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Three-Set Wins Fuel Lady Flames' Victory
Despite trailing 2-0 during singles play, the Lady Flames roared back to earn four hard-fought, three-set victories, Thursday afternoon, as the squad defeated UNC Greensboro, 5-2, at the Hershey Tennis Courts. While not currently ranked, UNC Greensboro has been No. 70 in the ITA Women's National Team Rankings as recent as March 21.
The Lady Flames pick up their fourth-consecutive victory with the win, improving their 2011 record to 9-6. With the defeat, UNC Greensboro, who is 4-0 in Southern Conference action, falls to 7-4 on the season.
Liberty's women put the first victory of the afternoon up in doubles, with Hannah Fick and Rebekah Jenkins making quick work of Devon Sutherland and Dilara Yurtkuran, 8-0. However, the visiting Spartans won the other two matches to post the first team point. Carol Lobel and Valeriya Klintsevich's five-match win streak in doubles was halted with an 8-1 defeat in the No. 2 match.
In singles, UNC Greensboro went up 2-0 behind a straight-set win from Niltooli Wilkins over Hannah Fick, 6-3, 6-2 at the lead match. The Lady Flames then owned the remaining contests, as they would win the final five points up for grabs.
Lobel notched her team-leading 10th win of the season to give the Liberty women their first point on the afternoon. The junior won her No. 4 match, 7-5, 6-3 over Lucy Dougherty.
Rebekah Jenkins then tied the overall dual for the Lady Flames behind a three-set win in her No. 5 matchup. The freshman and Sarasota, Fla., native opened by taking the first set, 7-5. After Annette Rios responded with a 6-2 set, Jenkins finished strongly and secured the third set, 6-4, with an ace.
Freshman Cameron Richard rolled off her sixth-straight singles victory, defeating Alex Whitehead, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2. The win in the No. 2 spot in the lineup gave the Lady Flames a 3-2 lead, with two matches, both in a third set, still in action.
Annisha Domenech claimed her first set, 6-2, before Mikayla Rogers scored a 7-5 win in the second to square the No. 6 match. Domenech held strong in the deciding set, winning 6-3, to win her fourth-straight match, and clinch the team victory for Liberty.
In the final contest, Alexandra Sheeran rallied from behind to wrap up the 5-2 dual win for the Lady Flames. Facing a one-set deficit, the freshman leveled the contest by winning the second set, 6-2. In the final set, the Savannah, Ga., native endured leg cramps and long rallies to upend MacFarlane, 7-5.
Head Coach Chris Johnson commented on the Lady Flames performance, saying, "Our girls are getting stronger and smarter every time they take the court. Each match we have different players step up and take the lead. Today was no different. That makes us very difficult to beat. I was very proud watching them fight to win this match today!"
The Lady Flames will look to ride their momentum into North Carolina for a pair of weekend Big South Conference contests. After a 1 p.m. showdown with Gardner-Webb on Saturday, the ladies take on UNC Asheville at 12 p.m., Sunday.
Liberty 5, UNC Greensboro 2
1. MacFarlane/Whitehead (UNCG) def. Sheeran/Richard (LU) 8-4
2. Wilkins/Dougherty (UNCG) def. Lobel/Klintsevich (LU) 8-1
3. Fick/Jenkins (LU) def. Sutherland/Yurtkuran (UNCG) 8-0
1. Wilkins (UNCG) def. Fick (LU) 6-3, 6-2
2. Richard (LU) def. Whitehead (UNCG) 6-4, 3-6, 6-2
3. Sheeran (LU) def. MacFarlane (UNCG) 4-6, 6-2, 7-5
4. Lobel (LU) def. Dougherty (UNCG) 7-5, 6-3
5. Jenkins (LU) def. Rios (UNCG) 7-5, 2-6, 6-4
6. Domenech (LU) def. Rogers (UNCG) 6-2, 5-7, 6-3.