SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo women’s tennis team started its 2009 season on a sour note as they fell 6-3 to visiting #17 Florida Southern in a non-conference match at the SLU Tennis Complex on a frigid Thursday afternoon.

The Lions (0-1) looked to be in a great position after they finished their doubles competition, taking a 2-1 lead into the singles matches.  The Saint Leo duo of Lina Benkirane and Asmaa Tazi upset the 19th-ranked tandem of Senka Softic and Ashley Hungerford by an 8-2 final at No. 1 doubles. 

After FSC (1-0) tied it up with an 8-1 win at No. 2, the Lions got an 8-3 win at No. 3 doubles where Jeanette McDonald and Taylor Cleaves defeated the Mocs duo of Nora Baertschi and Amanda Carns.

The singles competition is where the Lions had their struggles.  After Southern’s Softic, ranked 17th in the nation, swept through No. 1 singles, Hungerford defeated SLU’s Tazi at No. 2 singles 6-3, 6-2. 

The Lions would drop No. 3-5 singles before picking up a straight-set win from Cleaves at No. 6, but the match was already in the books in favor of the Moccasins.

The Lions will try and rebound tomorrow as they head to Palm Beach Atlantic for a match with the Sailfish.  Things are set to get underway at 3:00 p.m. in West Palm Beach.