MELBOURNE, Fla. – Playing in their first conference road game of 2009, the Saint Leo volleyball team took care of business as they defeated the host Florida Tech Panthers 3-1 (25-20, 25-20, 22-25, 25-20) in Sunshine State Conference action from the Clemente Center in Melbourne on Saturday afternoon.
After controlling the first and second sets, and winning both by identical 25-20 scores, the Lions saw Florida Tech rally in the third. A back-and-forth battle throughout the first 20 points of the game saw the Lions take a 22-21 lead after a service ace by Michelle Nogueras and a kill by Kaitlin McKenna.
Looking to post their second conference sweep in the week, the Lions couldn’t close out the set as two attack errors and consecutive kills by Tech’s Caitlyn Ballweber saw the hosts post the third set win and force SLU into a fourth game.
Set four saw a determined Lions’ team come out and shut down the Panthers as Saint Leo hit a blistering .400 to finish off the SSC win.
The four-set match saw three Lions post double-figure kills with McKenna leading the contest posting 16 kills and hitting .462. Bruno Rocha and Danielle Bletso joined McKenna with 140 and 12 kill respectively.
Nogueras assisted on 47 of the Lions’ 62 successful attacks and also added seven kills and nine digs in the win.
The Lions defense played a big role in the victory as they posted 15 more digs than the hosts and held the Panthers to a .239 attack average behind senior Chelsea Armer's match-high 16 digs..
Saint Leo will have a week to rest before hosting two tough back-to-back SSC matches in Lynn and Barry on Friday and Saturday. The Lions will square off against Lynn at 7:00 p.m. on Friday night and then face Barry at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday in a Parents’ Weekend doubleheader.