SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo volleyball team opened up Sunshine State Conference play in top form as they posted a 3-0 (25-22, 25-17, 25-14) win over visiting Rollins College on Wednesday night from a blacked-out Marion Bowman Center.
The first set was where the Lions (10-2, 1-0 SSC) needed to set the tone, and it took until both teams reached 20 points before the Lions turned on the juice. After fighting through 12 ties and three lead changes, two kills by junior Kaitlin McKenna and three errors by the Tars, including a block by Danielle Bletso and Michelle Nogueras to seal the first game win, put the momentum squarely on the side of the Lions for the remainder of the match.
The second and third games saw the Lions dominate the visitors from Winter Park, Fla. as they outhit and outblocked the Tars (11-3, 0-1 SSC). SLU hit at a .333 clip in the second set before blistering the tape in the third with an outstanding .464 attacking average. All the offense the Lions put together teamed with their defensive effort as they outblocked Rollins at a 2-to-1 average, dug 43 attacks and held the visitors to a .116 and .071 hitting percentage in the final two sets, sealed the win for the Green & Gold.
The Lions had two players post double-figure kills in the match as McKenna had 14 and junior Emily Calderon-Reyes blasted home 11. In just 12 matches this season, including tonight’s .478 performance, McKenna is flirting with a .400 attack average and has already amassed 136 kills, but Calderon-Reyes is right on her heels with 118.
Senior setter Michelle Nogueras had another status-quo evening as she chipped in her fifth double-double of 2009 with 39 set-assists and 13 digs. Her six kills in 10 attempts also earned her a .600 hitting percentage for the match.
The most eye-catching stat of the night came from Bletso, as she assisted on almost as many blocks as she posted kills, stuffing seven balls and registering eight successful attacks. She also had the honor of posting the only service ace of the match for either team.
With conference play underway, the Lions now travel to Melbourne, Fla. to face the Florida Tech Panthers in a weekend matchup. Both teams will get things started on Saturday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. EDT from the Clemente Center on the Florida Tech campus.