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Bottom of the Lineup Delivers in Women's Tennis Win at Coastal Carolina

March 1, 2014
|  Conway, S.C.
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Nicola Wellman delivered the clinching singles win on Saturday against Coastal.

Singles victories in the No. 4, 5 and 6 positions helped propel the Liberty women's tennis team to a 4-3 victory over the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers on Saturday afternoon at the Billy Nichols Tennis Center.

The Lady Flames' fourth win in a row extends their record-setting start to the season to 7-2 overall and 2-0 in Big South contests. Liberty has now won each of the last three meetings against the Chanticleers. Coastal suffers just its second loss of the season and falls to 8-2 overall and 0-1 in Big South play.

For the third consecutive match, the Lady Flames opened play by securing the doubles tally, remaining undefeated this season when winning the doubles point. Rebekah Jenkins and Maria Khval improved to a team-best 5-1 with an 8-5 win over Kourtney Kowal and Honami Yazawa in the No. 1 position. After the Chanticleers' picked up a win at No. 3, Liberty secured the point with an 8-5 victory from Belen Rivera and Brittany Yang against Amanda Malatek and Marie Babayan.

Coastal quickly knotted the match at one apiece when Kowal knocked off Jenkins in the top spot, 6-3, 6-1.

Rivera put the visitors back in front with a 6-4, 6-4 victory at No. 4 against Romane Delay. The win upped the sophomore's record to 6-2 overall and 4-1 when playing in the No. 4 position.

The Chanticleers evened the match at 2-2 with a win at No. 3 from Yazawa against Liberty's Mariely Hassey.

The Lady Flames turned to a pair of upperclassmen to help swing the momentum back in their favor. Yang notched Liberty's third point with her fifth win of the season, a 7-5, 6-3 ousting of Malatek in the No. 6 position. At No. 5, Nicola Wellman clinched the victory for the Lady Flames by defeating Babayan, 7-6 (2), 6-2, to improve to 6-1 on the season.

Coastal's third point came when Libby Scott outlasted Khval in the No. 2 spot, 7-6 (4), 6-3.

"We haven't quite figured out how all of us can play well at the same time, but the good news is that we've had different girls step up and find a way to win when we needed them the most," commented Liberty head coach Jeff Maren. "Coastal is a very good, well-coached team, and so I am happy that we were able to escape with a win today."

Liberty looks to extend its winning streak to five matches tomorrow when it faces Charleston Southern. Match time versus the Buccaneers is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Liberty 4, Coastal Carolina 3
1. Rebekah Jenkins/Maria Khval (LU) def. Kourtney Kowal/Honami Yazawa (CCU), 8-5  
2. Belen Rivera/Brittany Yang (LU) def. Amanda Malatek/Marie Babayan (CCU), 8-5   
3. Libby Scott/Dominique De Wit (CCU) def. Mariely Hassey/Valerie Thong (LU), 8-4   

1. Kourtney Kowal (CCU) def. Rebekah Jenkins (LU), 6-3, 6-1  
2. Libby Scott (CCU) def. Maria Khval (LU), 7-6 (4), 6-3           
3. Honami Yazawa (CCU) def. Mariely Hassey (LU), 6-4, 6-3   
4. Belen Rivera (LU) def. Romane Delay (CCU), 6-4, 6-4       
5. Nicola Wellman (LU) def. Marie Babayan (CCU), 7-6 (2), 6-2          
6. Brittany Yang (LU) def. Amanda Malatek (CCU), 7-5, 6-3