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Lady Flames Rally to Defeat Campbell, 4-3, in Big South Opener
Trailing 3-1, the Liberty women's tennis team rallied with a trio of three-set wins to come from behind and defeat Campbell, 4-3, on Saturday afternoon in the Big South Conference opener for both teams, at the Hershey Tennis Courts.
With the win, the Lady Flames capture their third consecutive victory and improve to 6-2 overall and 1-0 in conference matches. The 6-2 record is Liberty's best start in program history. Campbell sees its three-match winning streak come to an end and falls to 4-3 (0-1 Big South) overall.
"Considering that this was our first day to be outside, I thought that we did an outstanding job of ‘finding a way' to win against a very good team," stated Liberty head coach Jeff Maren. "Winning three third sets by a score of 6-1 also shows that we are fit, both mentally and physically. A little more outdoor practice and we'll be ready for our conference matches this week."
For the second consecutive match and the third time this season, Liberty earned a clean sweep of the doubles matches. Mariely Hassey and Valerie Thong teamed up for the first time this season and delivered a dominating 8-3 win over Amelie Reichart and Ewa Telenga in the No. 3 position.
The remaining two doubles tilts were tightly contested. At No. 1, Rebekah Jenkins and Maria Khval tallied the final three points of the match to pull away and defeat Karolina Chernaya and Ana Maria Ortiz, 8-5. Belen Rivera and Brittany Yang followed suit, outlasting Natasha Afridi and Tamara Stanic, 8-6, in the No. 2 position.
Campbell took the lead with three consecutive wins to open the singles contests. Afridi defeated Hassey, 6-0, 6-0, in the No. 3 position to tie the match, before Chernaya put the Camels in front with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Jenkins in the top position. Campbell extended its lead with a win in the No. 4 spot, as Stanic knocked off Rivera in a hard-fought match, 7-5, 6-4.
The Lady Flames staged a comeback, beginning with a victory in the No. 5 position from Nicola Wellman. The junior knocked off Reichart in three sets, 6-3, 1-6, 6-1, pulling the home team within one at 3-2.
Khval kept the momentum rolling in favor of Liberty with a win in the No. 2 spot. The freshman jumped out to a one set lead over Ortiz, 6-2. Ortiz even the match at one apiece with a 7-6 (5) win in set two. The third and final set was all Khval, as the freshman won 6-1, upping her singles record to a team best 7-1.
With the contest tied at three apiece, it came down to the No. 6 match between Yang and
Telenga. Yang dropped the first set, 7-6 (11-9), but pulled out a tight 7-5 in set two. The win set up a winner-take-all third frame. The Lady Flames' junior posted a dominating 6-1 victory to clinch the win for Liberty.
"Brittany has become our ‘go-to' girl," commented Maren. "She has a knack for closing out clinching matches and focusing when she needs to most. I'm so proud of how Brit and all of our girls fought out there!"
The Lady Flames hit the road for their first Big South away match of the season on Wednesday. Liberty will face Longwood at 2 p.m.
Liberty 4, Campbell 3
1. Rebekah Jenkins/Maria Khval (LU) def. Karolina Chernaya/Ana Maria Ortiz (CU), 8-5
2. Belen Rivera/Brittany Yang (LU) def. Natasha Afridi/Tamara Stanic (CU), 8-6
3. Mariely Hassey/Valerie Thong (LU) def. Amelie Reichart/Ewa Telenga (CU), 8-3
1. Karolina Chernaya (CU) def. Rebekah Jenkins (LU), 6-4, 6-3
2. Maria Khval (LU) def. Ana Maria Ortiz (CU), 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 6-1
3. Natasha Afridi (CU) def. Mariely Hassey (LU), 6-0, 6-0
4. Tamara Stanic (CU) def. Belen Rivera (LU), 7-5, 6-4
5. Nicola Wellman (LU) def. Amelie Reichart (CU), 6-3, 1-6, 6-1
6. Brittany Yang (LU) def. Ewa Telenga (CU), 6-7 (9-11), 7-5, 6-1