Lions Hot Start Continues with Twin Wins in Saint Leo Lions Classic

SAINT LEO, Fla. – It was nearly a carbon copy of the previous day's play, but the Saint Leo volleyball team came out of the opening weekend unblemished as the Lions downed Montevallo and Queens on Saturday from the Bowman Center.

Saint Leo (4-0) struggled briefly with their first opponent in Montevallo (3-1), but after a 25-23 first set, the Lions dominated the remaining two to sweep the Falcons, 3-0 (25-23, 25-16, 25-20).

Like yesterday, Saint Leo found itself on its heels early on in the tournament's final game when Queens (NC) took a set from the Green and Gold.  A pep talk from Head Coach Sam Cibrone and assistant Carlos Ramos got the Lions back on track as they didn't allow their opponents to reach 20 points in any of the final three sets.  Saint Leo would go on to defeat the Royals 3-1 (23-25, 25-18, 25-16, 25-15).

"I'm very happy with the girls," Cibrone said after a long day of tournament matches.  "The first game we didn't start out strong and kind of underestimated our opponents but I think we stepped up.  You're going to have that at the beginning of the season.  You've got to realize that it's a process and I think we're getting better every game.  We really started blocking and got a lot of substitutions; the kids came in and did their job. (We) showed a little bit of depth." 

"I'm excited, 4-0 is where we thought we would be and now we've got to push forward for a tough next weekend."

Two Lions reached double-figure kills in both of Saturday's games as junior Meghan Donovan knocked down 11 against Montevallo and 10 against Queens.  Sophomore Tawni Warren continued her hot start to the season with 13 kills in the first game and 10 in the win over Queens.

Lauren Campbell also shined in the nightcap with 11 kills, nine digs and a block.

Settling into her new role, senior Abby Lovell racked up 60 kills across both matches, while junior Jaclyn Mailoto frustrated Queens from the service line as she racked up six service aces in a single game.

Looking ahead, the Lions will travel to Bolivar, Mo. where they will compete in the Southwest Baptist Purple Bash Volleyball Tournament next Friday and Saturday.  Saint Leo will face four tough teams on Friday and Saturday with the first match against Drury scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on Friday morning.

For the latest news, updates, and information on Lions Volleyball and the other 16 teams at Saint Leo University, visit SaintLeoLions.com.