St. Petersburg, FL (August, 24, 2007) - The Saint Leo University volleyball team (3-0) continued their winning ways at the Eckerd Invitational, defeating Davis & Elkins College in three games and Francis Marion University in a five-game thriller to round out the weekend with a perfect 3-0 record.
The Lions took early control of the first match of the day versus David & Elkins and never looked back, sweeping the Senators in three games (30-10, 30-26, 30-21). The second encounter of the afternoon proved a tougher test, as Saint Leo battled from a 2-1 deficit to defeat south region foe Francis Marion (34-32, 25-30, 27-30, 30-28, 15-8).
The Lions darted out to an early lead against Davis & Elkins building a 15-4 lead en route to the 30-10 win. The second game was more of a struggle, as the teams were tied 25-25 before the Saint Leo freshman Kim Nuckols (Fr., Upperville, Va.)notched a pair of aces to push the Lions to victory 30-26. Senior Eni Lukacs (Bradenton, Fla.) had three aces during the Lions' eight point run midway through the third game to secure the second victory of the season.
The Lions were dominating on both sides of the net, as Saint Leo racked up a hitting percentage of .389 while the Senators could only muster a .071. Leading the way was Audrey Starkebaum (Jr., Haxton, Colo.) who led the team with eight kills, while Chelsea Armer (So., San Jose, Calif.) and Leah Perry (Fr., Salem, Ohio) added seven kills apiece. The Lions had only 11 errors in the match while Davis and Elkins had 22.
In the second half of the Saturday's action, the Lions outlasted Francis Marion in a five-game thriller. The Lions and the Patriots opened the match with a thrilling game one, which saw several lead changes and ties late before Saint Leo was able to come away with a 35-33 win.
Francis Marion won games two and three to put the Lions in a 2-1 deficit. The Lions regrouped and tied the match up 2-2 in a tightly contested game four which saw two important kills by Natalie Gaudreau (Fr., Venice, Fla.) late in the match to help seal the victory. The game four win led to a deciding fifth game. The Lions scored seven consecutive points after trailing 4-3 to push out to a 10-4 advantage. The Lions went on to win the game 15-8 and the match 3-2.
Nuckols totaled a career-high 26 kills against Francis Marion and added 16 digs for her first career double-double. Michelle Nogueras (So., Cayey, Puerto Rico) added 18 digs of her own and Armer added a double-double with19 kills an 11 digs.
Saint Leo will open its home schedule with two matches on Tuesday, August 28. Webber International is the first opponent at 5 p.m. followed by the New York Institute of Technology at 7 p.m. Both matches are scheduled to be broadcast live on the Internet via the Saint Leo Athletics Audiocast Network.