DeLand, Fla. - The Stetson volleyball team (2-9, 0-2 Atlantic Sun) came within inches of ending its 32-match Atlantic Sun Conference losing streak only to be denied on the doorstep in a 23-25, 25-16, 25-16, 18-25, 15-13 loss to visiting Jacksonville (8-9, 1-1 A-Sun) Saturday afternoon at the Edmunds Center. Sophomore outside hitter Kaley Melville (New Germany, Minn.) recorded a 16-kill, 10-dig double-double to lead the Hatters while freshman defensive specialist Savannah Byl (Bradenton, Fla.) notched a career-high 11 digs.
Stetson came out firing to take the first set 25-23, hitting .314 in the process, but would hit just .030 and .000 in a pair of 25-16 losses sandwiched around the halftime break. Down two sets to one, the Hatters roared back with a convincing 25-18 win in the fourth set on .324 hitting to force a winner-take-all 15-point fifth set.
The Hatters, who have not won in conference play since Nov. 15, 2008 at UNF, found themselves ahead 9-6 in the fifth set but could not quite make it over the finish line as the Dolphins powered back to tie it 13-13 and then took the last two points on a service error and a block. Stetson has not won a conference match at home since Sept. 22, 2007.
Senior outside hitter Kaylee Ream (Venice, Fla.) had 15 kills and eight digs to support Melville's efforts while junior setter Kelli Carneal (Fredericksburg, Va.) collected 45 assists, nine digs, four kills and four blocks. Junior libero Monique Russell (Phoenix, Ariz.) led the team with 16 digs while Byl had 11 in her finest match in a Stetson uniform.
Alison Loeppky (14 kills, six blocks) paced the Dolphins with Niatha Cullen (12 kills, 12 digs) and Alliya Drzewiecki (11 kills) reaching double figure kills as well. Kendall Courtney set up the JU attack with 46 assists, 21 digs and five kills; Ashley August also had 21 digs for Jacksonville.
The Hatters step out of conference play to visit Volusia County rival Bethune-Cookman at 7:00 pm Tuesday, September 27.
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