Men’s Tennis Impresses On First Day of USTA/ITA South Region Championships

VALDOSTA, Ga. – The Saint Leo men's and women's tennis teams kicked-off their fall slate on Thursday as they competed in the 2011 USTA/ITA South Region  Championships in Valdosta, Ga.

Impressively, the Lions tallied 15 total wins between the two squads.

The men posted a 7-3 combined record between singles and doubles, while the women went an astounding 8-3.

For the men, the 12th-seeded Victor Lozier, got things rolling for the Green and Gold as he paced Florida Tech's Brent Gutierrez in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2. He advances to play West Alabama's Nathan Leavitt on Friday at 8:30 a.m.

Tim Balz-Herrmann fell in straight sets to fall to the backdraw, but the sixteenth-seeded Alou Adjenak put the Lions back on track with an overwhelming win over Valdosta's Bernhard Wallner, 6-4, 6-3. He advances to play Lynn's Vlad Cirla on Friday at 8:30 a.m.

The fourteenth-seeded Matt Nicholson-Lewis kept the moment going as he used three sets to upend Florida Tech's Nicolas Clerc, 6-1, 2-6, 10-4. Nicholson-Lewis advances to Friday's second round to play Palm Beach Atlantic's Giuseppe Guarnieri at 8:30 a.m. on Friday.

Newcomer Antoine Raffaelli impressed in his Lions' debut as he dumped Rollins' Jason Alabaster in consecutive sets, 6-4, 6-0. He advances to take on West Florida's Leandro Ferreira at 10:00 a.m. on Friday.

Jose Morales wrapped-up singles play by dropping his match to Lynn's Alessio Iannozzi, 6-2, 6-2. However, Jake Fleischer posted two consecutive wins to top off singles action. He blanked New Orleans' Daniel Popilous, 6-0, 6-0, before taking down West Alabama's Nestor Vargas in a hard-fought three set victory, 1-6, 6-1, 7-5 (10-5). He awaits Rollins' Lucas Jovita for a 10:00 a.m. showdown on Friday.

Doubles action saw the tandem of Adjenak and Fleishcer open doubles with an impressive 8-1 win over Eckerd's Stephen Felman and Kyle Zugelter. After a slight 8-5 setback to Barry's Olivier Lemaitre and Kevin Sielmann, the Lions' top-ranked doubles pair, and two-seeded tandem of Lozier and Nicholson-Lewis dominated the New Orleans pair of Dominik Kardell and Daniel Populus, 8-2.

On the evening, Head Coach James Bryce stated, "It was great to get back on the court and watch the guys compete again. We got off to a good start and have 5 men in the main draw still. I'm particularly happy for Jake Fleischer and Antoine Raffaelli for getting their first wins in a Lions' uniform.

The men will return to the court Friday, September 23, when they take part in second round and backdraw action from the Valdosta State Tennis Facility. For the latest news, information, and updates on both the men's tennis teams, visit SaintLeoLions.com.