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Women's Tennis Opens March on the Road
Continuing its tough early season schedule, the Liberty women's tennis team will face a pair of road contests to open the month of March. On Friday, the Lady Flames travel to Huntington, W. Va., to take on previously ranked Marshall for a 1 p.m. match. The team then moves on to Johnson City, Tenn., for a meeting with East Tennessee State at 2 p.m., Saturday.
The Lady Flames are looking to bounce back from their 6-1 loss to Coastal Carolina last week, as they opened Big South Conference play. Freshman Nicola Wellman posted the lone Liberty victory, extending her singles win streak to three matches. The Spring Hill, Fla., native has defeated competitors from Longwood, Virginia Tech and Coastal Carolina during the stretch.
The Lady Flames and Thundering Herd will square off for the second year in a row. Last year, No. 34 Marshall snuck out of Lynchburg with a 4-3 victory in the first meeting between the programs, which included a Lady Flame retirement due to injury in the No. 1 match.
Marshall has also faced a strong schedule early in the year, already matching up against four opponents who held a national ranking at the time of competition: North Carolina (8), VCU (34), Purdue (41) and Penn State (61). Marshall is winless in those four contests.
The Herd began the season ranked No. 54 by the ITA, but has fallen out of the listing, currently holding a 3-6 record and dropping its last three contests. Marshall is 1-0 in its sole home match of 2012, defeating Morehead State, 6-1, on Feb. 4.
Liberty and reigning 2011 Atlantic Sun Tournament champion ETSU are then scheduled to face off on Saturday, for the third meeting between the programs and the first since 2005. The Bucs have taken each of the previous two meetings, 4-3 in 2004 and 6-1 in 2005.
ETSU is currently 1-4, dropping their last four contests. The team opened 2012 with a 4-3 win against Radford, and is slated for another Big South matchup on Friday, when they travel to face Asheville. ETSU has taken on a pair of ranked opponents this season, falling 7-0 to Georgia State (47) and 5-2 to Virginia Tech (61). The Lady Flames fell to the Hokies by the same margin this season.