Saints win inaugural game in five sets over Pasco-Hernando

In front of a crowd of over 800 supporters, including President Sasser, the Santa Fe Saints volleyball team (1-0) started the new era off on the right foot, picking up a thrilling five set victory over Pasco-Hernando State College (25-23, 23-25, 25-16, 24-26, 15-8) at the Santa Fe Gym Tuesday.

“I’m really proud of the team and our players,” said head volleyball coach Nick Cheronis.  “Pasco came out and hit us in the chin in games two and four, but I really like how we responded and showed resiliency in games three and five.  They are a very, very well coached team and they gave us everything we could handle”

The Saints opened the first set with a 25-23 victory, but the Conquistadors answered with a 25-23 win of their own in the second set to knot things up at 1-1.

Santa Fe bounced back nicely in set three, but once again Pasco rallied for a win in set four to even things back out, setting up the deciding fifth set.

“This was just about all you could have asked for out of a first match,” said Cheronis.  “It was a great match if you are a volleyball fan, and it was a great match if you were watching for the first time.  In both ways it was a great match.”

In the fifth set, the Saints rallied behind the support of the crowd and pulled away for the 15-8 win, sealing their first ever victory.

“One of the reasons I took this job was because you only get to start a program once, you only get to have one opening game, and to have it as a five set screamer[…]I couldn’t have scripted it any better.”

Farah Rajaee finished with a game high 36 assists, Ruth Harrington led the way with 13 kills, and Ann-Lorrayne Bzoch had 15 digs.  Julie Fuchs also had a solid game with 11 kills, and Kailyn Powell had eight.

An archive of the game can be seen at www.ihigh.com/santafesaints

Santa Fe will look to build on the momentum of their first match victory on Friday and Saturday at the Marriot Classic in Jacksonville, FL.  On Friday SF battles Eastern Florida State College at noon and Pensacola State at 2 p.m., and on Saturday take on Pasco-Hernando at 2 p.m. in a rematch, and Indian River State at 4 p.m.  All four games will be broadcast on www.ihigh.com/santafesaints

For complete schedules and more information on Saints Athletics please visit www.santafesaints.com.  To see game photos and other updates, follow Santa Fe College Athletics on Facebook.

The team celebrates with a group hug following their first victory Tuesday.