Apr 27, 2010

Flames fall in first round of Big South Tournament

by Peter Sawyer


An otherwise good season for the Liberty Men’s Tennis team came to an abrupt end last Thursday as the fifth seeded Gardner-Webb Bulldogs beat the Flames 4-2 in the first round of the Big South Tournament.

Liberty beat Gardner-Webb in a close match the previous weekend to close the regular season and was seeded fourth in the tournament.

“They really came out fired up and hungry to get revenge on us,” Liberty senior Chad Simpson said.

The Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead early by winning two of the three doubles matches.  The Liberty doubles pairing of seniors Juan Reyes and Louis Steyn won their match to finish the season with a record of 12-1.

Steyn defeated Jeremie Tardif in the No. 5 singles match and Flames freshman Tristan Stayt defeated Andrew Veeder in the No. 2 singles match to give the Flames their only lead of the day, 2-1.

Evgeny Slevarev defeated Flames freshman Siim Tuus in the No. 1 match. Adam Knutsson-Sundblad defeated Reyes in the No. 6 match, and Rafael Altmayer clinched the win for the Bulldogs by defeating Flames sophomore Giancarlo Lemmi in the No. 3 match.  Simpson’s match against Roman Piftor went unfinished and the Bulldogs won 4-2.

“The teams were very evenly matched but they just came out with the win,” Simpson said. “They just played with a little extra energy and hunger to win.” 

The Flames finished the season with a 12-10 record, playing against some tough competition.

“We beat a team that was ranked in the top 50 earlier in the season,” Simpson said, “Siim beat two ranked players at the top of the lineup.”

“This was one of the best seasons in Liberty history,” Simpson said, “This was definitely the best team we have had since I have been to Liberty.  I have great memories and really loved my four years here.”

Gardner-Webb moved to the semifinal round to play Radford. Radford defeated Gardner-Webb 4-0 and advanced to play Winthrop in the Big South Finals, where the Highlanders fell to Winthrop 4-3.


Contact Peter Sawyer at 


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