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Big South Opportunities Upcoming for Women's Tennis
Facing three matches in four days, the Liberty women's tennis team will have a pair of opportunities to post Big South victories. The Lady Flames will take on conference foes Presbyterian College, Sunday, and Radford, Tuesday, before returning to Lynchburg to host Norfolk State, Wednesday. Liberty will have the advantage of closing its regular season with four of its final five matches taking place at home.
The Lady Flames are 5-10 on the year, but are winners of four of their last five, including taking three shutouts. However, Liberty currently stands at 0-3 in conference matches.
Cameron Richard, the 2011 Big South Freshman of the Year, has taken three singles victories in a row and will look to finish the season strong for the Lady Flames. The sophomore has been a leader in doubles play in 2012, as her and freshman Brittany Yang have posted five victories for 2012. Yang leads the Lady Flames in singles victories, taking eight for the year.
The Blue Hose enter Sunday's contest with a 7-8 mark overall and are 0-2 in Big South matches, falling to Gardner-Webb and Radford. After dropping six of its opening seven matches, PC has found its stride as of late, winning six of its last eight contests. Similar to Liberty, the Blue Hose have fallen to Appalachian State and Gardner-Webb this season, while picking up a victory over Longwood.
PC's Patricia Alves has posted 10 singles wins on the year, with Caroline DeLoach and Paige Oelke close behind with nine and eight wins, respectively. Oelke has played each of her matches in the No. 1 slot.
Cara Caruso and Lindsay Krause have held down the final doubles slot for the Blue Hose, posting a 6-4 mark, but have dropped their last three matches.
After going 6-15 last season, Radford holds a 12-4 mark for 2012. The Highlanders are 2-2 in Big South matches, knocking off PC (6-1) and Gardner-Webb (4-3), and falling to Coastal Carolina (6-1) and Charleston Southern (4-3).
Four Highlanders have already reached double-digit win totals in singles matches, led by Meg Napolitano with 16. Hannah Crawford owns 15 for the year, while Taylor Newman and Gemma Valls have won 12 apiece.
Crawford and Napolitano have combined to be a strong doubles team, going 14-7 in the No. 1 and No. 2 matches. Petra Dajevic and Valls are 11-1 in No. 3 matches, including an unbeaten 4-0 in conference contests.
After a pair of Big South clashes, the Lady Flames will return home for a non-conference matchup with Norfolk State, Wednesday at 2 p.m. The Spartans are 7-8 this season and are currently riding a five match win streak, but will face Delaware, Monday, before meeting Liberty.
While Liberty has defeated both Hampton and Longwood this season, Norfolk State has dropped matches to both programs in 2012.
Kia Batiste leads the Spartans in victories this season, owning a 10-5 mark, mainly from the No. 5 slot. Two different tandems have four wins to lead Norfolk State in doubles play.