A good way to describe the setter position in volleyball is saying that it is the quarterback of the court. The setter is the one who gets the ball where it needs to go on offense to put points up on the scoreboard.
That's exactly what Melanie Stutsman does for the Western Kentucky University volleyball team-and she's really good at it.
Returning for her junior season, Stutsman is already a two-time All-American, All-South Region and All-Sun Belt Conference honoree. After her first year at WKU, she was named the league's Freshman of the Year.
"As a two-time All-American, you think she is really accomplished and has done a lot, but we felt like she is the one kid in the spring who made the biggest jump for us," WKU head coach Travis Hudson said. "Mel really went from being the setter in the spring to being a leader, and that is an important step for your setter to make. I expect her to have a big-time year for us this year because great players make the people around them better, and I think for the first time in her career Mel is ready to do that, so we are excited about what she brings. We have been one of the top 10, top 20, top 30 offensive teams in the country the past couple of years, and she certainly has a lot to do with that."
Last season, Stutsman finished with 1,324 assists to help the team total 1,582 assists on the year. WKU's assists per set (13.29) ranked 19th in the nation while Stutsman's assists per set (11.13) put her at 31st nationally. Those are up from the year before where the team was 36th in the nation for assists per set (13.01) and Stutsman ranked 53rd (10.65). With the Floyd Knobs, Ind., native at the helm of the offense, WKU's hitting percentage also ranked in the top 10 in the nation the past two seasons.
With league-leading and nationally-ranked stats, Stutsman also continues to climb in the WKU record books. She holds at No. 7 in career assists with 2,613 while she is currently No. 3 in assists per game with 10.89.
Stutsman doesn't only hold up her weight with assists, but also in other aspects of the game. She led the team last season with 43 service aces while collecting almost 200 kills and digs for each category.Two years on The Hill may seem like a short time, but Stutsman has accomplished vast amounts. Seeing what she can do during that time has to make WKU volleyball fans excited to see what will happen in the two years to come.