SAINT LEO, Fla. – A miracle 'kick-save' off the foot of senior Abby Lovell saved the Lions from a two-set hole and eventually propelled the Saint Leo volleyball team to a thrilling 3-1 (24-26, 26-24, 25-16, 25-6) conference victory over visiting Florida Tech on Senior Day from the Bowman Center.
Staring a set-point in Game 2 and a potential two-set deficit, the Lions (11-15, 3-11 SSC) watched as the visiting Panthers connected on what surely looked to be the game-winning point, but Jordan Sisson managed a desperation dig that resulted in a line-drive pass that hovered about three inches off of the floor. Lovell, doing what she can on a day where she was honored, shot a foot out and redirected the ball enough to allow Tawni Warren to push it over the net. The resulting Florida Tech attack was blocked by Sami Vierk and the Lions tied the score at 25.
The next point would fall in the Lions' favor as they rallied to score four straight points to steal the set win and the match's momentum.
Lovell's play seemed to stun the visiting Panthers (15-12, 5-9 SSC) as Saint Leo, with a set victory now under its belt, dominated the next two sets. The Lions forced FIT into a negative attack average through the final two games, including a -.241 in the final set.
Playing in their final home games, all four Saint Leo seniors played a significant role in the victory. Lovell posted a team-leading 21 set-assists while Vierk recorded 10 digs and an astounding eight blocks, including five solos. Lucy Fricker played in all four sets and knocked down two kills alongside five digs and Heather Martin added four kills, five digs and a block assist.
The Saint Leo defense kept the Panthers from managing a double-digit individual effort, but senior Janice Valies dropped down a team-leading seven kills in the losing effort.
With the home portion of their 2012 in the books, the Lions will look to close out the season in the upcoming week with two road matches. The first comes when they head to Lakeland to face Florida Southern on Tuesday night. The Sunshine State Conference match is scheduled to get underway at 7 p.m. from the Jenkins Field House on the FSC campus.
This postgame recap is brought to you by Papa Joe's Italian Restaurant in Brooksville, Fla.
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