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Hatters Capture ASUN Beach Volleyball Championship

Kaylee Anderson made the call, Emily Carroll took the final swing, and after the ball deflected off the block and landed safely out-of-bounds, the celebration was on.

Top-seeded Stetson defeated third-seeded Florida Gulf Coast 3-1 to capture the 2017 ASUN Beach Volleyball Championship Sunday afternoon at the Cooper Beach Courts.

It is Stetson’s third ASUN Championship in the past four years, and it was sweet redemption for Anderson and Carroll.

“It feels amazing,” Anderson said.  “Last year we played UNF in the finals, and it came down to us, and unfortunately we weren’t able to close it out. This year, I was going in guns blazing during the finals, and it felt amazing to close out that set in two.”

“It felt so good to be the last match and to clinch that,” Carroll said.  “It was awesome because we had the whole team on the side cheering for us, and their presence really helped us.”

Anderson and Carroll’s win at the 3 seed came minutes after Kristin Lind and Darby Dunn gave the Hatters a 2-1 lead at the 2 seed.  It was their third win of the tournament and the 88th dual match victory of Lind’s career.

“It feels really good,” Lind said.  “There are some mixed feelings because it is our last tournament, but we played so well the last game.”

The Hatters (20-13) led 1-0 early after ASUN Pair of the Tournament Sunniva Helland-Hansen and Carly Perales won 2-0 at the 5 seed.  The freshmen duo won all six sets during the championship.

“They have been playing great for a couple of weeks now,” Stetson head coach Kristina Hernandez said.  “I thought they were really smooth the whole tournament, and were able to always start us off with a win at the 5.  I am really proud of them for playing so tough, especially as a freshmen pair.”

At the 4 seed, Rachel Noble and Tiffany Creamer played two sets into extra points but fell 24-22, 24-22.  That set up a 1-1 tie heading into the changeover.

“It was a little nerve-racking,” Hernandez said.  “It is always a little uncomfortable going into the next round after a split or being down. Our 2s and 3s really focused on their game.  I am happy (Kaylee and Emily) could have that big moment and win that match for us.”

At the 1 seed, Maggie Skjelbred and Samantha Harris were headed to a third set at the time the match was clinched, so the Hatters brought the celebration over to their court.  Of the team’s three titles in the past four years, it is first time Stetson went undefeated in tournament play.

“It is a big part of our program, not just what we are doing now, but those that came before us and hopefully those that come after us,” Hernandez said. “It is a great thing for us to win three out of four, and hopefully we keep doing it.”

Lind and Dunn joined Perales and Helland-Hansen on the all-tournament team.  Madi Wilcox and Leigh Pudwill were selected for FGCU (15-8).

With no automatic bid for the ASUN Champion this year, the Hatters will wait and see if they are selected for an at-large bid to the NCAA Championship for the second year in a row.

Pairs Results
1. Samantha Harris/Maggie Skjelbred (STET) vs. Amanda Carroll/Mackenzie Allen (FGCU) 18-21, 21-14, unfinished
2. Kristin Lind/Darby Dunn (STET) def. Giovanna Borgiotti/Ashley Glickert (FGCU) 21-18, 21-12
3. Emily Carroll/Kaylee Anderson (STET) def. Karissa Rhoades/Katherine Puisis (FGCU) 21-16, 21-19
4. Madi Wilcox/Leigh Pudwill (FGCU) def. Tiffany Creamer/Rachel Noble (STET) 24-22, 24-22
5. Carly Perales/S. Helland-Hansen (STET) def. Caroline Jordan/Kaitlan Krivdo (FGCU) 21-17, 21-14