Reporting by Bradley Bee
In May, the Lions Athletics program accomplished a remarkable feat as the men’s and women’s tennis teams and the men’s and women’s golf teams all earned trips to the NCAA Division II National Championship Festival in Denver, CO. Representation by four teams was the most by any Division II school—and what a run they had.
Women’s Tennis— National Semifinalists
The No.2 Saint Leo women’s tennis team took care of business as it defeated No. 24 University of Indianapolis, 5-1, after three quick wins in singles play.
The women’s tennis team was headed to the NCAA Semifinals after a 5-1 victory over No. 18 Southwest Baptist University.
A matchup of the top two teams in the nation proved to be as riveting in person as it was on paper in the NCAA Semifinals as the No. 2 Saint Leo women’s tennis team fell to undefeated No. 1 BYU-Hawaii, 5-3, in a battle of the best.
Men’s Tennis—National Runners-Up
The No. 1-ranked Saint Leo men’s tennis team took down No. 15 Cameron University (OK),
The men’s tennis team swept No. 12 Northwest Missouri State, 5-0, in its first-ever NCAA Quarterfinals match.
The team headed to its first NCAA National Championship match after taking down No. 2 Armstrong State (GA), 5-2, in the National Semifinal match.
The dream season came to an end when the No. 1 Saint Leo men’s tennis team fell to No. 3 Hawaii Pacific, 5-3, in the NCAA Men’s Tennis Championship match.
Women’s Golf—Fourth-Place Finishers
The Saint Leo women’s golf team finished the first round 10th out of 12 teams with a 305 (+17), 15 strokes out of the lead.
The women’s golf team fired a 294 in the second round, climbing to fifth on the team leaderboard at the tournament’s halfway point.
Saint Leo slipped to seventh on the team leaderboard with a three-day score of 896 (+32)—25 strokes off the pace set by leader Rollins College (FL).
Saint Leo women’s golf climbed three spots in Saturday’s final round to finish tied for fourth at the 2016 NCAA Division II Women’s Golf National Championship.
Men’s Golf—National Champions
With cold and rainy conditions in the first round, the Saint Leo men’s golf team shot a 278 (-10) to head into the second round in first place.
Saint Leo men’s golf carded a 15-under 273 in the second round to extend its team lead to 11 strokes.
The men’s golf team was atop both the individual and team leaderboards at the completion of stroke play. Freshman Hugo Bernard shot an even-par 72 and finished stroke play at -13 (203) to win the NCAA Division II individual championship.
No. 2-ranked Saint Leo defeated Wilmington (DE) in the medal/match quarterfinals in the morning, before knocking off Lynn (FL) in the afternoon semifinals on the match play tiebreaker. After 90 holes of golf, the top two teams in the nation advanced out of the semifinals and headed to the national championship.
The Lions men’s golf team pulled it off and made history. The Lions used a 3-2 score in match play to take down Chico State (CA) and claim Saint Leo University’s first ever team national championship.
Head Men’s Golf Coach Chris Greenwood was named the 2016 Dave Williams Division II National Coach of the Year.
Bradley Bee is a director of Athletics Communications and traveled with the teams to Denver.