SAINT LEO, Fla. – The 14th-ranked Saint Leo volleyball team wasted little time on Thursday night as they were all business in their 3-0 (25-8, 25-12, 25-23) victory over the visiting University of Saint Francis in non-conference action from the Bowman Center.
It was a total team performance, one that featured 12 Lions in action as SLU hit .432 as a team and held their opponents from Joilet, Illinois to a mere .034 attacking average.
The first and second sets saw almost all of Saint Leo’s (22-2) regular starters breeze through the competition with their NAIA counterparts. In fact, the Lions’ defense held Saint Francis (23-14) to a negative attack percentage in set one, holding them to -.067 and only letting the Saints convert six attacks into kills. Set two saw the Saints push their team average into the positive, but at .043 the Lions still owned the hardwood.
Set three saw Head Coach Sam Cibrone flip-flop his lineup, putting sophomore Corey Ryan in the libero jersey and starting freshman Lucy Fricker, while Brittany Fuhr saw playing time as well. The new lineup, albeit a bit rusty, managed to still outhit the visitors .270 to .118 and out-block them 3-to-1.
For the match, Kaitlin McKenna rocketed down 12 kills as the only Lion in double-digits on the attacking side of the ball while Michelle Nogueras posted another double-double with 36 set-assists and 10 digs. Sophomore Danielle Bletso took home the match’s highest hitting percentage award, hitting .750 and besting McKenna, who hit .625 for the evening.
Defensively, McKenna and Bletso dropped down three blocks while the Lions out-blocked the Saints 7-to-1 in recording their 19th victory in a row.
The Lions hit the road for three consecutive Sunshine State Conference matches as they first face Rollins College on Saturday afternoon. The match is scheduled to get underway at 4:00 p.m. in Winter Park, Fla.