WINTER PARK, Fla. – The 2014 Sunshine State Conference Tennis Championship is set for April 24-26 on the campus of Rollins College.
The seventh-ranked Saint Leo women's tennis team earns the No. 3 seed in this year's tournament, and will square off against the sixth-seeded Nova Southeastern Sharks on Thursday, April 24, at 11:30 a.m.
The Saint Leo men's team, currently ranked fourth in NCAA DII, earns the fourth seed in the men's bracket. The Lions will take on fifth-seeded Florida Southern at 9 a.m. on Thursday, April 24.
Both the men's and women's conference tournament champions will earn automatic qualifiers to the 2014 NCAA Division II Tennis Championship.
The SSC is one of the elite NCAA Division II conferences in tennis. This year three men's teams (No. 2 Barry, No. 4 Saint Leo, No. 8 Lynn) and five women's teams (No. 1 Barry, No. 5 Lynn, No. 7 Saint Leo, No. 8 Rollins, No. 10 Florida Southern) rank in the top-10 of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) national rankings.
SSC teams have collected 12 national championships in tennis (7 men, 5 women). They have also earned a total of 16 national runner-up trophies (10 men, 6 women).
Barry has won three national titles in the last four years. The Buccaneer men won in 2013 and 2010, while the women won in 2011.
Earning the top seed and a first-round bye in the men's draw is second-ranked Barry. The Buccaneers (19-2, 6-0 SSC) captured the first-ever SSC regular-season title in 2014 and are in search of their third-straight conference-tournament title.
The rest of the men's seeds are as follows: No. 2 Lynn (12-5, 5-1 SSC), No. 3 Rollins (11-9, 4-2 SSC), No. 4 Saint Leo (17-4, 3-3 SSC), No. 5 Florida Southern (10-9, 2-4 SSC), No. 6 Florida Tech (7-12, 1-5 SSC), No. 7 Eckerd (4-11, 0-6 SSC).
The first-round matchups in the men's draw will all begin at 9 a.m. on Thursday, April 24. No. 2 Lynn will face No. 7 Eckerd for a spot in the semifinal round against the winner of No. 3 Rollins and No. 6 Florida Tech. On the other side of the bracket, No. 4 Saint Leo and No. 5 Florida Southern will play for a chance to play No. 1 Barry in the semifinal round. Both of the men's semifinal matches will be played at 9 a.m. on Friday, April 25. The men's final is set or 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 26.
Earning the top seed in the women's draw is top-ranked Barry. The Buccaneers (20-1, 8-0 SSC) also captured the first-ever SSC women's regular-season title. Barry is in search of its fifth-straight women's conference tournament crown.
The rest of the women's seeds are as follows: No. 2 Lynn (20-2, 7-1 SSC), No. 3 Saint Leo (17-4, 5-3), No. 4 Rollins (16-5, 5-3 SSC), No. 5 Florida Southern (16-5, 5-3 SSC), No. 6 Nova Southeastern (13-10, 3-5 SSC), No. 7 Tampa (11-7, 2-6 SSC), No. 8 Florida Tech (10-12, 1-7 SSC).
Florida Southern, Rollins and Saint Leo all finished their conference slate with a 5-3 record, and all three teams went 1-1 against the other two conference opponents. The next tiebreaking criteria after head-to-head is the position of each team in the most current NCAA or ITA South Region rankings. The most current rankings by the NCAA, as of April 16, positions Saint Leo third, Rollins fourth and Florida Southern fifth at this year's championship. The Lions currently rank No. 3 in the South Region, while Rollins ranks fourth and Florida Southern ranks sixth.
Three of the first-round matchups in the women's draw will begin at 11:30 a.m. with the fourth match scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 24. On one side of the bracket, No. 1 Barry will face No. 8 Florida Tech and No. 4 Rollins will take on No. 5 Florida Southern. Both matches will be played at 9 a.m. on the first day, and the winners will meet in the semifinal round on Friday, April 25 at 12:30 p.m.
The other side of the bracket will have No. 2 Lynn and No. 7 Tampa squaring off at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 24. The winner of that match will face the winner of No. 3 Saint Leo and No. 6 Nova Southeastern in the semifinal round on Friday, April 25 at 12:30 p.m. Saint Leo and Nova Southeastern are scheduled to play at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 24.
The women's final is set for Saturday, April 26 at 12:30 p.m.
The regionals will take place May 3-6 on campus sites to be determined, while the final site will be hosted by the Sunshine State Conference at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs May 14-17.
For the latest news, updates, and information on the Saint Leo men's and women's tennis teams, 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.