GOLDEN, Colo. - It was a late wake-up call for the Saint Leo volleyball team, but the Lions managed to come to life just in time to hand Fort Lewis College a 3-0 (25-22, 25-20, 25-15) defeat in SLU's first match of the second day of the Holiday Inn/Oredigger Classic in Golden, Colo.
The 'wake-up call' was in reference to the Lions' late start, a 3:00 p.m. EDT first serve that saw Fort Lewis jump out to a 7-3 lead in Game One. It took almost 11 total points for the starting six to awaken, but once the Lions (3-0) gained momentum, they never seemed to let it go. The Lions managed to correct their errors and tied the game at 12, outscoring the Skyhawks 9-5 over the span. After a back-and-forth battle through the teens, Saint Leo took the lead for good at 22-21 and claimed Game One.
In a reversal of a typical SLU volleyball match, where the games get harder down the stretch, the Lions quickly put distance between themselves in Games Two and Three. The Lions earned seemingly effortless wins as they capitalized on Lewis errors and saw some great blocks and kills from their front row to take home the match win.
In sweeping their third opponent in a day, the Lions were led by senior Kaitlin McKenna's 11 kils and four block assists as she also dropped a lone stuff on the Skyhawks. Sophomore Denielle Bletso won the matches hitting percentage award as she hit .400 putting down eight kills in 15 attempts. Defensively, she also chipped in on five block assists and a lone solo putback.
The international connection of Bruna Rocha and Emily Calderon-Reyes nearly had double-doubles with nine kills each as Rocha had14 digs and Calderon-Reyes had 10. They both joined in on the block party as well with three assists from Calderon-Reyes and a single assist from Rocha.
Senior Michelle Nogeuras had a typical 34 set-assist effort where she added six digs, five kills, and three block assists.
Even in a match that the Lions coaching staff felt was "sloppy" the Lions still hit .244 as a team and has 11 total team blocks. Compare that to an .088 attack percentage and just four team blocks for Fort Lewis and the Lions were able to put away their third victory of the season.
Saint Leo looks to wrap up the 2009 Holiday Inn/Oredigger Classic as they face the host Colorado School of Mines at 9:30 p.m. EDT. Be sure to follow the final match on the Lions' Twitter page at www.twitter.com/SaintLeoLions.