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No. 1 Presbyterian Ousts No. 8 Liberty, 4-1, in Big South Quarterfinals
The top-seeded Presbyterian Blue Hose upended the eighth-seeded Liberty Flames, 4-1, on Wednesday morning at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex.
Presbyterian (16-10) will move to Friday's semifinals to face the winner of No. 4 Longwood (14-5) and No. 5 Winthrop (7-12). Liberty (7-15) sees its 2016-17 season come to a close with the setback.
PC, who claimed the Big South regular-season title with a 6-1 mark, captured the doubles point and three of four singles matches to claim its third consecutive victory. The contest was played on the indoor courts at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex due to inclement weather.
The Blue Hose seized control of the match early in the doubles session. At the No. 1 doubles flight, PC's senior duo of Ben Kelley and Joel Roberts led throughout their match with Liberty sophomore Alex Poynter and freshman Vince Salas on the way to a 6-2 victory.
On court three, the Blue Hose's Jaime Lopez and Diego Manzanas built a commanding lead on the Flames' Chase Burton and Max Borcuti. The teams split the ensuing two games, making it 5-1 PC. Burton and Borcuti led, 40-0, in the next game but Lopez and Manzanas rallied to win the final four points and the match, 6-1.
Lopez and Manzanas' victory in the No. 3 doubles match put top-seeded Presbyterian ahead, 1-0, in the match. The No. 2 doubles match between the Flames' Ryker Heller and Diego Castano and Alexander Lykou and Brandon Mills went unfinished with the Flames' tandem leading, 4-3.
Presbyterian's Kelley provided PC with a 2-0 edge, defeating the Flames' Eddie Gutierrez, 6-2, 6-0, in the No. 4 singles flight. The Blue Hose's Bejar also earned a straight-sets victory for No. 1 seed PC, besting Heller, 6-2, 6-1 on court five, improving his record in No. 5 matches to 8-0. The PC junior's win put the Blue Hose ahead, 3-0, on the Flames.
Liberty's Burton, named a Big South First Team All-Conference singles player yesterday, dominated his match with Lykou on court one, winning 6-3, 6-0. The Orlando, Fla., native's triumph cut the PC lead down to 3-1.
Poynter dropped his first set to Lopez, while Castano lost a first-set tiebreaker, 7-6 (8-6), to Mills but built an early 3-0 lead in set two. At the same time, Salas, who was down a set to Manzanas and trailing 5-2 in the second, staved off defeat by winning the next three games. However, Manzanas responded by taking the final two games and the match, 6-2, 7-5. Manzanas' victory won the match for PC, 4-1.
The 2017 Big South Men's Tennis Championship continues for the rest of the day with three more quarterfinal matchups. The semifinals will occur on Thursday, while the championship match will be played on Friday at 4 p.m.