DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Saint Leo men's tennis team picked up a hard-fought 5-4 victory over NAIA No. 1 Embry-Riddle on Wednesday afternoon at the Crotty Tennis Complex. Five of the matches in the four-hour, 40-minute contest required extra play to determine the outcome, and Saint Leo came out on top as the Lions managed to hold on for wins in four of those contests. With the win, Saint Leo improves to 14-3 on the year, while Embry-Riddle drops to 10-3.
Saint Leo ended doubles play with a 2-1 lead. The No. 1 ERAU doubles team of Deni Zmak andSimon Felix defeated Bruno Sisti and Aloua Adjenak 8-3 to lead off the scoring, but the second flight duo of Matt Nicholson-Lewis and Victor Lozier engaged the Eagles' tandem of Jaime Sanchez-Canamares Rios and Patrick Besch in a back-and-forth battle to pull out a 9-8 (7-5) win over Embry-Riddle.
Saint Leo went on to win three of the singles matches to secure the win. With Saint Leo holding onto a 2-1 lead after doubles, Zmak pulled the score even at 2-2 as he took down Adjenak 6-1, 6-2 at the top singles spot. Felix gave the Eagles a 3-2 lead with his 6-1, 6-1 defeat of Oskar Nurmio on court three, but Jacobo Gonzalez-Tarrio knotted the score once again with a 6-0, 6-3 win against Lopez Gomez at the No. 5 position.
The contest at No. 4 singles needed three sets to determine the outcome and, in the end, it was Lozier who emerged with a 6-1, 2-6, 7-5 win over Besch to reclaim the lead for the Lions.
Competing in the longest singles match of the day, Sanchez-Canamares fell just short of a win in the first set, falling 7-5 to Nicholson-Lewis, but the ERAU junior battled back to claim the second by the same score and force a third set. With the score tied at 3-3 for both teams, Sanchez-Canamares bested Nicholson-Lewis in each of the next three to win 6-3 and tie the team score again.
The deciding match was on court six where de Caires took an early lead with a 6-2 decision in the first set against Verberne, brother of ERAU's Juan Verberne. Verberne was able to take two easy sets, 6-2, 6-2 to give Saint Leo the win.
The Saint Leo men's tennis team returns to action on Saturday, March 29, when the travel to Melbourne, Fla. to take on Florida Tech in Sunshine State Conference action. For more information, fans can visit SaintLeoLions.com.
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