#1 Men's tennis makes history, wins first-ever SSC tournament

#1 Men's tennis makes history, wins first-ever SSC tournament

TAMPA, Fla. – On Saturday afternoon, the No. 1 Saint Leo men's tennis team made history as they took down No. 9 Lynn University in the Sunshine State Conference tournament championship match, 5-0.

The Lions are now 22-1 and have both a SSC regular season title and a SSC Tournament title in their possession for the first time in school history.

"It definitely special," remarked Head Coach Chris Frusci after the win. "Winning regular season meant the three months we put in were worth it, and in the conference tournament, we played our best tennis of the year. It was two 5-0 performances to take the title. Hopefully we can take that into the NCAA's next weekend. We are riding high right now, and that is the most important thing going into tournament play."

The Lions opened up with an impressive sweep of doubles that started with Egor Panyushkin and Jaime Bueno sweeping Daniel Riggs and Jean Baptist Mateo, 8-0 at No. 2 doubles.

Alex Theiler and Alberto Barroso-Campos followed with an 8-3 take down at No. 1's over Pavel Mojha and Ethan Itzkovitz.

In a battle at No. 3 doubles, Francisco Aparicio and Oskar Nurmio fought back to keep the match tied at 4-4, and continued to go back and forth with Mehdi Laalej and Joe Porifio, before taking it to a 6-6 tie. From there the duo was able to score back-to-back points for the win, 8-6.

In singles, Bueno, who clinched in the semis, opened with the fourth point for the Lions at No. 4 singles. He was up 5-1 in the first set before Mateo battled to make the set 5-4. Bueno was able to take the set, 6-4. He followed it up with a dominating performance, winning the second set, 6-0, to earn the point.

The fifth and deciding point was won at No. 1's by Barroso-Campos. The freshman opened with a 6-3 win in the first. In the second, Barroso-Campos went down, 4-3, to Riggs but was able to break serve and jump to a 5-4 advantage. On match point, Barroso-Campos battled with Riggs, but it was not enough from the Lynn player, and Barroso-Campos took the point, and clinched the match for the Lions.

"Normally we have one or two let-ups, not all nine guys are focused every day, but that fact we were able to put together two back-to-back performances like that, and at this point in the season, I think that matters the most. Everyone was locked in, and that is extremely important. We solidified our line-up as well. It was good timing, took us a while to solidify it, but we are going to go with it now. The guys are playing very well and they are confident."

The Saint Leo men's tennis team will find out their NCAA tournament match-up on Tuesday, May 3 at 8 p.m. when the NCAA announces the bracket. The team will be having a "Selection Show" for both the men's and women's teams in Classroom 2 in the Marion Bowman Activities Center. Fans are welcome to attend.

For more information on the Saint Leo men's tennis program, visit SaintLeoLions.com.  Fans can also stay up-to-date on the latest Lions news by following Saint Leo Athletics on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.