TAMPA, Fla. – The 12th-ranked Saint Leo University volleyball team took care of business on Thursday afternoon as they handed the University of North Alabama a 3-0 (25-20, 25-18, 25-19) defeat in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA South Region Tournament at the Bob Martinez Sports Center.
The match appeared to be much the same as the first time these two teams squared off in early September as the size and speed of the SLU Lions was too much for their Florence, Alabama rivals as Saint Leo (29-3) gained control early in all three sets. Relying on the right arms of All-SSC second team member Danielle Bletso and first-teamer Emily Calderon-Reyes, the SLU Lions hit .319 and posted 12 blocks, all while holding the UNA Lions to just a .139 attack average.
Not to be missed in the Lions’ second-ever postseason win was the performance of junior right-side hitter Leah Perry, who dropped down four solo blocks and assisted on another, as her presence on the outside basically shut down the attacking options for North Alabama on that side of the net. The lefty swing of Perry also dropped down five kills as she hit .333 in the win.
Bletso again took home the hitting percentage award for the Lions, hitting .600 with nine kills, while Calderon-Reyes, putting aside a service error that ricocheted off the net stanchion and cleared a section of the scorer’s table, dropped down 11 kills and had three aces.
Senior setter Michelle Nogueras assisted on 29 kills and had eight digs in the win.
The Lions now turn their attention to another rematch as SLU will face West Florida in the semifinal round on Friday evening. Saint Leo claimed both the home and away matches of the 2009 season as they faced the Argos in Pensacola in September and then at the Bowman Center in the middle of October. The match is scheduled to get underway at 5:00 p.m. at the Bob Martinez Sports Center on the University of Tampa campus.
The match will be broadcast live with both audio and video feeds as links will be posted on SaintLeoLions.com on Friday afternoon. Click the Multimedia tab and then Broadcast Schedule to access the links.