FLORENCE, Ala. – The Saint Leo volleyball team closed out the 2011 North Alabama Classic with a win and a loss as the Lions dropped a five-set marathon to host North Alabama 3-2 (25-20, 19-25, 22-25, 25-23, 15-9), but rebounded with a dominating 3-1 (25-10, 20-25, 25-20, 25-17) win over Queens University of Charlotte.
In the game against North Alabama (7-0) the Lions rebounded from the first-set loss to take the next two from the hosts as SLU (4-3) was in prime position for the stunner. With set four tied at 23, the UNA Lions managed to tally the final two points that tilted the game, and match in their favor. In game five North Alabama jumped out to an 8-2 run and then held off a Saint Leo rally to close the set win.
The Lions were led in the game by senior Emily Calderon-Reyes, whose 17 kills and 17 digs led the team. Senior Danielle Bletso was also one of four Lions to drop down double figures in kills as she successfully connected on 14 swings and hit a team-leading .357. Sophomore Jordan Sisson and freshman Lauren Campbell added 13 and 11 kills, respectively. Sophomore Molly Alexander, donning the libero jersey, had a game-high 25 digs.
Playing without a break, an angry Lions' squad came out against Queens (NC) and wasted little time in dispatching of the Royals. Dropping just one set when Coach Sam Cibrone altered the lineup, the Lions got contributions from a number of team members and picked up the regional win over the Royals (4-3).
Bletso led the team with 18 kills, but it was freshman Tawni Warren that turned heads, notching 12 kills, 16 digs and four service aces. She also played a part in five blocks. Alexa Reed added 43 assists in the fourth win of the Lions' 2011 season.
Saint Leo will have little time to rest after the 11 hour trip home. The Lions will turn around and travel to Ft. Lauderdale and play their first Sunshine State Conference contest of 2011 when they face Nova Southeastern on Tuesday night. Game time is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
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