SAINT LEO, Fla. – Less than a week into preseason, head coach Sam Cibrone has solidified his 2012 Saint Leo Volleyball schedule. The Lions will take to the court 28 times this season, starting things up at the Saint Leo Lions Classic on August 31. In standard fashion, 16 of the Lions' contests will be against tough Sunshine State Conference competition as Saint Leo looks to regain its foothold in the national volleyball scene.
The season gets underway when the Lions host the four-team Saint Leo Lions Classic on August 31 and September 1. In the Labor Day weekend tournament they welcome the University of Charleston, Southwest Baptist University, the University of Montevallo and Queens University of Charlotte into the Bowman Center for the two-day event.
Saint Leo pays Southwest Baptist a return visit the following weekend when the Lions travel to Bolivar, Mo. to play in the Southwest Baptist Purple Bash where they will face tough Division II competition in Drury (9/7), Harding (9/7), Pittsburg St (9/8) and Northwest Oklahoma State (9/8).
Returning from Missouri, the Lions head straight into Sunshine State Conference play as they close out September with a tough stretch of matches against Barry (9/21), Lynn (9/22), at no. 19 Eckerd (9/28) and at no. 2 Tampa (9/29).
The Lions remain on the road and inside SSC play as the calendar shifts into October when Saint Leo travels to Florida Tech (10/5) and squares off against no. 22 Rollins (10/6) in Winter Park the following day. Completing the run through the first half of Conference, the Lions return home with a match against Florida Southern (10/9) and Nova Southeastern (10/13).
Taking a break from the SSC, the Lions welcome NAIA school St. Francis (Ill.) in an October 16 matchup at the Bowman Center and then travel to Tampa to compete in the Sunshine State Conference/Gulf South Conference Crossover Tournament where they face Christian Brothers (10/19), Valdosta St. (10/19) and West Georgia (10/20).
As October winds down, SSC action heats back up with road contests against Lynn (10/26) and Barry (10/27).
Moving into November and the final weeks of the regular season, Saint Leo returns to the Bowman Center for its toughest stretch when the Lions face three consecutive top-25 teams in Tampa (11/2), Eckerd (11/3) and Rollins (11/9).
The home portion of the regular season comes to a close in a Senior Day contest against Florida Tech (11/10) on the Saturday following the Rollins match.
Closing out the regular season with two road contests, the Lions travel to face Florida Southern (11/13) and then finish off scheduled play with a match against Nova Southeastern (11/16) in Ft. Lauderdale.
It will be at that point where the Lions will look to return to the NCAA Tournament after a two-year hiatus.
Click here for the complete 2012 schedule and for more on Lions' Volleyball team, visit SaintLeoLions.com.