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Double splash in first SSC tourney

The Sunshine State Conference athletic directors and coaches could not have selected a better time to begin men's and women's tournaments featuring its eight schools.

That decision resulted in today's first-round games hosted by Saint Leo.

The Saint Leo women face Florida Tech at noon and the Lions men's team play Tampa at 2:30 p.m.

"I'm really glad that we've gone to a conference tournament," said Saint Leo athletic director and men's coach Fran Reidy. "It's provided, at least at our place, everything we hoped for."

There also are conference tournaments for men's and women's basketball, golf, tennis and cross country. Reidy said conference ADs are considering tourneys for baseball, softball and volleyball.

The fourth-year Saint Leo women's team (11-5-2, 5-2-0) is seeded third, a reward for the best season in its brief history.

The Lions concluded the regular season with Saturday's 5-0 win against Rollins. Casie Poyssick (Land O'Lakes) scored twice to tie a single-season conference record with 26 goals. Lynn's Jannie Nicolaisen set the mark in 1998.

"The truth is, she makes it look so simple," Saint Leo coach Tony Paris said of Poyssick, the nation's leading goal-scorer in Division II. "She's phenomenal."

The freshman forward earned SSC offensive player of the week for the fourth time. She was named the conference's female athlete of the month in September.

Poyssick also has five assists for 57 points, third on the SSC single-season list.

Kristin Stephens, Sarah Wright and Helen Brady also scored against Rollins to back goalkeeper Amber Ferrol's fifth shutout.

The Saint Leo men had to get a win and a tie to host a first-round game. The Lions tied Florida Southern 1-1 Wednesday and clinched homefield with Saturday's 1-0 defeat of Tampa.

That marked the first win for Reidy against Tampa in 16 games. That includes Tampa's conference championship wins over Saint Leo in 1996 and '97.

Paul Reynolds scored in the 72nd minute against Tampa for his second goal of the season and keeper Matias Perez, the SSC defensive player of the week, earned his third shutout. He had 14 saves and posted a 0.45 goals-against average in two games last week.


TEAMS: Women _ No. 3 Saint Leo (11-5-2, 5-2-0) vs. No. 6 Florida Tech (7-11-0, 2-5-0). Men _ No. 4 Saint Leo (7-9-3, 3-3-1) vs. No. 5 Tampa (9-6-3, 2-3-2).

AT STAKE: A berth in Friday's semifinals with winners advancing to Sunday's finals. The highest seeds to win host the next two rounds.