on the young season.
"We got off to a slow start but the girls played really well yesterday," head coach Tim Loesch said. "We played even better today and pulled out our match against ULM. We lost a really close match to finish up against UNF. If we are going to lose, I'll lose 3-2 with almost all the games going three sets."
Stetson trailed ULM 2-1 before rallying to wins at the no. 4 and no. 5 pairs positions. Erin Robertson and Erika White won at the four-spot, 21-15, 21-13, while Jordann Dierickx and Katie DiGirolamo clinched the match with a 21-13, 21-15 triumph in the no. 5 position.
Between matches Stetson teamed with UNF to plant Sea Oak seedlings in the sand dunes, giving the student-athletes of both teams an opportunity to contribute to the environment.
The Hatters then battled their conference rival in a non-conference match that could have easily gone either way. The no. 2, 3, and 4 pairs all went to a third-set tiebreaker, with UNF claiming wins at three and four by the narrowest of margins.
"For the whole weekend the girls were always fighting for every point and did a great job of playing together," Loesch said. "Our partnerships gelled and we got a lot of good experience playing on the beach with a lot of wind, sun, deep sand, slanted courts, and other things that will serve us well throughout the season. I was really proud of the entire team's effort."
Stetson will travel all the way to New Orleans, La. to face ULM, UAB and Tulane next weekend.
MATCH 1 - STETSON 3, LOUISIANA-MONROE 2
#1 - Markova Zuzana/Tetiana Sukach (ULM) def. Savannah Byl/Maren Rygh (STET) 10-21, 8-21
#2 - Kaley Melville/Julie Bassett (STET) def. Amy Grabiec/Michelle McNamee (ULM) 21-19, 21-13
#3 - Blanca Ocana/Marcela Araya (ULM) def. Catherine Coston/Alisha Hoffman (STET) 12-21, 23-21, 11-15
#4 - Erin Robertson/Erika White (STET) def. Iren Marinova/Maria Garcia (ULM) 21-15, 21-13
#5 - Jordann Dierickx/Katie DiGirolamo (STET) def. Alannah Cullum/Katie Harrington (ULM) 21-13, 21-15
MATCH 2 - UNF 3, STETSON 2
#1 - Kaley Melville/Julie Bassett (STET) def. Anna Budinska/Medina Dagnija (UNF) 21-15, 23-21
#2 - Savannah Byl/Maren Rygh (STET) def. Cari Whitmire/Carolyn Jenkins (UNF) 21-18, 19-21, 15-13
#3 - Emily Strack/Anna Wagner (UNF) def. Catherine Coston/Alisha Hoffman (STET) 9-21, 21-12, 13-15
#4 - Paige Pridgeon/Cameron McGuire (UNF) def. Erin Robertson/Erika White (STET) 21-16, 17-21, 12-15
#5 - Julie Trembley/Britt Cluessens (UNF) def. Jordann Dierickx/Katie DiGirolamo (STET) 17-21, 15-21
#6 (Exh.) - Taylor Kennedy/Stephanie Marin (STET) def. UNF 29-27, 21-15