Queens knocks off Saint Francis for season-opening upset win

Photo courtesy of Queens athletics

Outside attacker Nic Cavallaro has been through it all with Queens.

A member of the inaugural team who four years ago traveled halfway across the country to join the new program has now led Queens to one of its biggest wins in program history.

Cavallaro had both a match-high 15 kills and four aces as Queens rallied to beat Saint Francis 22-25, 25-16, 19-25, 25-21, 15-5 in its season-opener on Friday in Charlotte, North Carolina.

This is the Royals second all-time win against an EIVA school. It also is Queens’ first win in program history versus Saint Francis, which was projected in the EIVA Preseason Poll to finish the conference in fourth place.

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Cavallaro had seven of his 15 kills in the final two games to help the Royals rally from a one-game deficit.

Along with Cavallaro, All-Independent Team outside attacker Tristan Santoyo added 11 kills and two aces in the victory.

Setter Brandon Grabow guided Queens out-hit Saint Francis .222 to .121, including the Royals committing one error and hitting a match-best .545 attack percentage in the fifth game. Saint Francis in that decisive game had zero kills and was held to a negative-.308 attack percentage.

The Royals ended the non-conference match with 11 blocks — four more blocks than Saint Francis. In addition, Queens middle attacker JP Payne. led all players with seven blocks.

Saint Francis middle attacker Zac Cabral in the loss finished with a team-high 11 kills on a .450 attack percentage.

This was the second loss of the day for the Red Flash. Limestone in its season opener defeated Saint Francis 25-17, 20-25, 25-20, 28-26 on Friday afternoon.

Saint Francis will conclude its season-opening road trip with a rematch against Queens on Saturday.