History in the Making! Lions Advance to NCAA National Tourney with 5-3 Victory over Lynn
No. 2 Seed Saint Leo Defeats Third-Seeded Lynn to win NCAA South Region 2 Title
SAINT LEO, Fla. – The second-seeded Saint Leo women's tennis team defeated the No. 3 seed Lynn University Fighting Knights, 5-3, Tuesday afternoon to capture the NCAA Division II South Region II title at the Saint Leo Tennis Center in the second round of the South Region II tournament.
The women's tennis team becomes the first women's team to represent Saint Leo University at a National Tournament level, and is the second team total behind men's cross country, who made the national championship meet as a team in the Fall of 2013.
The Lions, who jumped to sixth in the latest ITA DII National Rankings this past week, advance to a record of 20-5 on the season, while fourth-ranked Lynn drops to a mark of 22-4.
The Lions fell to an 0-1 deficit in doubles to open the day as the No. 4 duo of Vale Confalonieri and Iona Ivan defeated Pauline Helgesson and Paula Montoya, 8-3 in the top flight. Maria Benkirane and Adrianna Daszkiewicz evened the score at 1-1, taking down Alilna Jane and Kim Przeszlowski, 8-2 at the No. 3 position, and the tandem of Laura Kemkes and Anastasia Wagner gave the Lions the edge with an 8-4 win at No. 2 doubles over Rosalie Willig and Andrea Berkova.
Lynn knotted the score at 2-2 as No. 1 Confaloniere defeated Coralie Pesenti, 6-0, 6-1 in the No. 1 spot, but Benkirane helped the Lions gain the lead once again as she took down Berkova at No. 4 singles, 6-1, 6-3.
Kemkes pulled the Green and Gold ahead, 4-2, with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Ivan in the second slot, but a hard-fought battle at No. 5 singles pulled Lynn back to within one. Jane took the first set in the No. 5 flight over Montoya, 6-1, but Montoya battled back to win the second set 7-5. Jane clinched the victory in the tiebreaker, defeating Montoya 6-1 to set the overall tally at 4-3 in favor of Saint Leo.
Daszkiewicz clinched the victory at No. 6 singles, defeating Przeszlowski 7-6, 6-3 to send the Lions to the NCAA Round of 16.
In the third spot, No. 48 Wagner and No. 40 Willig were in the midst of a 4-6, 7-6, 0-1 battle that went unfinished.
Saint Leo will play in the first round of the NCAA DII Women's Tennis Championships on Wednesday, May 14, when they take on No. 3 BYU-Hawaii at 8 a.m. This year's tournament will be held at the Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs, Fla., and will be hosted by the Central Florida Sports Commission in conjunction with the Sunshine State Conference.
For the latest news, updates, and information on the Saint Leo women's tennis team in their post-season journey, be sure to visit SaintLeoLions.com. Fans can also stay up-to-date on the latest Lions news by following Saint Leo Athletics on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube.