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Lady Flames Begin Fall Play at Home
For the first time since 2007, the Liberty women's tennis team will host a fall invitational, with this weekend's tournament kicking off the Lady Flames' fall schedule on Friday. The two-day event also allows the program to display its newly completed Cook Tennis Center. Players from Appalachian State, James Madison, Longwood, Radford, Sweet Briar and Washington and Lee are scheduled to compete.
With the new facility, the Liberty tennis programs look forward to the ability to host more events such as this weekend's. "Once again we would like to say thank you to the Cook family and Chancellor Falwell, Jr., for a magnificent facility. We are now able to host many types of tournaments including our Liberty Fall Classic. This is a very positive move for us competitively and academically, as our travel schedule will be less moving forward," stated head coach Chris Johnson.
Liberty's home opener serves as one of four events scheduled for the team this fall. After a brief break from competition, members of the Lady Flames will aim to compete at the prestigious Billie Jean King Invitational (Oct. 6-9) in Flushing, N.Y., and the ITA Atlantic Regional (Oct. 18-22). The squad will then finish tournament play at the Hokie Fall Invite (Nov. 4-6) in Blacksburg, Va.
While the Lady Flames graduated three players from last year's Co-Big South Conference regular season champions, five student-athletes return with considerable experience. However, Johnson has also added a strong recruiting class.
"We have a very young team this year, so we are ready to get to work this fall. We had a great recruiting class come in and we are very excited to see them start to play matches."
Senior Carol Lobel returns for the Lady Flames after leading the team with 15 wins in singles play last season. The Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, native also surpassed the 10-win mark in doubles, recording 13 doubles wins to lead the team with former teammate Valeriya Klintsevich.
Also returning are a pair of sophomores, Cameron Richard and Alexandra Sheeran, who each posted 13-8 marks overall and 5-2 records in Big South play. Richard, who played nearly all of her matches in the No. 2 and No. 3 positions in Liberty's lineup, was named the Big South Rookie of the Year for her 2011 campaign.
Annisha Domenech and Rebekah Jenkins also return as sophomores for the Lady Flames, having seen significant court time last season. Domenech went 11-4 in the No. 5 and No. 6 slots, while Jenkins recorded a 9-3 overall mark, also competing mainly in the No. 5 and No. 6 positions.
This weekend's play is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., Friday, with the second and final day starting at 9 a.m., Saturday. Results will be available at the end of each day on LibertyFlames.com.