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Women's Tennis Registers Strong Showing at Liberty Fall Classic

September 14, 2013
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Freshman Maria Khval earned a singles title in the Flight 1 bracket for the Lady Flames.

Four singles flight titles and one doubles title highlighted play for the Liberty Lady Flames tennis squad in its season-opening appearance in the Liberty Fall Classic. Overall, Liberty posted 23 singles victories and 11 doubles wins over the course of the two-day event at the Hershey-Esbenshade Tennis Courts.

Senior Annisha Domenech notched a singles title for the Lady Flames, as did newcomers Maria Khval, Belen Rivera and Mariely Hassey. In doubles play, Hassey and sophomore Valerie Thong earned a doubles title in Flight 2.

Flight 1 singles action saw Khval collect a pair of straight-set wins in her first two matches, downing Jodi Noland of Christopher Newport and Alex Huie of James Madison. In the title match, Khval earned a hard-fought victory in the first set, 7-5, before routing James Madison's Taylor Pinchoff, 6-0, to claim the title.

In Flight 2, Rivera and Rebekah Jenkins recorded a pair of straight-set wins each, setting up a showdown between the two teammates in the final match. Rivera knocked off Jenkins, 6-4, 6-0, to claim her first tournament title as a Lady Flame.

Hassey opened her collegiate career with  back-to-back 6-0, 6-0 victories against Diana Cotoros of West Virginia State and Logan Eldridge of Christopher Newport in Flight 3. The freshman advanced to face teammate Nicola Wellman in the title contest. Wellman bounced Radford's Gisela Garcia, 6-4, 6-1, before downing Paloma Alatorre of Longwood, 6-1, 6-4, to reach the final match. Hassey collected the victory, defeating Wellman, 6-3, 6-4.

Domenech began the tournament with a come-from-behind 4-6, 6-4, 10-8 victory against Virginia Tech's Laura Ramthun. The senior then bounced Nadia Grlj of West Virginia State, 6-1, 6-0, before earning a hard-fought title win against James Madison's Cara Wirth, 6-2, 0-6, 10-8.

Liberty's Cameron Richard, Valerie Thong, Brittany Yang and Lauren Mabe each finished the tournament with two wins apiece.

In doubles play, Hassey and Thong registered the Lady Flames' lone doubles title of the afternoon, going 3-0 in Flight 2. The duo downed Bethany Law and Sarah Moomau of Longwood, 8-4, before ousting Christopher Newport's Katie Carlson and Logan Eldridge, 8-2. In the title contest, Hassey and Thong knocked off teammates Richard and Wellman, 8-4.

Liberty's remaining doubles tandems of Rivera/Yang, Domenech/Mabe and Jenkins/Khval each recorded two victories during the tournament.

"Our first tournament of the year was a success," commented Liberty head coach Jeff Maren. "We were able to get some of the rust out of our games and improve some of our weak areas.  I believe that we are improving daily and are looking forward to our next tournament at Virginia Tech in two weeks."

Liberty opens play at the Hokie Fall Invite on Sept. 27 and will conclude play in Blacksburg on Sept. 29.