SAINT LEO, Fla. – The No. 14-ranked Saint Leo volleyball team (21-2, 9-0 SSC) cruised to a 3-0 sweep (25-11, 25-18, 25-14) of the Florida Tech Panthers (11-9, 2-7 SSC) Wednesday evening from the Marion Bowman Activities Center.
In the Sunshine State Conference duel, Bruna Rocha led all players with 11 kills, while teammate Kaitlin McKenna struck a mighty .643 and smacked 10 kills plus adding three blocks. Reining SSC Offensive Player of the Week Emily Calderon-Reyes, dropped in seven kills with 11 digs and teammate Michelle Nogueras turned in another double-double with 31 assists and 11 digs. On the defensive end, senior libero Chelsea Armer led the team with 12 digs and Danielle Bletso chipped in 1.5 blocks.
In set one, Saint Leo set the tone early jumping out to a 10-2 lead behind the offensive attack of McKenna and Rocha who killed five and four balls, respectively. The Lions pushed the lead to 17-8 and steadily increased the advantage until they closed the set with a 14-point win. Calderon-Reyes also had an impressive start to match collecting four of her 11 total digs. The Green & Gold also registered a match-high .400 hitting percentage and committed only two errors in the tone-setting game one. The defense also forced the Panthers to a sub zero hitting percentage at -.115.
Out of the break, Saint Leo faced a much more aggressive and opportunistic Panthers’ squad. As they gave SLU an early wake-up call racing out to an 11-7 lead. Fortunately for the Lions’ faithful, Saint Leo regained their momentum and eventually took a 14-13 lead behind the efforts of Calderon-Reyes and Nogueras. It was the second and final lead change of the set as Saint Leo went on to score 10 of the next 15 points. Calderon-Reyes and Rocha combined for nine kills, while the team combined to hit .300. The defense allowed only nine kills during the game and forced the Panthers into six errors.
The eight minute break in between sets two and three appeared to slow both teams’ offenses down, but the SLU willed their way to a third-set victory. Saint Leo only hit .182 as a team with a four players concluding the set with two or more kills. However, the offense proved to be enough as the defense stepped up for the Saint Leo. The team held their opponent to a game-low -.129 hitting percentage, while forcing nine errors. SLU took to a 9-3 lead before allowing Tech to get within two at 12-10. The Lions brass refused to let the lead slip any further as they went on a 7-2 run before closing out the game with an 11-point victory.
As a team, SLU hit .291 as a team and while the defense held Tech to a -.042 hitting percentage. The Lions also out-blocked the Panther 6-to-3, while committing only 11 errors all match,
The Lions step away from SSC play for a non-conference showdown with Saint Francis University. The match is set to begin at 7:00 p.m. from the Marion Bowman Activities Center.