TAMPA, Fla. – For the first time in the program’s history, the 23rd-ranked Saint Leo volleyball team left the Bob Martinez Sports Center victors as they defeated the 4th-ranked University of Tampa Spartans 3-0 (23-25, 22-25, 23-25) on Saturday afternoon. The victory, snapping a 56-game winless streak against the Spartans, improves SLU to 15-2 and 6-0 in the SSC, while UT drops to 14-2 and 5-1.
The first set was a tight game that featured 20 tie scores and eight lead changes. Both teams hit well with Tampa edging Saint Leo .406 to .375, but the Lions were able to take a late lead and hold on for the win. The second game was just as close as the score was tied at 21, when junior Bruna Rocha slammed a kill to spark a 4-1 run for the Lions to win the set.
The third frame saw Tampa with a three point lead at 19-16 until Saint Leo came back to tie it at 21, then going ahead on another Rocha kill. The Spartans would take a timeout and come out of the break with back-to-back kills, but the Lions responded with three consecutive kills of their own to end the match.
Saint Leo held the advantage in every offensive category and in blocks on this memorable afternoon in early October.
Rocha finished with a match-best 21 kills at an amazing .538 clip to lead the Lions. Emily Calderon-Reyes put down 12 kills with a .357 attack percentage, as SLU finished the match hitting .409 as a team.
The Lions will take another banner victory into a home contest with Florida Southern on Tuesday evening as the Lions will try to ‘White-Out’ the visiting Moccasins, encouraging their fans to wear white to the match. The Sunshine State Conference tilt will get underway at 7:00 p.m. at the Marion Bowman Activities Center on the Saint Leo campus.