SAINT LEO, Fla. – In their second Sunshine State Conference match in as many days, the Saint Leo volleyball team wasted no time in dispatching the Barry University Buccaneers 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-18) at a rowdy Marion Bowman Activities Center on Saturday afternoon.
The Lions (13-2, 4-0 SSC) came out firing on all cylinders as they never hit below .343 for the entire match and only saw the visitors from Miami Shores hold a lead just four times throughout.
In the first set, Saint Leo surrendered the first point to the visitors before scoring 10 of the next 15. After stretching it to 20-13, the Lions took some time adjusting to the unusual serve from Buccaneer Milena Bukinac, who closed the score to 20-17 before Bruna Rocha gave the Lions the sideout. The Lions would hold the visitors to just two points through the rest of the set, as consecutive service aces from Danielle Bletso helped hand Saint Leo the win.
Set two saw the Lions jump out to a 10-4 lead before the Bucs were forced to use a timeout. After the break in action, Barry (9-3, 1-2 SSC) closed the gap to just three points before the Lions began to pull away. After seeing 14-11 on the scoreboard, Saint Leo would score four of the next five points as they created enough of a cushion to push for the win.
In playing for the sweep, the Lions would see the toughest competition coming from the Bucs in set three. Barry would hang even with Saint Leo all the way to 16-16 before a service ace from Rocha tipped the scales in favor of the Green & Gold as the Lions were then able to tally the next three points for the 19-16 advantage. That span of plays seemed to stifle the Bucs as they would only score two points for the remainder, and the Lions would see Kaitlin McKenna and Leah Perry go wild, scoring five of the final seven points to close out the match victory.
McKenna had an unbelievable afternoon as she hit true on 12-of-16 attacks. Add to the 12 kills the fact that she did not have a single hitting error and she averaged a surreal .750 hitting percentage. Bletso chipped in with nine kills and Rocha as well as senior setter Michelle Nogueras each posted eight kills.
Nogueras also added 35 set-assists and solo block in the win.
After hosting to back-to-back games, the Lions get a few days rest before hitting the road on Wednesday as they travel to St. Petersburg to face Eckerd College. The Lions and the Tritons will get things started at 7:00 p.m. in the McArthur Center on the Eckerd campus.