TAMPA, Fla. – The Saint Leo University women’s volleyball team (23-8, 4-6 SSC) fell to the University of Tampa Spartans (19-2, 8-1 SSC) Wednesday evening in Sunshine State Conference play, 3-0 at the Bob Martinez Sports Center by the scores of 26-24, 25-15, 25-21
Saint Leo was led by Danielle Bletso as the freshman hit .583 and totaled eight kills with two block-assists. Jenna Jordan racked up nine kills of her own, while digging nine balls. Michelle Nogueras finished up the night hitting .455, smashing down six kills, getting three digs and accumulating 26 assists. Chelsea Armer and Kaitlin McKenna contributed with four kills apiece.
The Lions and Spartans battled in the opener with one team never getting more than four points ahead. The Lions were the first team to crack 20 but soon found themselves down by two, 22-20. SLU battled back though, scoring the next two points but Tampa rallied as they scored the next two. Still, the Lions did not quit, forcing the game to 26 but the Spartans put a stop to the Lions' run, registering the next two kills for the set win. Bletso racked up four killsa piece to lead SLU. Tampa outhit the Lions .389 to a very comparable .256. The set featured ten ties or lead changes.
The beginning of the second set wasn’t nearly as successful for the Lions, as the Spartans jumped out to an early 11-0 lead. Tampa’s Vanderhall served eleven straight times to start the set before Jordan laced a ball down the line for a Lions’ point. The Lions could not handle the attack from the Spartans though, dropping the set 25-15. The Lions hit 0.36 as a team while the Spartans cracked the .500 mark, hitting .579. Bletso once again led the way for Saint Leo crushing three kills and hitting .600.
The Lions shook off the ill effects of the second set and jumped out to a 10-6 lead in the third set. Saint Leo kept the momentum going, pressing the lead to 19-16 but the three point lead for the Lions didn’t hold as the Spartans battled back with tremendous pressure to tie the match at 19 and took the lead on the following point. The University of Tampa never looked back, ending the Lions best chance at a set victory by going on a 9-2 run. The Lions hit .161 in the set while committing six errors. The Spartans closed out the match by hitting .270.
The Lions attacked .160 from the floor at the Martinez Center and combined for four blocks and 36 kills. The Spartans hit a collective .380 for the match, securing three blocks, while totaling 38 kills
The Lions take a break from SSC action, as Palm Beach Atlantic enters the Bowman Center on Friday, October 24. First serve is set for 7:00 p.m.