SAINT LEO, Fla. – Although it wasn’t the best of starts, the Saint Leo volleyball team rebounded to sweep visiting Nova Southeastern University 3-0 (29-27, 26-24, 25-11) in Sunshine State Conference action from the Marion Bowman Activities Center on Saturday afternoon.
An extremely sluggish start by Saint Leo (17-2, 8-0 SSC) saw the Lions surrender a 9-3 lead to the visitors before the fans managed to get comfortable in their seats. After an early SLU timeout, the visitors from Ft. Lauderdale managed to take the lead to 17-10, as things looked very bleak for the Lions in the initial set. After another Lions' timeout, Saint Leo began to spark a comeback. The Sharks hurt their cause in the second half of set one as they committed eight errors and allowing SLU back into the contest.
The Lions could sniff the change in momentum as they outscored NSU 14-7, including a thrilling kill from Bruna Rocha to knot the score at 24, to send the set into extra points. In extras, the Lions saw NSU post a 26-25 advantage and got a second-chance on the next point as an errant Emily Calderon-Reyes attack skimmed the hand of a Shark defender to keep the set alive. The Lions used two Shark attack errors and a monstrous blast by Kaitlin McKenna to post an improbably first-set win.
Another back-and-forth battle ensued in set two as Saint Leo could not pull away from the visitors. The Lions jumped out to three, 3-point advantages but NSU responded by drawing even each time. The third 3-point advantage, a 23-20 lead by SLU, saw the Sharks respond to take a 24-23 advantage and force the Lions to call a timeout. Another McKenna kill tied the set and the Lions capitalized with a Bruna Rocha kill and a Shark attack error to claim the set.
Set three was all Saint Leo as the Lions jumped out to a 7-2 advantage rolling to a 25-11 victory. The Lions hit a blistering .586 and posted a perfect 12-for-12 sideout percentage in the set three victory.
For the match the Lions hit .280 on 52 kills while holding the visiting Sharks to just a .133 attack average on 32 kills.
The Lions saw two players post double-double as Calderon-Reyes tallied 17 kills and 12 digs while Rocha, the national player of the week, notched 13 kills and 13 digs in the win.
Senior libero Chelsea Armer added 12 digs and Michelle Nogueras chipped in 40 set-assists and hit .375.
Junior Kim Nuckols came off the bench to help spark the Lions posting five kills and a solo block.
The Lions will now turn their attention to Bentley University, who comes into the Bowman Center for a rare Sunday afternoon match. The non-conference tilt is scheduled to get underway at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow afternoon.