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Monarchs pin playoff hopes on soccer streak

The winning streak is at four straight games and the Saint Leo College soccer team wants to make it seven.

With three games left in the regular season, coach Fran Reidy said he believes the Monarchs (12-3) must run the table in order to get a Southeast regional tournament bid. The Monarchs climbed one spot to No. 21 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Division II poll.

"I'm still a little concerned that some of our key wins are not being recognized," Reidy said. "After 15 games, our strength of schedule should be taken more seriously. I think we have to finish with seven straight wins. They look at how you finish and so we still have that chance."

The Monarchs finish with games against Florida Tech, Flagler and Rollins.

"They are all winable games," Reidy said. "But they are also losable."

Recently, the Monarchs have done little losing. In their last four games, they have outscored opponents 12-1, defeating Eckerd College 5-1, Lenoir Rhyne 5-0 and Gardner-Webb (N.C.) 2-0.

"We're now playing teams that some of these other teams have been playing and getting good results," Reidy said.

DOWN TO THE WIRE: The last time the Saint Leo volleyball team had a winning season was 1987, when the Monarchs finished 18-15. The waiting could come to an end.

Saint Leo (14-13) is currently one game over .500 (2-4 in the SSC) with eight matches remaining.

But the race will be close. Four of the matches will be against teams that already have defeated Saint Leo this year. The other four are against teams the Monarchs have beaten this season.

CLOSE, BUT NOT ENOUGH: In the week leading up to last Saturday's home game against the University of Tampa, volleyball coach Bill Lent made it very clear he felt his team's chances against the Spartans were slim. Very slim.

The Spartans are ranked No. 3 in the nation and going into the game had won 22 of their 23 games.

The upset was unlikely and it didn't happen. What did happen was a spirited effort from the Monarchs.

Sophomore Stephanie Compton had nine kills and eight digs, junior April Phelan added seven kills and two blocks, and junior Sarah Doctor added 24 assists as the Monarchs fell 15-13, 15-3, 15-8.

The loss came on the heels of Saint Leo's second conference win of the season the night before. Against Eckerd College, the Monarchs got 16 kills, 15 digs, a block and an ace from freshman Amy Hutson in a 15-9, 15-8, 12-15 and 15-8 victory. Compton and Kristy Johnson chipped in with 11 and 10 digs each and Phelan added six more blocks to her school-record career total.

HOUSE CALLS: The doctor is in, as in Sarah Doctor. The junior setter currently ranks fourth in the Sunshine State conference with an average of 9.04 assists per game. With eight matches left, Doctor is 41 assists away from setting the school's single-season mark. But Doctor is also versatile. The former All-American from Onondaga Community College in New York has 37 services aces this year.

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