DeLand, Fla. - For the first time since September 29, 2009 the Stetson volleyball team (1-4) tasted victory as the Hatters defeated Volusia County rival Bethune-Cookman (1-6) 23-25, 25-17, 25-19, 25-21 to open the Clarion Invitational at the Edmunds Center on Friday. Stetson then battled Florida Atlantic (5-1) to a four-set decision as the Owls won 23-25, 25-20, 25-15, 25-15. Freshman outside hitter Kaley Melville (New Germany, Minn.) and sophomore setter Kelli Carneal (Fredericksburg, Va.) each registered double-doubles against FAU.
After dropping the first set to B-CU due 11 attack errors and a -.121 hitting percentage, Stetson stepped up its game in the final three stanzas, hitting .277 as a team the rest of the way. Melville and fellow freshman outside hitter Katie DiGirolamo (Bradenton, Fla.) each knocked down 10 kills in their Edmunds Center debuts while also notching eight and six digs, respectively. Senior right side Brandy Worlton (Crystal River, Fla.) contributed nine kills, four digs and three blocks.
Carneal delivered 34 assists with six digs, four kills, two blocks and an ace while sophomore libero Monique Russell (Phoenix, Ariz.) anchored the defense with 21 digs. Freshman middle blocker Ellen Hawks (Austin, Texas) hit a match-high .308 with five blocks; junior middle blocker Sam Freeman (Gulf Breeze, Fla.) dominated the net to the tune of seven blocks.
Bethune-Cookman was led by Krysta Gardner's 13-kill, 10-dig double-double; Linda Nwabuko (12 kills), Alexis Bliese (25 assists), Jennifer Jimenez (21 digs) and Janeen Davis (10 digs) all did quality work for the Wildcats as well.
The Hatter victory snapped a 17-match losing streak that dated back to September 29, 2009 (also a 3-1 Stetson win over Bethune-Cookman at the Edmunds Center). The Hatters are now 45-4 all-time against the Wildcats.
Stetson kept its momentum going early in the evening match with FAU, taking the first set 25-23 with 14 kills. Although the powerful and sizable Owl offense (61 kills, .278 attack percentage, 11 blocks) would ultimately rule the evening, the Hatters kept battling throughout the well-played four-set match. The fourth and final set saw the two squads combine for 26 kills and just six attack errors in 54 swings (.370); Stetson hit .346 in the fourth set.
Melville (17 digs, 11 kills) registered her first double-double with career-high numbers in both categories while Carneal came up with 33 assists and 12 digs for her first double-double of the season. Russell filled out the stat sheet with career highs in digs (25) and assists (seven) while Hawks chipped in with eight kills, a .333 attack percentage and three blocks.
Anne Vaughan hit .378 with 19 kills to lead Florida Atlantic to the win; Kristyna Dzmuranova (11 kills, nine digs, seven assists, seven blocks) and Georgia Robinson (11 kills, eight digs, four blocks) also reached double figures in kills. Joanne Marras Tate handed out 44 assists and recorded nine digs while libero Cintia Nightingale collected 26 digs for the Owls.
In other Friday action at the Clarion Invitational, Wyoming swept B-CU 3-0, FAU swept past Wofford 3-0 and Wyoming downed Wofford 3-1. The tournament concludes tomorrow with five more matches; the Hatters face Wofford at 3 p.m. and Wyoming at 7 p.m. Live Stats and Hatter Vision with Bill Topping are available throughout at GoHatters.com; also follow @StetsonSID on Twitter for live updates.