Women’s Tennis Shines on First Day of USTA/ITA South Region Championships

VALDOSTA, Ga. – The Saint Leo men's and women's tennis teams kicked-off their fall slate on Thursday as they competed in the 2011 USTA/ITA South Region  Championships in Valdosta, Ga.

Impressively, the Lions tallied 15 total wins between the two squads.

The men posted a 7-3 combined record between singles and doubles, while the women went an astounding 8-3.

For the women, Laura Kemkes posted the Lions initial win as she blew past Rollins' Mariana Salvador in straight sets, 6-4, 6-1. The sophomore advances to take on West Florida's Andrea Berkova on Friday at 8:30 a.m.

Selma Hidass followed with a consecutive set, 7-6, 6-1, win over Rollins' Callie Whitlock. She will be matched-up with Lynn's Iona Ivan on Friday at 10:00 a.m.

Maria Benkirane split for the Lions as she clipped Palm Beach Atlantic's Victoria Baca, 6-4, 2-6, 10-8, before being overturned by Valdosta State's Alina Nagel in straight sets.

Adrianna Daszkiewicz fell, 6-2, 6-1 to Lynn's Sabine Krause, but newcomer Emily Singleton out her best foot forward as she upset Lynn's Roxana Alexandru in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4. The junior is now scheduled to play Florida Tech's Kristina Huba on Friday at 8:30 a.m.

Jeanette McDonald added her name to the win column as she defeated Barry's Elizabeth Vargas in consecutive sets, 7-5, 6-4. She will take on Lynn's Ana Kriz on Friday at 10:00 a.m.

Phoebe DiLeo made quick work of West Alabama's Courtney McDonald winning, 6-2, 6-0. DiLeo now awaits a 10:00 a.m. match with Nova Southeastern's Dominique Wimmer on Friday.

On the doubles side, the Lions tandem of Benkirane and DiLeo easily defeated West Alabama's Natalia Cardenas, 8-2. The pair awaits the West Florida team of Shelia Smiley and Mariana Sonnervig. After Deszkiewicz and McDonald dropped a heartbreaker to Barry's Cristina Valledares and Caroline Wendling, 8-6, the Lions' final group of Kemkes and Singleton bounced the New Orleans tandem of Kristina Martic and Marta Sans, 8-3. The Lions' duo awaits the Rollins' pair of Ashley Rosenberg and Marianna Salvador in Friday afternoon's winner's bracket.

On the evening, Head Coach James Bryce stated, "It was great to get back on the court and watch the women compete again. We got off to a good start and have 5 girls in the main draw still. I'm particularly happy for Phoebe DiLeo, Emily Singleton, and Maria Benkirane for getting their first wins in a Lions' uniform."

The women will return to the court Friday, September 23, when they take part in second round and backdraw action from the Valdosta State Tennis Facility. For the latest news, information, and updates on both the women's tennis teams, visit SaintLeoLions.com.