SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo University volleyball team (24-8) defeated the Palm Beach Atlantic University Sailfish (10-15), 3-0 in non-conference action from the Bowman Center Friday night. The final scores of the match were 25-12, 25-22, 25-17. The Lions also matched the program-high in wins for a season with 24. Saint Leo originally set the mark of 24 with a spectacular 2007 campaign.
The Lions managed to secure the first point of each set against the Sailfish, with junior Jenna Jordan leading the charge. The Lions outside hitter crashed 15 kills to the ground, while hitting a mighty .520. She also added ten digs to the mix locking up her tenth double-double of the season. Kaitlin McKenna also was no slouch, killing eight balls herself and tallying a .571 attack percentage. The Lions also received solid play from Michelle Nogueras, Audrey Starkebaum and Danielle Bletso. Nogueras finished the night with 26 assists and six digs, while Starkebaum contributed four kills. Bletso was once again a force in the middle totaling three kills and blocking three balls. Leah Perry also made her presence known with three kills.
SLU raced out of the gates, putting four of the first six points on the board. But, the Sailfish showed resiliency in the early parts of the set and at one point held a 9-8 lead. The Lions were turned loose at that point, proceeding to outscore the Sailfish 17-3. Jordan lead the way for the Lions with seven kills, while the team hit a hefty .426. The turning point of the match came when Jordan rattled the floor with a kill to tie the set at nine a piece. The Lions never looked back storming to a 25-12 victory.
For the second set, the Lions maintained control and the lead for most of the match. Still, the Sailfish didn’t go away as easily as they did in the first set, pulling to within one. Still, the Lions clawed their way to a 19-13 lead near the midway point of the match. PBA chipped away at the lead cutting it to a 21-19 lead. That’s where it stopped though, as two big kills by Jordan and Jessi Lynn threw all the momentum back on the Lions side. Jordan finished the set off with one of her numerous kills on the night, giving the Lions a 2-0 advantage.
The trio of Jordan, McKenna and Noguears, anchored the Lions through the third set, combining for nine of the Lions 11 team kills. Saint Leo also left little doubt of who was in control of the match, jumping out to a 12-5 lead. Palm Beach didn’t quit, climbing their way back to within one point. A kill by Jordan quickly ended the run and put Nogueras at the line for six consecutive serves. During the onslaught by Nogueras, McKenna tagged the floor for one massive kill and helped expand the Lions’ lead to six, 21-15. Nogueras padded the lead with a kill of her own and combined with untimely Sailfish errors, diminished all hopes of a PBA comeback. The Lions closed out the set going on a 10-5 run.
The Lions out-blocked the Sailfish 6.0 to 2.0, while totaling nine more team kills, 38-29. Saint Leo controlled the tempo of the match the entire way through, hitting an outstanding .350 as a team, committing only ten errors to PBA’s 21.
The Lions step right back into SSC action with a Halloween match-up against the Florida Tech Panthers, October 31 from Melbourne, Fla. First serve is set to begin at 7:00 p.m.