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Lady Flames Battle Radford, Tomorrow
The Liberty women's tennis squad returns to action tomorrow when the Lady Flames (6-8, 2-0 BSC) take on Radford (1-8, 1-3 BSC) at 2 p.m., in Radford, Va. Liberty holds a commanding 11-7 advantage over the Highlanders in the all-time series, having won the previous five matches. The Lady Flames are 3-0 against Radford under head coach Jeff Maren's tutelage, including the most recent 6-1 victory over the Highlanders on April 1, 2015.
The Lady Flames are fresh off of a West Coast trip in which Liberty posted a 1-2 record in Palm Springs, Calif. The Lady Flames dropped back-to-back heartbreakers to Boston University on Tuesday (4-3) and Gonzaga on Thursday (4-3). However, Liberty rebounded with a convincing 6-1 victory over Toledo in the second game of Thursday's doubleheader to close the California trip with a win and improve to 6-8 overall.
Liberty is led in singles by Maria Khval and Evangeline Crist, who have each posted an 8-5 overall mark this season. The Lady Flames' strong suit this spring has been the action in doubles play, as Liberty is 29-11 (.725) heading into tomorrow's match. Liberty has claimed eight consecutive doubles points, and 10 in the Lady Flames' last 11 matches. Crist and Valerie Thong are the first Lady Flames to reach the double-digit wins plateau this spring, posting a 10-3 overall mark together. The Liberty duo of Anna Dollar and Maria Khval have earned a 9-4 doubles record thus far in the spring.
Scouting the Competition
Radford enters tomorrow's match with a 1-8 overall record, including a 1-3 mark in conference play. The Highlanders most recently snapped an eight-match losing skid on Saturday after they defeated Presbyterian by a score of 5-2 in Clinton, S.C. Tarrannum Handa and Meili Martin lead the way in singles action with eight wins while Natalie Sayer leads the team in doubles action with nine victories.
Khval and Rivera continue to climb up the program's all-time singles wins ladder. The duo have each collected 55 wins in singles play, tying Jonita Randolph for fifth-most singles wins in program history. Both Rivera and Khval need one win to pass Randolph and three wins to pass Hannah Fick and climb further into the top five.
Thong became Liberty's all-time doubles leader in Liberty's 6-1 victory over Campbell on March 3, after the senior notched her 79th career doubles victory, passing Jordan Jenkins. Thong has accounted for 21 doubles victories this season, tied with Crist, and 83 overall. Thong and Crist have notched 19 victories as a duo this season, ranking third in program history for the most team wins in a single season, only three wins behind last year's 22-win performance for the fantastic duo.
Crist has also accounted for 21 doubles victories overall this season. The Georgia native currently holds the program record of 27 doubles wins in a single season, set in 2015.
Following tomorrow's contest, the Lady Flames will return to action this weekend with conference matches against Gardner-Webb on Friday (2 p.m.) and Winthrop on Saturday (10 a.m.). Friday's contest will serve as Senior Day while Saturday's match will be the home finale for the 2016 regular season.