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Flames Fall to No. 75 Radford to Close Regular Season
The Flames captured wins in the top two singles contests, Thursday, but No. 75 Radford spoiled Liberty's home and regular-season finale by taking the 5-2 win at the Hershey Tennis Courts.
Liberty concludes the regular season with a 15-7 record and ends Big South play with a 3-4 mark. Meanwhile, Radford concludes its regular season at 17-5, while going unbeaten, 7-0, in conference action.
In doubles, the Flames and Highlanders were evenly matched, as a pair of contests needed a tiebreaker to decide a victor. While the opening games of the lead match were traded back and forth, Radford's pair of Nicholas Sayer and Thomas Dehaen closed strong to win, 8-3, over Giancarlo Lemmi and Siim Tuus.
The Flames countered by claiming the No. 2 match, as Shea Thomas and Tristan Stayt defeated Stijn Meulemans and Igor Ogrizek in a tiebreaker, 9-8 (7-1). The win was the duo's team-leading 13th of the season. With the No. 3 match deciding the doubles point, Highlanders Joe Mills and Patrick O'Keefe came back late to force a tiebreak. The pair closed strong against the Flames' Jorge Azuero and Mandeep Yadav, taking the match, 9-8 (7-2).
While the Flames converted wins in the top two singles matches, the Highlanders put the match out of reach with three early two-set wins.
Radford took the first two matches to go final. Muelemans gave the visitors a 2-0 lead with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Lemmi, while Dehaen closed out Dillon Segur, 6-3, 6-2.
Tuus then notched the Flames' first team point on the afternoon, as he won his 14th singles win of 2012 by taking down No. 105 Sayer. The Flames' junior fell behind, 4-3, after Sayer took back-to-back games in the first set, but then won the next three games to take the one-set advantage. Tuus closed the match by taking the second set by the same margin, 6-4.
Patrick O'Keefe secured the overall match win for the visitors with a victory in the No. 5 match, handing freshman Jorge Azuero (9-1) his first loss of the season in the process, 6-3, 6-3.
Thomas posted Liberty's final point with a win in the No. 2 match, setting a career-best wins mark with 10 on the year. The sophomore downed Ogrizek, 6-4, 6-2.
Randall Carter posted the Highlanders' last score on the afternoon, snapping Mandeep Yadav's eight match win streak in three sets. Carter jumped out quickly, taking the first set, 6-2, before Yadav rebounded, 6-4 in the second. Carter closed the match, 10-7, in the rally-scored final set.
The Flames will now wait for the final seeds to be decided for the 2012 Big South Men's Tennis Championships. The rest of the league is scheduled to complete conference play by Sunday, while the Championships begin on Thursday, April 19 in Asheville, N.C.
Radford 5, Liberty 2
1. Sayer/Dehaen (RU) def. Tuus/Lemmi (LU), 8-3
2. Thomas/Stayt (LU) def. Meulemans/Ogrizek (RU), 9-8 (7-1)
3. Mills/O'Keefe (RU) def. Azuero/Yadav (LU), 9-8 (7-2)
1. Tuus (LU) def. #105 Sayer (RU), 6-4, 6-4
2. Thomas (LU) def. Ogrizek (RU), 6-4, 6-2
3. Meulemans (RU) def. Lemmi (LU), 6-1, 6-1
4. Dehaen (RU) def. Segur (LU), 6-3, 6-2
5. O'Keefe (RU) def. Azuero (LU), 6-3, 6-3
6. Carter (RU) def. Yadav (LU), 6-2, 4-6, 10-7