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Lady Flames Open Strong at Liberty Fall Classic
Six Lady Flames won their opening round singles matches, Friday, while two Liberty doubles teams advanced to the finals in their respective draws on the opening day of the Liberty Fall Classic. The two-day tournament is being played at Liberty's Hershey-Esbenshade Tennis Courts.
The tournament began in the afternoon, with doubles play opening the event. In the A Doubles Draw, Liberty's Cameron Richard and Brittany Yang opened with an 8-5 victory over Radford's Petra Dajevic and Mia Drobnjak. The pair then defeated Jacquline Palmucci and Ruxandra Andriescu of James Madison, 8-2, to advance into the finals. Waiting for the pair in the championship match are the Sweet Briar duo of Arie Taylor and Moriah Burke, who won both of their matches as well.
In the B Doubles Draw, Megan Douglas and Michelle Nguyen of James Madison will meet Radford's Hannah Crawford and Meg Napolitano in the championship match tomorrow. Each team won a pair of contests to advance to the finals. Douglas and Nguyen advanced to the finals by beating out the Liberty pair of Rebekah Jenkins and Carol Lobel, 8-4.
Another Lady Flame duo advanced to the finals in the C Doubles Draw. Alexandra Sheeran and Nicola Wellman posted an 8-2 win over Nicole Parker and Hannah Hill of Longwood to begin their afternoon. Next, the sophomore-freshman combination defeated Radford's Sara Tenger and Taylor Newman, 8-1. Sheeran and Wellman will face James Madison's Taylor Pinchoff and Leah DeMasters in the draw's finals, as the Dukes duo also won both of their matches.
Six of Liberty's women were able to pick up wins in their opening round singles matches, including four in straight sets. Freshman Yang earned a 6-3, 7-6 (4) win over Washington and Lee's Casey Mackintosh in the B Singles Draw, while fellow freshman Wellman defeated Appalachian State's Kim-Lea Dinh, 7-6 (1), 6-1. Each victory served as the first singles win of their collegiate career.
Meanwhile, Lobel and Sheeran each breezed through their opening matches, both blanking their opponents, 6-0, 6-0. Lobel is in the C Singles Draw, while Sheeran is competing in the D Singles Draw.
Picking up the final two singles wins for the Lady Flames were sophomores Jenkins and Richard. Each needed a third set to claim victory. Jenkins, facing Longwood's Allie Shulman, dropped the opening set, 4-6, before rebounding with a 6-1 set. In the 10-point tie breaker, Jenkins clinched the victory, 13-11, to advance in the C Singles Draw.
Meanwhile, Richard was able to pull through for the victory against Palmucci, despite losing the opening set, 6-1. However, Richard, the 2011 Big South Freshman of the Year, bounced back to take the second set, 6-4, and then won the breaker, 15-13.
Overall, Liberty recorded a 10-4 record on the opening day of the event, going 6-2 in singles and 4-2 in doubles.
Play continues tomorrow, beginning with the final doubles matches, at 9 a.m.