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Lady Flames Clipped by No. 69 New Mexico, 4-3

March 14, 2014
|  Denton, Texas
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Maria Khval (pictured) and Brittany Yang each picked up their eighth singles wins of the season on Friday against New Mexico.

The Liberty Lady Flames tennis team suffered its second consecutive narrow defeat on Friday, falling to No. 69 New Mexico, 4-3, in a neutral site match at North Texas' Waranch Tennis Complex.

With the loss, their fourth in a row, the Lady Flames' record drops to 7-6 overall and 0-4 versus current nationally ranked teams. The victory improves the Lobos' record to 9-5 overall.

New Mexco jumped out to a 1-0 advantage after tallying wins in the No. 1 and No. 2 doubles positions. Meredith Hopson and Natasha Smith defeated the Lady Flames' Brittany Yang and Belen Rivera, 8-2, before Misa Bezdickova and Lizette Blankers knocked off Liberty's Rebekah Jenkins and Maria Khval, 8-5. The No. 3 contest between the Lady Flames' Cameron Richard and Valerie Thong and the Lobos' Dominique Dulski and Emily Olivier was ruled unfinished with Liberty leading 7-6.

The Lobos extended their lead to 3-0 after collecting wins in the No. 4 and No. 1 singles positions. Smith ousted the Lady Flames' Mariely Hassey, 6-3, 6-2, while Bezdickova downed Jenkins, 6-2, 6-2.

Nicola Wellman put Liberty on the scoreboard with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Olivier in the No. 6 spot. The win improves Wellman's record to 7-4 this season.

New Mexico clinched the match with a triumph at No. 5, when Dulski beat Rivear, 6-4, 7-5.

The Lady Flames closed the contest strong, winning the final two matches. Yang and Khval each picked up their team-leading eighth victories of the season in the No. 3 and No. 2 positions, respectively. Yang came from behind to defeat Hopson, 2-6, 7-6 (2), 10-8, before Khval earned a win against Blankers, 6-1, 1-6, 10-4.

"We definitely improved from our last match, but we still need to work on our execution," state Liberty head coach Jeff Maren. "New Mexico is a great team and well coached, so I feel good about our overall performance against them. However, we still need to find a way to get over the hump with ranked teams. We're 0-4 now against this elite group and it's the ‘little things' that are going to help us get that breakthrough."

Liberty closes its spring break trip to Texas with a match versus No. 67 North Texas tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. (EDT).

No. 69 New Mexico 4, Liberty 3
1. Misa Bezdickova/Lizette Blankers (UNM) def. Rebekah Jenkins/Maria Khval (LU), 8-5
2. Meredith Hopson/Natasha Smith (UNM) def. Brittany Yang/Belen Rivera (LU), 8-2
3. Cameron Richard/Valerie Thong (LU) vs. Dominique Dulski/Emily Olivier (UNM), 7-6 DNF

1. Misa Bezdickova (UNM) def. Rebekah Jenkins (LU), 6-2, 6-2
2. Maria Khval (LU) def. Lizette Blankers (UNM), 6-1, 1-6, 1-0 (10-4)
3. Brittany Yang (LU) def. Meredith Hopson (UNM), 2-6, 7-6 (2), 1-0 (10-8)
4. Natasha Smith (UNM) def. Mariely Hassey (LU), 6-3, 6-2
5. Dominique Dulski (UNM) def. Belen Rivera (LU), 6-4, 7-5
6. Nicola Wellman (LU) def. Emily Olivier (UNM), 6-4, 6-2