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Liberty Downs Morehead State, 6-1, in Season Opener
For the third consecutive season, the Liberty men's tennis team captured a victory in its season opener, ousting the Morehead State Eagles, 6-1, on Saturday afternoon at the Greenbriar Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.
The Flames (1-0) dealt the Eagles their second loss in as many days. On Friday, Morehead State fell to No. 48 Louisville, 7-0.
Liberty opened the match with a pair of convincing wins in doubles action to earn the first point of the afternoon. The Flames' Shea Thomas and Jorge Azuero, playing in their first match since earning a No. 26 national ranking, doubled up Jack Swindell and Ji Hoon Heo, 6-3, in the No. 1 position. Egon Samaai and Carson Greve followed up Thomas and Azuero's victory with a resounding 6-2 triumph in the No. 3 spot over Nick Mercer and Gabriel Ruiz to clinch the doubles tally.
Samaai and Llamas extended Liberty's lead to 3-0 with a pair of straight-set wins to open singles action. At No. 3, Samaai knocked off Heo, 6-2, 6-3, before the freshman Llamas bested Clifford, 6-5 (7-5), 6-4, in the No. 4 spot.
In the No. 1 position, Thomas sealed the win for the Flames with a 6-3, 1-6, 6-0 victory against Swindells.
With the victory in hand, Liberty earned wins in two of the final three singles positions. At No. 5, Vaughan battled back and forth with Mercer, before coming out on top with a 6-5 (9-7), 5-6 (3-7), 1-0 (10-8) victory. Azuero picked up a win in the No. 2 spot, defeating Samaha in three sets, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.
The Eagles' lone point of the day came in the No. 6 position, as Ruiz held off Guillem Secanell, 6-5 (7-4), 6-5 (7-4).
Liberty returns to action on Jan. 31 for its home opener versus Bluefield State. The match is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. indoors at the Sports Racket.
Liberty 6, Morehead State 1
1. Thomas/Azuero (LU) def. Swindells/Heo (MOR), 6-3
2. Clifford/Samaha (MOR) def. Llamas/Vaughan (LU), 6-5 (7-3)
3. Samaai/Greve (LU) def. Mercer/Ruiz (MOR), 6-2
1. Thomas (LU) def. Swindells (MOR), 6-3, 1-6, 6-0
2. Azuero (LU) def. Samaha (MOR), 6-4, 3-6, 6-1
3. Samaai (LU) def. Heo (MOR), 6-2, 6-3
4. Llamas (LU) def. Clifford (MOR), 6-5 (7-5), 6-4
5. Vaughan (LU) def. Mercer (MOR), 6-5 (9-7), 5-6 (3-7), 1-0 (10-8)
6. Ruiz (MOR) def. Secanell (LU), 6-5 (7-4), 6-5 (7-4)