A late first-set surge helped spark the Stetson volleyball team to a 3-0 road sweep over USC Upstate in an Atlantic Sun Conference match Saturday afternoon at the Hodge Center.
The Hatters (14-8, 5-2 A-Sun) won by scores of 27-25, 25-18, 25-18 to claim their fifth conference victory of the season and their first league win on the road.
"It was huge for us," Loesch said about the road win. "It's always going to be tough in a conference match, everyone is always going to compete hard, but especially when they are at home and we are away. It was a long trip and (Upstate) had a good crowd there but our girls generated their own enthusiasm. Our bench was loud, cheering for the girls on the court. We are just excited to get a win on the road."
After falling 3-0 at ETSU Friday night, the Hatters found themselves trailing early in the match as the Spartans (1-15, 1-6) jumped out to leads of 12-5, 16-10, and 22-18 in the opening set. Stetson eventually staved off three set points in the frame, and behind a pair of late kills from Erika White, rallied for a 27-25 win.
Stetson used early 9-4 and 7-1 runs in sets two and three to cruise to the victory.
"We played with a lot more passion and enthusiasm today," Loesch said. "We were more competitive and we fought a lot harder for every point. That was really important in the first set. USC Upstate came out strong and had a lead. We fought our way back and kept fighting that hard the rest of the way. When the girls are playing hard and playing for each other, that is always fun to watch."
Kaley Melville posted her eighth double-double of the season (15 kills, 12 digs) to lead the Hatters. Her performance moved her into fifth place among Stetson's all-time career leaders in both kills (1148) and digs (1065).
Tiffany Creamer registered 12 kills and hit .400 (12-2-25) for the match, while Ellen Hawks added 10 kills and a .500 (10-1-18) attack percentage.
Kayla Weller collected 41 assists and three aces while Michelle Kastner picked up 20 digs.
"We really did a great job passing, defending, and hitting today," Loesch said. "It was great to see it all come together and for everyone to contribute."
Stetson hit .323 for the match, posting 19 team kills in each the first and third sets.
"We did attack better today," Loesch said. "Kayla got us some one-on-ones and set some very nice balls that were easy to hit. Our hitters were smarter today, they were able to hit around the block, over the block, and off the block instead of into the block. We got blocked a lot yesterday. Today we made better decisions attacking."
Loesch also said the Hatters served more aggressively and did a better job receiving and passing the ball than they did at ETSU.
The victory moves Stetson into a tie for fourth-place in the league standings with a 5-2 mark.
"It looks like the conference is going to be a battle this year and we are just glad we are in the thick of it," Loesch said.
Stetson returns home to face Northern Kentucky Friday at 6 p.m.
Notes: Stetson's 14 overall wins and five A-Sun wins is the team's highest total since 2002 (15-14, 6-5) ... The Hatters' last A-Sun road win came in 2008 at UNF.