Lions wrap up play at the USTA/ITA Small College National Championships

Lions wrap up play at the  USTA/ITA Small College National Championships

SUMTER, S.C. - The Saint Leo tennis program made history as they sent both the male and female representatives for the South Region to the USTA/ITA Small College National Championships this weekend, and Freshman Natalia Siedliska made her way to the Division II Championship match. However, the Lions fell just short of creating another moment of history, Siedliska was topped by Alejandra Cisneros of Armstrong State in a hard-fought battle, while Alberto Barroso-Campos ended the tournament on a win with the third-place title.

Siedliska took the opener in commanding fashion as she topped the No. 1 seed Cisneros, who held the No. 1 spot in singles on the 2015 NCAA National Champion team, and finished the 2015 season as the No. 2 player in the Division II ITA rankings, 6-0. Cisneros returned the favor, taking the second, 6-2, forcing the third and deciding set for who would be named the Division II Small College National Champion. The two battled hard into the third set, fighting tooth and nail, but ultimately, Cisneros took the advantage and topped Siedliska, 6-4, in the third.

"Natalia came out on fire," said head coach Chris Frusci. "She played the best tennis I've ever seen at this level. I'm not sure Alejandra was ready for that but she showed why she's so good. It was a battle to the end and the quality of tennis was unbelievable. I'm proud of Natalia for having a great tournament and representing us in such fashion. It was a match that could have gone either way but it's a great learning experience moving forward."

Barroso-Campos represented Saint Leo in the Third Place Match on Saturday afternoon, and despite falling 6-4 in the opening set to Max Hepp of Drury, the freshman fought his way out of the deficit, and took the match with a 6-3 second set victory, and a 6-4 set three win.

"For Alberto, it's always tough playing consolation matches because it's not as motivating but he kept a great attitude. His opponent played very well and wanted the match badly but Alberto's resiliency was the difference. He had an unbelievable fall season, especially as a freshman. I'm excited to see how much he will help us during dual match competition in the spring."

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