Tampa, Fla. (September 12, 2006) – The Saint Leo University volleyball team (5-3, 0-1 SSC) fell 3-1 on Tuesday to the No. 1 ranked University of Tampa Spartans (13-0, 1-0 SSC) in the Sunshine State Conference opener for both teams.  The Spartans won the match with game scores of 30-22, 30-22, 27-30 and 30-20.

Saint Leo outside hitter Audrey Starkebaum (So., Sterling, Colo.) led the Lions with a season-high 18 kills.  SLU freshman setter Michelle Nogueras (Cayey, Puerto Rico) also added 29 assists, 13 digs and five kills on the night.

The Lions fell behind 2-0 early in the match, as Tampa seized control by winning the first two games by the identical score of 30-22.  However, SLU fought back in the third game coming from behind to force a fourth game with a 30-27 win.  The Spartans pulled away in the fourth game, eventually winning by the 10-point margin.

In the end, Tampa’s attacking quartet of Alisha Green (18 kills), Tarah Marinelli (12 kills), Katelen Dixon (12 kills) and Stephanie Rivera (10 kills) proved too much, as the top-ranked Spartans remained perfect.

Saint Leo will return to action this weekend, as it will travel to Waltham, Mass. for the Bentley College Tournament.  The Lions will play four matches during the two-day event with a pair of matches on both Friday and Saturday.  Visit SaintLeoLions.com for complete schedule information.