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Liberty to Face Bluefield State Friday
The Liberty men's tennis team opens the month of February on Friday with its first dual match of the 2013 season against Bluefield State. The contest is slated to begin at 2 p.m. and will be played at the Greenbrier Resort in Sulphur Springs, W.Va.
Liberty finished the 2012 season with its second-highest win total in program history with 15 team victories, finishing with an overall mark of 15-8 (3-4 Big South). Despite graduating one of the most prolific senior classes in program history, the Flames do return four players who accounted for 44 of the team's 90 singles wins in 2012.
Siim Tuus headlines the group of returners for the Flames. The senior paced Liberty with 14 singles victories in 2012 and finished the season ranked No. 16 in the ITA's Atlantic Region. Also returning for the Flames are junior Shea Thomas and sophomores Jorge Azuero and Dillon Segur. Segur tallied 11 victories last season, while Thomas and Azuero racked up 10 and nine wins, respectively.
The Flames opened 2013 by competing in the Wake Forest Spring Invitational from Jan. 12-14. Liberty captured eight singles wins and four doubles victories at the tournament, which featured players from 19th-ranked Tennessee and 66th-ranked Wake Forest. Thomas paced the Flames with a pair of singles wins, while Tuus, Segur, Egon Samaai, Guillem Secanell and Stan Vaughan each picked up a win during singles play.
Friday's match versus Bluefield State will mark the third consecutive season that the Flames and Blues have squared off at the Greenbrier resort. It will be the fifth match all time between the two schools, with Liberty holding the 4-0 series lead. Last year, the Flames won in convincing fashion, 7-0.
Bluefield State was No. 36 in the ITA's Division II preseason rankings. The Blues return three players, Shikhar Kapur, Vlad Catlan and Piotr Kruk, who concluded the 2012 season ranked in the ITA's Division II Atlantic Region top 20.
Following Friday's match, Liberty returns to the court on Feb. 8 with its home opener against Bridgewater. The contest will be held at The Sports Racket beginning at 6 p.m. The Flames' originally scheduled home opener on Saturday versus Averett has been postponed.