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Lady Flames Down West Virginia, 6-1, to Remain Unbeaten
The Liberty Lady Flames tennis team recorded its third consecutive 6-1 victory to open the season, knocking off Big 12 foe West Virginia on Saturday afternoon at the Charleston Indoor Racquet Club in Charleston, W.Va.
With the win, Liberty improves to 3-0 for the first time in program history. The Lady Flames have now won the last two meetings against the Mountaineers and even the all-time series at two victories apiece. West Virginia drops to 0-2 on the young season.
Just like it did in its previous two matches, Liberty jumped out to a 1-0 advantage after securing the doubles point with wins in the No. 1 and No. 3 positions. The Lady Flames' Nicola Wellman and Belen Rivera posted a dominating win to open the contest in the No. 3 spot, blanking Vivian Tsui and Irinka Toidze, 6-0.
The Lady Flames secured the doubles tally with a hard-fought win in the No. 1 position. Rebekah Jenkins and Maria Khval outlasted Hailey Barrett and Ikttesh Chahal, 7-6 (7) to improve to a team-best 3-0 on the season.
Wellman extended Liberty's advantage with a straight-set defeat of Toidze, 6-2, 6-2, in the No. 5 singles slot.
The Mountaineers climbed to within 2-1 after Barrett beat Jenkins in the No. 1 position, 6-0, 6-1. Barrett's win turned out to be West Virginia's lone point of the day.
Fresh off her Big South Freshman of the Week award, the Lady Flames' Mariely Hassey continued her hot start to the season by bouncing Mrgole in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3, to improve to 3-0 on the year.
Rivera followed Hassey's win with her third singles victory of the season. The sophomore downed Manole, 6-3, 6-4, pushing the Liberty's lead to 4-1 and sealing the victory for the Lady Flames.
Yang tallied Liberty's fifth point with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Tsui in the No. 6 position, improving her singles record to 2-0 on the year.
Khval capped the afternoon with a come from behind win in the No. 2 spot. The freshman dropped the first set, 6-4, before rallying to take the second and third sets, 6-3, 1-0 (10-5), respectively.
"I'm so proud of our girls today," stated Liberty head coach Jeff Maren. "They took a professional approach to the match and played as one unit. All glory goes to God who gave us such wonderful gifts to use and enjoy."
The Lady Flames will look to extend their program-best start to 4-0 when they face No. 55 Kansas State next Saturday at 1 p.m. Liberty will follow that match with a Feb. 2 contest against Kansas.
Liberty 6, West Virginia 1
1. Jenkins/Khval (LU) def. Barrett/Chahal (WVU), 7-6 (9-7)
2. Manole/Mrgole (WVU) def. Thong/Yang (LU), 6-3
3. Wellman/Rivera (LU) def. Tsui/Toidze (WVU), 6-0
1. Barrett (WVU) def. Jenkins (LU), 6-0, 6-1
2. Khval (LU) def. Chahal (WVU), 4-6, 6-3, 1-0 (10-5)
3. Hassey (LU) def. Mrgole (WVU), 6-3, 6-3
4. Rivera (LU) def. Manole (WVU), 6-3, 6-4
5. Wellman (LU) def. Toidze (WVU), 6-2, 6-2
6. Yang (LU) def. Tsui (WVU), 6-4, 6-3