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Liberty Remains Unbeaten at Home with 5-2 Win Over Gardner-Webb
The Liberty women's tennis team put a halt to its five-match losing streak in a resounding way, defeating the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs 5-2 on Friday afternoon at the Hershey Tennis Courts.
The Lady Flames improve to 8-7 overall and 3-1 in Big South contests. Liberty remains unbeaten in home matches this season at 3-0 and ups its all-time mark against the Runnin' Bulldogs to 8-4. Gardner-Webb falls to 8-8 on the season and 1-4 in conference matches.
The Lady Flames opened the match strong with dominating wins in the No. 3 and No. 1 doubles positions and a tight win at No. 2. Cameron Richard and Valerie Thong downed Teodora Stanciu and Mary Walker Mixon, 8-3, before Rebekah Jenkins and Maria Khval clinched the doubles point with an 8-1 ousting of Ronia Hutterli and Yasmin Doost. The victory gives Jenkins and Khval a team-best six doubles wins this season. Liberty completed the doubles sweep when Brittany Yang and Belen Rivera defeated Jenny Lunde and Rokia Sacko, 8-7, tying Jenkins and Khval for the most doubles wins on the team with six.
Liberty quickly added to its lead with straight-set wins in the No. 3, 4 and 2 positions to seal the match. Khval posted a convincing 6-1, 6-1 victory over Hutterli, moving the freshman's record to 9-6 on the season. Rivera followed with a 6-0, 6-3 defeat of Valeriia Popko, before Yang provided the clinching point with a 6-2, 6-2 win against Lunde. Rivera's record improves to 8-5, while Yang ups her mark to a team-best 9-4.
Nicola Wellman increased the Lady Flames' lead to 5-0 with a win in the No. 6 position. The junior defeated Catherine White, 6-3, 6-2, matching Yang for the best singles record on the team, at 9-4.
The Runnin' Bulldogs closed the contest with three-set wins in the No. 1 and No. 5 positions. Doost came from behind to beat Jenkins, 5-7, 7-6, 10-7, before Sacko outlasted Mariely Hassey, 6-4, 6-7, 6-3.
"Our consistency improved today and I believe that it made the difference in some of the matches," commented Liberty head coach Jeff Maren. "We are still a work in progress, but am happy that we are moving in the right direction."
The Lady Flames return to play tomorrow at 10 a.m. versus No. 63 Winthrop at the Hershey Tennis Courts.
Liberty 5, Gardner-Webb 2
1. Rebekah Jenkins/Maria Khval (LU) def. Ronia Hutterli/Yasmin Doost (GWU), 8-1
2. Brittany Yang/Belen Rivera (LU) def. Jenny Lunde/Rokia Sacko (GWU), 8-7
3. Cameron Richard/Valerie Thong (LU) def. Teodora Stanciu/Mary Walker Mixon (GWU), 8-3
1. Yasmin Doost (GWU) def. Rebekah Jenkins (LU), 5-7, 7-6, 10-7
2. Brittany Yang (LU) def. Jenny Lunde (GWU), 6-2, 6-2
3. Maria Khval (LU) def. Ronia Hutterli (GWU), 6-1, 6-1
4. Belen Rivera (LU) def. Valeriia Popko (GWU), 6-0, 6-3
5. Rokia Sacko (GWU) def. Mariely Hassey (LU), 6-4, 6-7, 6-3
6. Nicola Wellman (LU) def. Catherine White (GWU), 6-3, 6-2