DeLand, Fla. - The Stetson volleyball team snapped a 36-match conference losing streak with a straight set victory over visiting USC Upstate Saturday night at the Edmunds Center. The Hatters (6-13, 1-6 A-Sun) won by scores of 25-22, 25-19 and 25-23 to claim their first A-Sun win since Nov. 15, 2008 at UNF.
Senior outside hitter Kaylee Ream (Venice, Fla.), one of two current Hatters on the 2008 squad, recorded 13 kills including the game-winner in set three with the Hatters leading by just a point. The Hatters had led 23-18 but the Spartans made a late 5-1 run to force Stetson to call a timeout.
"I tip my hat to USC Upstate," Hatters head coach Tim Loesch said. "They could have folded but kept playing hard. They made us play our best to get the win."
Sophomore Kaley Melville led all players with 15 kills, 10 of those coming in the second set alone. She and Ream each collected 12 digs to post double-doubles for the second consecutive day.
"Kaylee Ream and Kaley Melville played well again, as they did yesterday," Loesch said. "But today we got a total team effort. The setters had a much better match, both middles contributed, Taylor Story on the right side got some key kills and aces, and Monique Russell made some great passes and played great defensively. Everybody bought into doing their part."
Freshman setter Erika White (Jacksonville, Ill.) finished with a season-best 20 assists, while junior setter Alisha Hoffman (Leesburg, Fla.) registered 14 assists and a season-high 10 digs. Freshman Taylor Johnson (Omaha, Neb.) hit a team-high .667 (7-1-9), while fellow rookie Taylor Story (Plano, Texas) added four kills and four service aces.
The story for Stetson may well have been the defensive effort as the team recorded 64 digs in just three sets. Junior libero Monique Russell (Phoenix, Ariz.) led the way with 16 digs, while Ream (12 digs), Melville (12 digs), and Hoffman (10 digs) reached double figures as well.
Loesch also said the Hatters did well covering Upstate's block attempts and converting back row attack attempts. "The little things sometimes get overlooked, but when you win 25-23, a couple little points certainly made a difference tonight."
USC Upstate (6-13, 2-5 A-Sun) was led by Morgan Thomas, who had nine kills in 24 attempts without committing an error (.375 attack pct.). Mindy Quimby added nine kills and nine digs, while setter Emily Sanders had a 20-20 performance with 29 assists and a match-high 22 digs.
The win was not only Stetson's first in conference play since 2008, but its first conference win at home since Sept. 22, 2007 (vs. Gardner-Webb). The Hatters visit Lipscomb on Friday at 7:30 pm.