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Flames Blank Bears in 7-0 Road Victory

February 21, 2009
|  Hickory, N.C.
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Chad Simpson was one of six singles victors on the day for the Flames, helping Liberty to a 7-0 victory over Lenoir-Rhyne.

Chad Simpson was one of six singles victors on the day for the Flames, helping Liberty to a 7-0 victory over Lenoir-Rhyne.

The Flames quickly erased the memories of a hard-fought setback to Appalachian State on Friday, when Liberty took two of three doubles matches and all six singles contests en route to a 7-0 victory over Lenoir-Rhyne, Saturday afternoon, at the Hickory High School tennis courts.

The victory makes Liberty a winner in five out of its last seven matches, raising the Flames season record to 5-3. After winning back-to-back events, Lenoir-Rhyne has now dropped its last two matches to fall to 2-4 on the 2009 season.

The match opened strongly for the homestanding Bears, as the freshman brother tandem of John and Barry Fichardt remained unbeaten on the year, scratching out an 8-5 win over Liberty's Giancarlo Lemmi and Clay Cypert at No. 1 doubles.

However, the Flames came roaring back, as Louis Steyn and Juan Reyes took an even closer match with an 8-6 victory over Mike Owens and Hernando Saavedra at No. 2.

Tied at one doubles match apiece, the visitors ended up scoring the doubles point with ease, as Liberty's Chad Simpson and Gregorio Machado rolled over Nate Summers and Matt Gaines, 8-2, to give the Flames the early 1-0 edge.

The Simpson/Machado victory at No. 3 doubles set the tone for the Flames the rest of the afternoon, as Liberty rolled to six singles win, all coming in straight sets. At day's end, the Flames only dropped a combined 15 games during the six singles contests.

Cypert jumpstarted the dominant run for the Flames, evening his season record at 4-4 with a 6-0, 6-1 win over John Fichardt at No. 1 singles. Steyn kept the momentum for Liberty at No. 2 singles, controlling the other Fichardt brother, Brian, in a 6-2, 6-0 victory to pick up his fifth win of the year.

Simpson (6-2, 6-1) and Machado (6-1, 6-2) each dropped only three games during their victories over Saavedra and Gaines, respectively, at No. 3 and No. 4 singles.

Reyes, competing the first time this year at No. 5 singles, showed no signs of uneasiness at the new position, rolling to a 6-0, 6-1 win over Owens to pick up his team-leading sixth win on the year for the junior.

Brazilian native Otavio Costa closed out the convincing victory for the Flames, as the junior defeated Graydon Dean, 6-3, 6-2, at No. 6 singles to move to 2-0 on the year.

The Flames will have their final tune-up before opening Big South action against Coastal Carolina on Friday, when Liberty makes up a rescheduled match with Richmond on Tuesday. The in-state match-up with the Spiders is slated to begin at 2:30 p.m.