Lions Unable to Topple Two-Time Defending National Champion No. 2 Armstrong
ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. – The sixth-ranked Saint Leo women's tennis team was unable to topple No. 2-ranked and two-time defending national champion Armstrong Atlantic State University, falling to the Pirates 5-0 in the 2014 NCAA Division II Women's Tennis Championship semifinals on Friday morning at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs, Fla.
The Lions conclude their epic 2014 campaign with a record of 22-6, while Armstrong advances to its 15th NCAA DII National Championship match appearance with an overall mark of 28-1.
Saint Leo found themselves in a 3-0 deficit after doubles play thanks to consistent and powerful play by the Pirates. The top-ranked tandem of Aleksandra Filipovski and Barbora Krtickova defeated Pauline Helgesson and Paula Montoya, 8-1 in the top flight, followed by an 8-3 win by Clara Perez and Carolina Prats-Milan over Maria Benkirane and Adrianna Daszkiewicz at No. 3 doubles.
In the second seed, the No. 8-ranked duo of Marlen Hacke and Olga Kalodzitsa pulled out to a 7-2 lead, but the team of Laura Kemkes and Anastasia Wagner won three straight to pull to within two, 7-5. However, despite Saint Leo's best defensive work, the Pirates were able to hold on in the next game to close out the set with an 8-5 lead.
The Lions dropped the first set in all six singles matches, but not without a fight. The Pirates advanced to a 4-0 lead as No. 2 Filipovski picked up a 6-2, 6-1 win over Coralie Pesenti at No. 1 singles, and clinched the match at No. 4 as 28th-ranked Prats-Milan defeated Benkirane 6-3, 6-0 to send her team to the championships.
The Saint Leo women's tennis team closes out it's 2014 season having recorded its best season in program history. Most notably, the Lions found themselves earning their highest national ranking in program history, became the first ever women's program to advance out of regional play to NCAA Tournament action, and became the first ever program for Saint Leo to advance and become national semifinalists.
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