SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo women’s tennis team (1-6) overpowered the University of Tampa Spartans (0-7), 7-2 as they registered their first victory of the 2009 season in front of their home fans at the SLU Tennis Center, Tuesday evening in non-conference play.

SLU entered the court Tuesday with one goal, to win. And with the thought of their first victory of the season in their head, Saint Leo quickly put Tampa in a 3-0 hole by sweeping doubles play. The No. 1 combo of Lina Benkirane and Asmaa Tazi pummeled the Spartans duo of Stark and Mancini, 8-0. While one court over, the outstanding play of the Lions’ Shaena Keefe and Jeanette McDonald dismantled the team of Kennedy and Runge by the same score. Bell and Wooten were the only Spartans to put points on the board for UT, but still fell to the No. 3 Lions’ pair of Gina Schifano and Taylor Cleaves, 8-4.

The excellent play didn’t stop there, as Benkirane defeated Arnold in straight sets 6-3, 6-2 in singles action. With the match 4-0 in favor of SLU, Keefe did the honors to solidify their first victory by defeating Runge in No. 2 singles 7 (3)-6, 6-1.

After Tazi retired in her match and McDonald fell in No. 4 singles action, Schifano put the Lions back on the winning track by defeating Garyn in the tiebreaker 6-2, 7-5. Cleaves put the finishing touches on the Lions triumphant day by beating Mancini in No. 6 singles 7-5, 1-0 (ret).

Women’s tennis has now defeated Tampa in three straight matches.

Saint Leo now prepares for a February 28 meeting with University of Penn. (Cali.) Saturday afternoon at the SLU Tennis Center. First serve is set for 11:00 am.