MELBOURNE, Fla. – The No.28-ranked Saint Leo women’s tennis team (1-5, 0-1 SSC) fell to the No.-25 ranked Florida Tech Panthers (2-1, 1-0 SSC) 8-1, Saturday afternoon from the Fee Avenue Tennis Courts in Melbourne, Fla.

In the Lions Sunshine State Conference opener, Saint Leo opened the afternoon tilt with three consecutive losses in doubles competition.

The No. 2 pair of Gina Schifano and Christine Clyne gave SLU its best chance at victory. However, the pair could not get around the tandem of Katriana Huba and Andrea Madrigal as they fell, 8-3.

Jeanette McDonald and Shaena Keefe dropped an 8-1 decision at No. 1 doubles, while Chloe Andersson and Hannah Beard stumbled at No. 3 doubles, 8-2.
Facing a 3-0 deficit going into singles play, the Lions battled but were only able to secure one match.

Keefe provided a boost at No. 2 singles after falling behind 6-1 in set one. The senior battled back but came up two points short as she fell in set two, 6-4.

Schifano also battled in her match even though she was upended in straight sets. She built up four points in the first set and collected three more in the second, providing the Lions with their closest singles loss.

Clyne rallied-off two and three points in her match but still fell victim to the Panthers’ Stephanie Dohner at No. 5 singles.

Beard saved the best for last, as the newcomer to the team christened the match with the Lions only victory of the day. Beard raced out to a large lead at No.6 singles and never looked back, winning 6-1. She nearly duplicated the effort in the second set allowing her opponent to score just one more point, completing the straight sets win with a 6-2 second set victory.

The Lions return to action on Tuesday, February 16th when they travel to the University of Tampa to take on the Spartans. The non-conference match is set to begin at 3:00 p.m.