SAVANNAH, Ga. - In the past two years, the Saint Leo University volleyball team has had many firsts, but after the Lions defeated both Armstrong Atlantic and Carson-Newman in the first day of the Chatham Orthopedic Classic, Saint Leo posted the first 10-0 record in the history of the program.
SLU fought for the first win in the tournament's opening match as they went the distance with the host Pirates, defeating them in five, 20-25, 25-21, 25-12, 23-25, 15-9, and finished the day off with an easy triumph over Carson-Newman in three games, 25-22, 25-20, 25-20).
The match against Armstrong Atlantic saw Saint Leo get surprised by the Pirates in the first game as AASU made the Lions look out of sync but SLU would regroup for a win in Game Two as they met the hosts playing in the school's main arena for the first time in over 10 years.
A dominating Game Three victory leaned momentum in SLU's favor but Armstrong would sneak away with a Game Four win that set the match to that deciding fifth game. The Lions' team that rolled through Game Three showed back up in Game Five to blast through the 15-points needed for the win.
The Lions returned to a much quieter Alumni Arena a few hours later as they flexed their collective muscle in a three-game sweep of Carson-Newman College. The Lions didn't necessarily breeze through the match as the Eagles kept even with SLU, but the Lions got the kills when they needed them to stay undefeated in 2008.
The days totals saw junior setter Michelle Nogueras (Cayey, P.R.) post two double-doubles and sophomore Kaitlin McKenna (Farmington Hills, Mich.) connect on 17 kills, many which were dominating attacks, and a .593 attack percentage. The best story came in the performance of freshman middle-hitter Danielle Bletso (Boardman, Ohio) as she posted 14 kills and a .500 attack percentage.
One of the days more unbelievable statistics came on the defensive side as the Lions were led in blocking by the smallest player on the court, with the 5' 8" Nogureas posting eight total blocks, an amazing three being solo.
The Lions try to increase their amazing start to 12-0 as they face Flagler College and Lenoir-Rhyne University. They have an early start as they face Flagler at 10:00 a.m.