For the second time this season and third time in two years, Stetson battled Florida Atlantic to a fifth set only to come away empty handed. Tuesday evening FAU won by scores of 20-25, 25-20, 25-23, 24-26, 15-3, handing the Hatters their third fifth set loss of the year.
The Hatters (3-10) staved off three match points in the fourth set to force a game five, but FAU (2-3) rolled to the 12 point win in the decisive frame.
“I liked our fighting spirit, we didn’t give up and found a way to come back and win the fourth set,” Stetson head coach Tim Loesch said. “But we are having the same breakdowns in pressure situations, and we need to find a way to fix it. We still have this weekend to get it corrected before we start conference play.”
Ellen Hawks had a career-high 15 kills, Monique Russell collected 24 digs, and Kelli Carneal recorded eight kills, 19 assists, 15 digs, and six blocks.
“I liked what Ellen Hawks did tonight, she pulled her weight,” Loesch said. “Mo Russell also did the same, and Kelli Carneal did a nice job as well. But everyone else needs to step up.”
Stetson continued to have success in opening sets, winning 25-20 on Tuesday. The Hatters committed just two attack errors in the opening frame to improve to 8-5 in first sets this year.
But in the second and third sets, the Hatters committed 19 errors and hit just .014.
“We started off following the game plan, limiting errors, making good decisions, and executing,” Loesch said. “But when a few things go wrong, a few kids aren’t bouncing back. We haven’t found a way to get them out of that hole. It has kind of been a downfall of ours all season.”
Alessia Pizzocheri led FAU with 18 kills and 21 digs. The Owls hit .140 for the match.
The Hatters posted a season-high 12.5 blocks.
Stetson will travel to Charleston S.C. this weekend to participate in the CSU Invitational. The Hatters will play The Citadel at 5 p.m. on Friday, followed by Saturday matches against Charleston Southern (3 pm) and Wofford (5:30 pm).