LAKELAND, Fla. – Riding a doubles sweep of Florida Tech (16-7 ), including a come-from-behind win from the Lions' top doubles pair, the Saint Leo women's tennis team (17-5) advanced to the semifinal round of the Sunshine State Conference Tournament defeating the Panthers, 5-1, Friday morning from the Beerman Tennis Complex.
A competitive doubles session, the Lions used a pair of 9-7 victories to help down their in-region foe.
The Lions second-flight tandem of Adrianna Daszkiewicz and Jeanette McDonald set the tone early as they bounced Abigail Greif and Stephanie Dohner, 8-3. The next match to finish, however, proved to be the most exciting of the day as the Lions' top pair of Laura Kemkes and Emily Singleton rallied from a 7-4 deficit to defeat the No.12-ranked team of Katarina Huba and Kristina Huba, 9-7. The five-point rally is the pair's largest of the season. Maria Benkirane and Selma Hidass wrapped-up the sweep as they out-endured the Panthers' team of Monica Price and Abbey Keister, 9-7, at three-flight.
Kemkes, Saint Leo's No.13-ranked and top-flight singles competitor, kept the momentum going into singles as she made quick work of the No.19-ranked Katarina Huba, 6-0, 6-1. After Florida Tech secured its first point of the match, the Lions wrapped-up the win as Maria Benkirane shutout Dohner in straight-sets, 6-0, 6-0.
It's the eighth-consecutive Division II win for the Lions.
Saint Leo will return to the courts for a second time on Friday afternoon when they take on Lynn University at 2:30 p.m. from the Beerman Tennis Complex.
For more on the nationally-ranked women's tennis team, visit SaintLeoLions.com.