Mar 3, 2009

Men's Tennis: Flames wash away Spiders

by BJ Williams

The Liberty Flames men’s tennis team picked up its second consecutive win last Tuesday afternoon, defeating the Richmond Spiders 4-3.

Juniors Clay Cypert and Louis Steyn both picked up a pair of wins on the day. Paired with freshman Giancarlo Lemmi, Cypert won first at No. 1 doubles and defeated Sami Belakhlef at No. 1 singles in straight sets, 6-1, 6-1.

Steyn’s strong showing was highlighted by his two victories, as the junior recorded a 6-0, 6-3 win over Will Minter in singles action before he and junior Juan Reyes downed Rafa Arana and A.J. Nelson, 8-1, in No. 3 doubles play.

Junior Chad Simpson atoned for an earlier loss at No. 2 doubles by picking up the match-clinching victory for Liberty at No. 3 singles as he defeated Arana 6-1, 6-3.

“I was disappointed with the end result of my doubles match, but I knew I couldn’t let the past affect my singles. I had to put it behind me and live in the moment of my singles match,” Simpson said.

Head Coach Chris Johnson is pleased with his squad’s play thus far in the season.

“We have been working on the type of focus it takes to close matches. Closing the doubles point in this match was actually the key as we split the singles,” Johnson said.

With an overall record of 6-3 thus far, the Flames have shown a definite turnaround this year after struggling early in previous seasons. In 2007-2008, Johnson’s first year at the helm, the men won more matches (8) than in the previous two seasons combined.

“I’m really proud of the guys. They continue to stay focused on the goals we set at the beginning of the year no matter the circumstances,” Johnson said.

The Flames were well on their way to a solid season heading into this weekend’s conference-opening matchup with Coastal Carolina. However, the match, which had been scheduled to be played at E.C. Glass High School, was postponed due to inclement weather and has been re-scheduled for March 27.

The Lady Flames were also set to be in action on Saturday against Coastal Carolina but they must wait until March 27, when they will try to avenge a 4-0 loss in the 2008 Big South Tennis Championships, the last time the two squads met.

The Lady Flames return to action March 3 against Longwood. The match will be their first in 11 days after a 6-1 win on the road against Appalachian State. The men will return to the courts next Wednesday, March 3 when they head up 460-East for a match with the Longwood Lancers.

Contact BJ Williams at
bjwilliams@liberty.edu.

 


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