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Lady Flames Climb Past Mountaineers
The Liberty Lady Flames tennis squad came from behind three times, en route to the 4-3 victory over West Virginia on Friday at the Sports Racket. The biggest comeback was delivered by junior Lauren Mabe, competing in her first spring match of the season.
With the victory, Liberty improves to .500 on the season with a 3-3 record. Meanwhile, West Virginia falls to 3-2.
The Mountaineers claimed the doubles point, winning two out of the three matches. Hailey Barrett and Habiba Shkaer claimed the No. 1 doubles match for the Mountaineers, after trailing early, 2-1. Kaja Mrgole and Lyn Yuen Choo had a similar story in the No. 3 doubles position for West Virginia, coming from behind to clinch the doubles point.
Liberty claimed a 2-1 lead following consecutive singles victories from the No. 1 and No. 3 singles slots. Evangeline Crist first evened the match for Liberty with a straight-set victory from the No. 3 position, 6-3, 6-4, over Goetz.
Shortly after Crist's triumph, Khval delivered the go-ahead victory from the No. 1 singles position in straight sets. Khval downed Barrett 6-4 in the first set and needed the tiebreaker game in the second set to defeat the lone West Virginia senior, 7-6(7-2).
The Mountaineers captured the equalizer in the No. 2 singles slot when Shkaer defeated Belen Rivera in three sets. Rivera defeated Shkaer in the first set, 6-3, but eventually fell to the Egypt native in the second and third sets, 6-2, 6-0.
West Virginia reclaimed the lead at the No. 4 singles position when Lewis downed Dollar in three sets. Lewis claimed the first and third sets, winning in a tiebreaker in each set, 7-6(7-4), 7-6(7-5) sandwiched around a 6-1 loss in the second frame.
Emily Groeneveld provided the Lady Flames with the crucial equalizer from the No. 5 singles position, tying the contest at 3-3 with one match remaining. Groeneveld bested Mrgole in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4 to make the finals singles match, winner-take-all.
With the contest all square, Mabe delivered the knockout blow to the Mountaineers, defeating Choo in three sets. The Kansas native claimed the first set, 6-4, before falling by a score of 6-0 in the second frame. Mabe and Choo battled back-and-forth to a 6-6 tie in the third set, before Mabe brought home the victory for Liberty. Down 6-4 in the tiebreaker, Mabe fought off two straight match points to even the tiebreaker at 6-6. Mabe followed by taking the next two points to notch four unanswered points and win the tiebreaker 8-6, and the match 6-4, 0-6, 7-6(6).
The Lady Flames return to action next weekend on Feb. 19 and Feb. 21, both contests being played at the Sports Racket. Liberty will first take on VCU at 2 p.m., followed by North Texas two days later at noon.
Liberty 4, West Virginia 3
- Barrett/Shkaer (WVU) def. Crist/Thong (LU), 6-1
- Khval/Dollar (LU) def. Goetz/Lewis (WVU), 6-2
- Mrgole/Choo (WVU) def. Anderson/Panchenko (LU), 6-4
- Khval (LU) def. Barrett (WVU), 6-4, 7-6(2)
- Shkaer (WVU) def. Rivera (LU), 3-6, 6-2, 6-0
- Crist (LU) def. Goetz (WVU), 6-3, 6-4
- Lewis (WVU) def. Dollar (LU), 7-6(4), 1-6, 7-6(5)
- Groeneveld (LU) def. Mrgole (WVU), 6-3, 6-4
- Mabe (LU) def. Choo (WVU), 6-4, 0-6, 7-6(6)