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Liberty Downed by Radford, 5-2, in Big South Contest
Shea Thomas won for the 14th time this season in singles play, but it was not enough, as the Radford Highlanders earned a 5-2 win against the Liberty Flames on Saturday at the Radford University Tennis Complex.
The Flames drop to 10-8 overall on the year and 3-4 in Big South Conference matches. With the victory, the Highlanders improve to 6-10 (3-3 Big South) on the season.
Liberty jumped out with a win in the first doubles match of the afternoon. In the No. 3 position, Siim Tuus and Guillem Secanell improved to 4-1 in Big South matches, with a tight 9-8 (7-5) victory against Radford's Randall Carter and Javier Waase.
The Highlanders bounced back to steal the doubles tally with wins in the No. 1 and No. 2 spots. Nicholas Sayer and Thomas Dehaen dealt Shea Thomas and Egon Samaai their first loss in four matches, downing the Flames' top tandem, 8-4. In the No. 2 position, Liberty's Jorge Azuero and Dillon Segur battled back-and-forth with Stijn Meulemans and Joe Mills before falling, 9-8 (7-2).
After Meulemans ousted Tuus, 6-3, 6-1, in the No. 1 singles position, Thomas cut Radford's lead to one, at 2-1, with a straight-set victory against Sayer, 6-4, 6-4. The win increased Thomas' single-season program record in singles wins to 25.
In the No. 4 spot, Azuero lost for just the second time in Big South singles matches, as Mills defeated the Liberty sophomore, 6-1, 6-3. Dehaen followed with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Segur to clinch the match for the Highlanders.
Samaai snapped his six-match losing streak by knocking off Carter in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3. In the No. 6 position, Secanell made just his third singles start of the season and fell to Waase, 7-5, 6-1.
"After an extremely hard-fought doubles point, we were unable to capitalize on our singles matches," commented Liberty assistant coach Ryan Fitzwilliam. "The conference is very evenly matched this year and we need to finish well against Coastal Carolina tomorrow."
Liberty concludes Big South competition tomorrow with a match against conference leader Coastal Carolina. The contest is slated to begin at 1 p.m. at the Hershey-Esbenshade Tennis Courts.
Radford 5, Liberty 2
1. Sayer/Dehaen (RU) def. Thomas/Samaai (LU) 8-4
2. Meulemans/Mills (RU) def. Segur/Azuero (LU), 9-8 (7-2)
3. Tuus/Secanell (LU) def. Carter/Waase (RU), 9-8 (7-5)
1. Meulemans (RU) def. Tuus (LU), 6-3, 6-1
2. Thomas (LU) def. Sayer (RU), 6-4, 6-4
3. Dehaen (RU) def. Segur (LU), 6-3, 6-3
4. Mills (RU) def. Azuero (LU), 6-1, 6-3
5. Samaai (LU) def. Carter (RU), 6-3, 6-3
6. Waase (RU) def. Secanell (LU), 7-5, 6-1