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Pair of Matches Kick Off Women's Tennis Season
Liberty's women's tennis team will begin its 2012 dual schedule with a pair of matches this weekend, opening against Georgetown at 3 p.m., Friday, before facing Appalachian State at 5 p.m., Saturday. Both contests will take place at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va.
Despite having a roster with just one upperclassman in senior Carol Lobel, the Lady Flames return an experienced squad after four players saw considerable court time last spring as freshmen. Annisha Domenech, Rebekah Jenkins, Cameron Richard and Alexandra Sheeran compiled 46 of the team's singles wins last year and return for their sophomore season. Additionally, Lobel had a breakout season in 2011, winning 15 matches each in singles and doubles play.
The Lady Flames finished 15-7 in 2011 and 6-1 in Big South matches to win their first regular season co-championship. The team also advanced to the semifinals of the Big South Women's Tennis Championship for the fourth time in program history. Another program-first was achieved when Liberty finished the 2011 season ranked No. 10 in the ITA's Atlantic Region listing.
Richard and Sheeran ranked second behind Lobel in singles victories last year, each posting 13 wins. Richard split her time between the second and third slot in head coach Chris Johnson's lineup, while Sheeran played both the third and fourth positions in 2011.
"I am so proud of our girls," remarked Johnson. "The drive and hard work that they brought last year to win their first trophy is evident in practice every day. I am very excited to watch them play this weekend."
Liberty's 2012 slate begins with it's first-ever matchup against Georgetown, a member of the Big East. The Hoyas are 0-1 this season after falling in their season opener to VCU by a 4-1 margin. However, Georgetown currently has a pair of ranked players in the ITA's Women's National Singles Rankings. Senior Lauren Greco is ranked No. 71 after a strong showing at last fall's ITA Regionals, including knocking off the No. 1 seeded player in the region. Meanwhile, sophomore Tina Tehrani is No. 77 thanks in part to a strong fall showing, especially in September when she posted a 14-1 overall record and collected a pair of tournament victories.
On Saturday, the Lady Flames and Mountaineers will meet for the fifth time, with Appalachian State holding the 3-1 edge in the series. The Mountaineers earned a 5-2 victory in the programs' most recent meeting, coming last year in the Lady Flames' season opener, which also took place at the Greenbrier Resort. Appalachian State is currently 1-0 after shutting out North Carolina A&T, 7-0, in its first match of the season last Saturday.