The Saint Leo University’s women’s volleyball team’s upcoming schedule features matches against seven teams that qualified for the 2015 NCAA Division II Tournament.
“When putting this schedule together, I knew I wanted to challenge our team to fight for a chance to win the Sunshine State Conference (SSC) and go to the elite eight in the NCAA Tournament,” Samuel Cibrone said, in a release. “I knew in order to do this we had to play two tough tournaments at the beginning of the season to accomplish our goals.”
Saint Leo, coming off a 21-11 season, will open with a trip to Fort Lauderdale for the 2016 Shark Classic hosted by Nova Southeastern University. They open the season with the University of Arkansas at Monticello on Sept. 2, and have a follow-up with NCAA quarterfinalist Rockhurst (Kansas) University. In Day 2 of the tournament, the Lions face Bentley (Massachusetts) University and Southern Nazarene (Oklahoma) University in the tournament.
In the second weekend of play, the Lions travel to Denver, Colorado, to participate in the Colorado Premier Challenge, where they will face Concordia-St. Paul (Minnesota) University, an NCAA Third Round team, and Lewis (Illinois) University, an NCAA Second Round team.
Saint Leo will host Rollins College for its home opener on Sept. 23; it is one of the team’s 10 conference games at the Bowman Center.
“All 10 home conference games will be tough, and we hope to entertain our fans with a high-powered offense. Considering we only lost one pin player and one middle offensively, we should be able to get kills,” Cibrone said. “In addition, we did not graduate anyone from our back row, so our serve receive and defense should be tough.”
The team returns starting libero Jamee Townsend, a Second-Team All-SSC selection, and outside hitter Hope Lemon, an SSC Honorable Mention. The Lions will be without middle Jillian Stolzenburg, setter Ashlee Hodgskin and opposite Anna Siruckova.