SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo volleyball team got off to an unblemished start as the Lions claimed twin victories in the season-opening Saint Leo Lions Classic at the remodeled Marion Bowman Activities Center on Friday. The Lions opened up their season with a 3-0 (25-13, 25-17, 25-15) win over Charleston and then fought back from an early deficit when they downed Southwest Baptist 3-1 (17-25, 25-20, 25-21, 25-21) in the day's final match.
"I thought (the day) was good. I thought we started off slow in the second match but we calmed down and we played with a little poise which was great to see," Head Coach Sam Cibrone said after the last match had concluded.
After the Lions (2-0) rolled through Charleston (0-2) in the afternoon match, a quick start to their nightcap against Southwest Baptist (0-2) would quickly cool when they found themselves on the wrong end of the 25-17 first-set score. Responding to the adversity on the first day of the season, the team managed to just keep a few paces ahead of their opponents in the next three sets as they managed clutch kills and benefitted from timely opposing errors to take the victory.
The win over Southwest Baptist was also the match that cemented outside hitter Sami Vierk's name into the collectives of Lions' fans as the senior transfer went 13-for-20 with an astounding .600 average to lead her new team to the win. Tawni Warren started her sophomore season off on the right foot with a 10-kill evening.
The Lions' defense showed up big in important moments of the match as Saint Leo tallied 10 total blocks and three players: Abby Lovell, Lauren Campbell and Molly Alexander registered double-digit digs.
Saint Leo will hopefully push the momentum into the tournament's second day when it faces Montevallo, who also went undefeated on day one, and Queens (NC), who split their opening matches. The Lions' first match will get underway at 2 p.m. at the Bowman Center.