MIAMI SHORES, Fla. – The No.15-ranked Saint Leo women's tennis team (18-7) made program history as they downed the No.4 seeded and twelfth-ranked Rollins College Tars (13-11), 5-0, Tuesday afternoon from the Buccaneer Tennis Center in Miami Shores.
The program's first-ever NCAA Tournament win advances the Lions to play top-seeded Barry University at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 2, from the Buccaneer Tennis Center. Infact, it is the Lions first-ever victory against the Tars.
"The women played great tennis today," said Head Tennis Coach James Bryce. "We displayed resiliency and patience at doubles and that momentum carried over into a strong singles effort. It was a great all-around team win."
Dominating from the onset, Saint Leo went through doubles unblemished, before taking a pair of singles wins in consecutive sets.
Adrianna Daszkiewicz and Jeanette McDonald got the ball rolling for the Lions as they paced the Tars' No.2 slotted team, 8-4. Battling back from a 3-1 deficit at No.1 doubles, Saint Leo's eighth-ranked team of Laura Kemkes and Emily Singleton surged past their foes for an 8-6 win. The Lions' three-flight tandem of Maria Benkirane and Selma Hidass capped off the sweep as they proved victorious in a back-and-forth struggle with Callie Whitlock and Elissa DeCampli, 8-6.
Needing only two more points to seal the win, Kemkes quickly put the Tars in a nearly insurmountable hole as she dropped Lisa Loft at top-flight singles in consecutive sets, 6-1, 6-0. Senior Jeanette McDonald provided the match point as she overpowered Whitlock at No. 4 singles, 6-4, 6-1.
At the conclusion of the match, the Lions were up one set at two, three, and five singles.
The victory avenges a 5-4 loss to the Tars in the third-place match in the 2012 Sunshine State Conference Tournament in March.
The Lions had made one previous trip to the NCAA Tournament, 2007, losing in the first round to the Barry. Saint Leo will look to avenge that loss as they will face the No.1 seeded Buccaneers on Wednesday.
For more on the nationally-ranked women's tennis squad, visit SaintLeoLions.com.