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Women's Tennis Wraps Up Play at ITA Atlantic Regional

October 20, 2013
|  Charlottesville, Va.
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Valerie Thong (pictured) and Brittany Yang reached the round of 16 in the main doubles draw this past weekend.

A winning doubles record, including an appearance in the round of 16 by Valerie Thong and Brittany Yang, highlighted play for the Liberty Lady Flames tennis squad this weekend at the ITA Atlantic Regional tournament at the Snyder Tennis Center.

The Lady Flames' doubles tandems of Thong and Yang, Maria Khval and Belen Rivera and Mariely Hassey and Rebekah Jenkins each won their first round matches in the main doubles draw and posted a combined four victories during the tournament.

Thong and Yang opened doubles play by doubling up Pittsburgh's Amanda and Molly Wickman, 8-4. The Liberty duo then posted an impressive 8-6 win over William & Mary's No. 2 tandem of Nabila Farah and Leeza Nemchinov. Thong and Yang's run was ended in the round of 16 by Virginia's Maci Epstein and Caryssa Peretz, 8-1.

Khval and Rivera notched a tough first-round 8-6 win against Big Ten opponents Marie Bedard and Carmen Sandor of Penn State. After defeating the Nittany Lions' No. 2 pair, Khval and Rivera nearly upset the seeded Marshall duo of Dana Oppinger and Karli Timko. The Herd's No. 1 tandem outlasted Khval and Rivera 8-7 (5).

Liberty's remaining doubles duo of Hassey and Jenkins also grabbed a first-round win, downing Saint Joseph's Kristina Eisenbrand and Aurora Davis, 8-5. Jenkins and Hassey fell, 8-4, in the second round to the seeded pair of Melissa Esnal Olguin and Nikol Hristova of Old Dominion.

In singles play, Liberty had four players, Khval, Rivera, Hassey and Jenkins, compete in the main draw. Hassey tallied a pair of wins in the qualifying rounds, earning her way into the main singles draw. The freshman ousted Taylor Nederlander of George Washington, 6-0, 7-5, before rolling past conference rival Gemma Valls of Radford, 6-3, 6-0. Hassey nearly made it three-for-three, but was edged in three sets by Kelly Williford of Virginia Tech, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (1). Hassey had a pair of match points at 6-5 in the third set, but couldn't finish off the Hokies' No. 3 player.

Jenkins had the Lady Flames' remaining singles win during the tournament. The senior ousted William & Mary's Julia Casselbury in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4. 

"Seven entries in the main draw of singles and doubles is something to be proud of," commented Liberty head coach Jeff Maren. "Winning doubles matches against ranked opponents is also an encouraging sign. We are definitely moving in the right direction and are now knocking on the door of the more established teams. It's an exciting time for Liberty women's tennis."

The Lady Flames will conclude their fall schedule next weekend at the FIU Invite. The tournament will get under way on Nov. 1 and will wrap up on Nov. 3.