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Liberty Comes from Behind to Defeat UNC Asheville, 4-3
Trailing 3-2, the Liberty Flames tennis team collected wins in the final two matches of the afternoon to defeat Big South foe UNC Asheville, 4-3, at the Asheville Raquet Club.
"Any win down at Asheville is a great win," commented Liberty head coach Chris Johnson. "These guys just keep finding a way to win. I'm very proud of them."
With their fifth win in a row, the Flames improve to 8-1 (2-0 Big South) for the first time in program history. Asheville falls to 5-4 (0-1 Big South) with the loss.
Liberty took two out of three matches in doubles play to take the early 1-0 advantage. In the No. 1 position, Liberty's Shea Thomas and Egon Samaai collected their team-best eighth doubles victory of the season with an 8-6 win against Adrien Langeard and Matt Waissen. The Flames' Dillon Segur and Jorge Azuero remained perfect in the No. 2 spot after downing John Schubel and Daniel Kripak in a hard-fought match, 9-8. The Bulldogs avoided a sweep when Alex Croker and Brett Landau ousted Siim Tuus and Stan Vaughan, 8-5, in the No. 3 position.
Langeard handed Tuus his first singles loss of the season, defeating Liberty's No. 1 singles player, 6-4, 6-0, to begin singles action.
The Flames regained the lead after Jorge Azuero beat Croker in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3. The Liberty sophomore upped his singles record to a perfect 6-0 on the year.
The Bulldogs rallied with back-to-back wins in the No. 3 and No. 2 spots. Thomas suffered his first defeat of the season, falling to Waissen in three sets, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4. Segur also fell in three sets, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4, to Kripak.
Needing victories in the final two matches to take the contest, Liberty turned to Samaai and Vaughan in the No. 5 and No. 6 positions. The freshman Samaai knotted the match at three apiece with a 6-3, 7-6 (8-6) ousting of Schubel to improve to 7-1 in singles tilts this season. Vaughan delivered the clinching point for the Flames with a straight-set, 7-5, 6-4, win versus Landau. The Liberty junior climbed to 7-1 in singles matches on the year with the victory.
The Flames will step away from Big South play next week with a Spring Break trip to Hawaii to face a trio of opponents. Liberty will start with a match versus BYU Hawaii on Tuesday at noon.
Liberty 4, UNC Asheville 3
1. Thomas/Samaai (LU) def. Langeard/Waissen (UNCA), 8-6
2. Segur/Azuero (LU) def. Schubel/Kripak (UNCA), 9-8
3. Croker/Landau (UNCA) def. Tuus/Vaughan (LU), 8-5
1. Langeard (UNCA) def. Tuus (LU), 6-4, 6-0
2. Waissen (UNCA) def. Thomas (LU), 6-2, 4-6, 6-4
3. Kripak (UNCA) def. Segur (LU), 2-6, 6-2, 6-4
4. Azuero (LU) def. Croker (UNCA), 6-3, 6-3
5. Samaai (LU) def. Schubel (UNCA), 6-3, 7-6 (8-6)
6. Vaughan (LU) def. Landau (UNCA), 7-5, 6-4