MELBOURNE, Fla. – The Saint Leo volleyball team had a number of chances to claim their initial Sunshine State Conference victory, but the Florida Tech Panthers' persistence paid off as the hosts defeated the Lions 3-2 (25-22, 22-25, 25-18, 18-25, 23-21) in a thrilling SSC volleyball match on Friday evening.
Trading the first four sets with eerily similar scores, the teams squared off for what proved to be a nail-biting deciding set. Trailing 8-7 as both teams switched sides, the Lions (6-7, 0-5 SSC) rallied to take a 14-11 lead. Holding the first match point, the Lions' inability to close the game out saw Florida Tech (11-5, 2-3 SSC) rally off the next four points to steal their first advantage as they looked to claim the win.
The Lions held off FIT in what would prove to be a back-and-forth battle that had Saint Leo look at four match points while Florida Tech held five chances, converting on their final one, capitalizing on the 32nd Saint Leo attack error.
In a match that went its full length, with over 200 points awarded, the Lions saw Lauren Campbell nearly eclipse the 20-kills mark with 19 successful swings. She was one of four Saint Leo players in double figures as Sami Vierk finished with 16 kills, Jordan Sisson had 12 and Meghan Donovan finished with 10.
Florida Tech's Janice Valies posted a game-high 20 kills in the FIT triumph.
Despite the loss, the Lions will have less than 24 hours before hitting the road for another SSC contest, this time with Rollins on Saturday. The match is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. in the Alfond Sports Center.
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