SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo volleyball team fought their way back into the win column on Tuesday night with a thrilling 3-2 (25-16, 25-18, 24-26, 20-25, 15-11) victory over visiting Florida Southern College in Sunshine State Conference action from the Bowman Center.
It was a bittersweet win for head coach Sam Cibrone, who's Lions needed to pick up some momentum after a number of near-misses this season.
Saint Leo (7-8, 1-6 SSC) looked unstoppable in the first two sets of the match as they rolled through the visitors, holding FSC (13-7, 4-3 SSC) to just a .076 average through great defense and those timely kills.
As it usually does, momentum swung the way of the Moccasins in the third set and Florida Southern managed to edge Saint Leo 26-24 to keep the match alive. Despite jumping out to a massive lead in the fourth set, Florida Southern watched as the Lions nearly mounted an unbelievable rally. Down 20-9 Saint Leo brought the game all the way back to 24-20 before the Mocs dropped down the game-clinching kill that would send the match to the deciding set.
The Lions seem to get into a zone once they build a small cushion, which they promptly did at the start of the fifth set when they jumped out to a 4-0 lead and forced Florida Southern to call a timeout. Despite FSC bringing the margin to just an 8-7 Saint Leo lead, the Lions would again open up a 14-11 gap and then claim the thriller when Jordan Sisson's attack fell true.
The win seemed to lift a large weight off the collective shoulders of the Saint Leo volleyball team as it snapped a six-game winless streak, many of those matches up-for-grabs all the way to the final point with each one ending against the Lions. This big win proves to many that the Lions are still a talented team and a threat that can still make an impact in the second half of the SSC season.
Molly Alexander was the most notable Lion of the evening as she became one of just a handful of Saint Leo volleyball players under Coach Cibrone to etch her name into the AVCA 30-dig club after a 31 dig evening. It was a defensive effort that left the Moccasins stymied and kept Saint Leo on the attack.
With Alexander giving the Lions' possession, Lauren Campbell, Sami Vierk and Sisson were able to rack up the double-digit kills with 19, 14 and 11 respectively.
For Florida Southern, Gabby Fernandez finished with 15 kills and Anne Pietkiewicz added 11. Ali Skayhan was all over the floor as she posted 35 assists and 25 digs in the losing effort.
The Lions will look to keep the winning edge when they host Nova Southeastern on Saturday afternoon. The Lions and Sharks will square off at 4 p.m. in the Marion Bowman Activities Center.
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