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Flames Set to Face James Madison and Presbyterian College This Week
The Liberty men's tennis team continues its spring break trip with a pair of matches this week. The Flames will face James Madison in a neutral site contest in Hilton Head, S.C., tomorrow at 10 a.m., before opening Big South play on Saturday at Presbyterian College at 10 a.m.
Last time out, Liberty put a stop to its two-match losing skid by knocking off the Coker Cobras, 6-3, on Saturday afternoon. The victory improved the Flames to 5-6 overall for the season and 2-0 all-time against the Cobras.
Liberty enters tomorrow's match looking for its first win against the Dukes since the 2005 season. The Flames are 3-13 all-time versus James Madison, including a 5-2 setback last season in Lynchburg. Liberty and Presbyterian College will be meeting for the sixth time on Saturday, with the Flames having won the previous five matches. Last season, Liberty edged the Blue Hose, 4-3, at home on March 28.
The Flames are led this season by Shea Thomas and Egon Samaai, who have six singles wins apiece. Freshman Alejandro Llamas is third on the squad with five victories, while Jorge Azuero and Stan Vaughan have four wins each.
Samaai and Dillon Segur have a team-best 4-2 doubles record, while No. 80-ranked Thomas and Azuero also have four wins. Including the fall season, Thomas and Azuero have 16 doubles wins this season, ranking fifth all-time on Liberty's single-season listing. With two doubles victories this week, Thomas would tie current Liberty women's tennis assistant coach Giancarlo Lemmi for the most career doubles wins in program history. Thomas currently has 77 wins, two shy of Lemmi's 79 career victories.
James Madison is coming off back-to-back 7-0 shutout losses to Virginia Tech and Coastal Carolina. The Dukes play The Citadel this afternoon before facing the Flames tomorrow. Sebastian Salinas leads the team with four singles wins, while Miljan Ruzic and Robert Stirling are a team-best 3-2 in doubles play.
Presbyterian College boasts an impressive 16-3 (2-0 Big South) overall record this season. The Blue Hose have won three consecutive matches and four out of their last five overall. No. 1 player Grayson Mills leads the team with 14 singles wins, while three other Blue Hose, Ben Kelley, Diego Manzanas and Ryan Miller, also have double-digit victories. In doubles play, Miller and Kelley are a team-best 11-2.
Following Saturday's match, Liberty travels to Durham, N.C., to challenge North Carolina Central on March 20 at 1 p.m.