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Women's Tennis to Play Road Matches at UNC Asheville and Furman
The Liberty women's tennis team will head to UNC Asheville for a Big South match on Saturday, followed by a non-conference bout at Furman on Sunday.
The Lady Flames (3-3, 2-0 Big South) will face the Bulldogs (3-4, 0-0 Big South) on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Asheville Racquet Club in what will be Asheville's first Big South match of 2017. Liberty will then head to Furman (5-4) for an 11 a.m. match, Sunday at the Mickel Tennis Center in Greenville, S.C.
Liberty holds a 13-4 all-time series advantage on UNC Asheville. The Lady Flames got the best of the Bulldogs, 5-2, on March 5, 2016, in the last meeting between the two programs.
Liberty and Furman have never met for a women's tennis match.
How to Follow the Lady Flames
There will be no live results for the women's tennis match at UNC Asheville, but check back on LibertyFlames.com on Saturday for a full match recap and results.
Live stats, courtesy of Furman Athletics, will be available for Sunday's match. Find the link for live stats on the Liberty women's tennis schedule & results panel on LibertyFlames.com.
Thoughts from Maren and Camacho
"We are facing two challenges this weekend. Asheville and Furman will both force us to play at our highest level, so I am looking forward to watching our girls battle with great intensity and desire," stated Liberty Head Women's Tennis Coach Jeff Maren.
"It'll give us a chance to find our game. We feel we are raising our level, so we want to keep competing," said Liberty freshman Eugenia Camacho.
Big South Success, Challenging Road Slate
For the fourth season in a row, the Lady Flames have started Big South Conference play 2-0. On Wednesday, Liberty bested Radford, 6-1, to get to 2-0 in league play. The Lady Flames also defeated Longwood, 7-0, on Feb. 1 to open conference play.
Liberty has faced a daunting schedule away from home, with road matches at Louisville, Wake Forest and Tennessee.
Scouting UNC Asheville
The Bulldogs were picked to finish tied for fifth in the league, along with Radford, in the Big South Conference women's tennis preseason poll. In 2016, they finished sixth in the conference with a 4-5 mark and 8-10 overall record.
This year's squad consists of two freshmen, four sophomores, a junior and two seniors. Sophomore Kylee Shipley and freshman Lauren Watson-Steele both own identical 5-2 singles records to lead Asheville. In doubles, Shipley and Hannah Francisco are a team-best 4-3 overall.
UNC Asheville owns victories over Lenoir-Rhyne, Mars Hill and Appalachian State so far this spring. Lise Gregory is the head coach of the Bulldogs, entering his 10th year in charge of the program.
The Paladins come into Sunday's match with a 5-4 mark, spotlighted by wins over Coastal Carolina, Troy, Brenau, Elon and Tulane.
Furman's 2016-17 roster includes five freshmen, two sophomores, one junior and three seniors. Freshman Hannah Ferrett owns the best singles record (6-2) playing at the back end of the lineup, while freshman Danni Vines is 6-3 in singles (2-1 at No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4). Junior Aryn Greene and senior Ansley Speaks are the Paladins' most formidable duo at 6-2 out of the No. 1 position.
Furman is led by second-year head coach by Adam Herendeen. Last spring, Furman finished 15-9 overall and 7-0 in SoCon regular season play to capture the regular season crown in Herendeen's first year. The Paladins' season ended with a 4-3 loss to Samford in the semifinals of the Southern Conference Tournament.