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Hatters Nearly Pull Second Shocker, Fall 3-2 to LSU

Gulf Shores, Ala. — After earning a historic win over No. 1 USC earlier in the day, the Hatters nearly notched a second major upset in the afternoon Friday.

No. 5 LSU survived a huge rally by No. 8 Stetson to post a 3-2 victory in the second round of the NCAA Championship at Gulf Shores Beach.

The Hatters (30-9) will try to stay alive when they face Hawaii (27-10) in the contender’s bracket at 11 a.m. ET Saturday on ESPN 2.  The winner will face another elimination game at 1 p.m. ET.

The Tigers (30-6) advance to play UCLA in the winner’s bracket semifinal at 12 p.m.

“It was a battle; we knew LSU was a good team,” Stetson head coach Kristina Hernandez said.  “I think we fought point-for-point the entire match.  Unfortunately, it was their moment today and they came out on top.”

Trailing 2-0 after Courts 1 and 4 were complete, Stetson began its comeback.  Darby Dunn and Sammee Thomas notched a 21-16, 21-18 win on Court 2 to pull the Hatters within 2-1.

On court 3, Ana Costa and Rachel Noble battled into a third set and then into extra points against LSU’s Ashlyn Rasnick-Pope and Toni Rodriguez.  With the score tied at 15, the Hatter pair netted the final two points to tie the dual 2-2.

After dropping the first set on court 5, Quinci Birker and Rebecca Ingram rallied for 21-18 win in the second set.  Then in the decisive frame, the Hatter sophomores fell behind 12-5.  With a partisan crowd of LSU fans surrounding the court, Birker and Ingram put together a gutsy 8-1 run to tie the set at 13.  The Tigers’ Allison Coens and Hunter Domanski netted the last two markers, however, to clinch the match for LSU.

“As a team, we fought so hard,” Noble said.  “Seeing our 5s at the end fight their hearts out for that game, it’s really good to see. The outcome is disappointing, but I know that fight’s going to be there for our next game.”

Thomas and Dunn and Noble and Costa each went 2-0 on the day for the Hatters.  Stetson is 0-3 all-time vs. Hawaii with the last head-to-head meeting coming in 2017.


LSU 3, Stetson 2
1. Kristen Nuss/Claire Coppola (LSU) def. S. Helland-Hansen/Carly Perales (STET) 21-14, 21-16
2. Sammee Thomas/Darby Dunn (STET) def. Kelli Agnew/Olivia Powers (LSU) 21-16, 21-18
3. Ana Costa/Rachel Noble (STET) def. Ashlyn Rasnick-Pope/Toni Rodriguez (LSU) 21-17, 20-22, 17-15
4. Maddie Ligon/Olivia Beyer (LSU) def. Samantha Harris/Julie Varga (STET) 21-8, 21-19
5. Allison Coens/Hunter Domanski (LSU) def. Quinci Birker/Rebecca Ingram (STET) 22-20, 18-21, 15-13

Match Notes
Stetson 30-9; National ranking #8
LSU 31-6; National ranking #5