Melbourne, Fla. (September 5, 2008) – The Saint Leo volleyball team (6-0) swept through the first day of the Florida Tech tournament Friday afternoon at the Clemente Center in Melbourne, Fla. The Lions made quick work of their first opponent defeating Converse College in three games (25-16, 25-9, 25-15). The Lions continued their hot start to the season with a 3-0 defeat of Northwood University (25-13, 25-13, 25-11).

Through two matches, Michelle Nogueras led all player with 14 kills, 48 total assists and tied with Chelsea Armer (Jr., San Jose, Calif.) with 15 digs. Jenna Jordan (Jr., Plant City, Fla.) combined for 15 kills and six digs while Kaitlin McKenna (So., Farmington Hills, Mich.) also finished with 15 kills and seven block assists. Leah Perry (So., Salem, Ohio) also had a monster day combining for nine kills and three block assists. Danielle Bletso (Fr., Boardman, Ohio) finished with seven kills, while Kim Nuckols (So., Upperville, Va.) and Emily Frey (Sr., Mason, Ohio) finished with six kills a piece.

In game one of the first match, the Lions jumped out early lead on the Converse College Valkyries scoring ten of the first 13 points with McKenna and Perry recording two kills apiece during the rally. Saint Leo shut the door quickly, not allowing the Valkyries to come within five points the entire first game, finishing out on 9-5 run behind stout defense.

A dominating performance in game two held Converse to only nine points the entire game. With the score 9-4 in favor of the Lions, Jordan toed to the line for Saint Leo 13 consecutive times, helping produce twelve straight points, including three service aces. Nuckols was an effective  player in game, also, scoring four of the Lions last 15 points helping them close out their opponents in game two.

Saint Leo shot out to an impressive start in game three, as Nogueras and Nuckols toed the line for the first 11 Lions’ points. From there it was a total team effort with everyone having a touch on the ball, including Bletso crushing two kills. The Lions widened the lead the entire match while playing their most consistent volleyball of the season.

The match was the Lions shortest of the season, lasting only 57 minutes.

The Lions used quick starts, consistent play and aggressive defense to defeat Northwood University (FL) 3-0 in the second match of the day. The first game of the match was the most difficult challenge for the Lions on the evening, as the Lady Seahawks battled back from multiple deficits. After the Seahawks cut the lead down to two, Saint Leo rattled off seven straight points. The Lions held off a pesky Northwood team, as they secured the first victory of the match.

The Lions used the second game as their statement match, displaying some of their most consistent play of the season. The Lions started out on a six point rally. Northwood rallied to cut the lead to two at 9-7 but Saint Leo dug their feet in the court and refused to relinquish the lead. Saint Leo went on to score 11 of the next 15 points, putting them solidly in the lead. The Lions sealed the game with a Jordan kill giving the Lions the momentum heading into the final game. 

Saint Leo and Northwood battled back and forth as Saint Leo staked to only a two point lead early in the match. With the score 8-6, the Lions scored 13 of the next 15 points, taking advantage of eight Seahawks errors. The confident Lions made sure to out the match away quickly and a kill by Audrey Starkebaum (Sr., Huxton, Colo.) late in the game wrapped up the two match sweep for Saint Leo .

The Lions also had a season high12 aces while combining on seven team blocks in the second match.

Saint Leo returns to action at the Florida Tech tournament tomorrow for an 11:00 a.m. match-up with Valdosta State University. The Lions will then take on St. Thomas University at 4:00 p.m. from the Clemente Center in Melbourne, Fla.