MIAMI SHORES, Fla. – In one of those memorable seasons, sometimes the breaks, and the luck goes your way. In the Saint Leo volleyball team’s Sunshine State Conference match with Barry University, the 13th-ranked Lions had just enough luck on their side as they squeeked out a 3-2 (20-25, 25-21, 17-25, 25-13, 15-7) win over the Buccaneers on Friday night from Barry’s Health and Sports Center.
It was a night where the Lions did not put their best performance on the hardwood, but the talent and execution of the team, combined with the leadership from senior libero Chelsea Armer, Saint Leo started rolling at the beginning of set four and didn’t look back.
Indicative of the way the Lions started the match, senior Michelle Nogueras took the opening serve and drove it underneath the net, giving the hosts their first point. After struggling through the first set, where SLU service errors set the tone for the Barry win, one play in the second game helped the Lions.
With the set in doubt, Armer refused to let Barry get the point as she dug three-straight Buccaneer blasts, including the final two seated on the court to give the Lions an important point.
Splitting the first two sets, but still not at the top of their game, the Lions stumbled again in the third set as the Bucs’ serve kept SLU guessing. Barry junior Ady Alcantara posted four service aces in one rotation at the beginning of the set as she helped the Bucs get a 7-1 lead and coast to the set three win and a 2-1 match lead.
After her interesting serve in the beginning of the match, Nogueras made up for it at the beginning of set four as she teamed up with junior Emily Calderon-Reyes to give the Lions a 7-0 lead. Sophomore Corey Ryan’s great serve and clutch digs also helped in the middle of the set as SLU rolled through the fourth to set up the final-game showdown.
Set five was tied through the first five points, but after a bad set by the Buccaneers, junior Bruna Rocha would take the serve and force Barry into three-straight attack error, putting SLU in charge of the set. Surrendering the serve after giving the Lions an 11-6 lead, Rocha turned the match over to Danielle Bletso, who earned the Lions’ 12th point with a kill and then served Saint Leo to match-point.
Armer ended the match with 31 digs while Rocha would quietly have an impressive night, posting 13 kills and 17 digs.
Calderon-Reyes led the Lions with 14 kills while Kaitlin McKenna added 10 as well. Nogueras added six kills and 46 set-assists.
Helping the Lions out-block the hosts, Bletso posted two solo blocks and assisted on six.
Saint Leo will stay in South Florida on Friday night as the No. 13 Lions will face Lynn University in Sunshine State Conference action from Boca Raton on Saturday afternoon at 4:00 p.m.