Brittany Yang (left) and Jessie Boda (right) collected their third doubles win of the year against Longwood.
The Liberty Lady Flames tennis team jumped out to a 3-0 lead, and then held off a late rally by the Longwood Lancers to win its Big South conference opener, 4-3, Wednesday afternoon inside the Sports Racket. With the win, Liberty head coach Jeff Maren collects his first victory with the program.
Liberty's first win of the year improves its record to 1-4 (1-0 Big South), while Longwood falls to 1-4 (0-1 Big South).
The Lady Flames took a 1-0 lead by sweeping the doubles matches. In the No. 3 position, the Liberty tandem of Cameron Richard and Valerie Thong breezed past Hannah Hill and Nicole Parker, 8-0, to improve to 3-2 on the season.
Playing as a doubles pair for the first time this season, Liberty's Rebekah Jenkins and Nicola Wellman ousted Allison Shulman and Marta Pinyol, 8-1, in the No. 1 spot. Jenkins and Wellman's win clinched the doubles point for the Lady Flames, marking the first match this season Liberty has earned the doubles tally.
Brittany Yang and Jessie Boda completed the doubles sweep for the Lady Flames, knocking off the Lancers' pair of Malin Allgurin and Sarah Moomau, 8-3.
Alexandra Sheeran, playing in the No. 4 spot, earned Liberty's first singles point of the afternoon, upping the Lady Flames' lead to 2-0. Sheeran rolled to a 6-0, 6-2 straight-set win over Moomau for her first victory of the year.
Wellman increased Liberty's lead to 3-0 with her second singles win of the season. The sophomore picked up a 6-2, 6-4 victory against Hill in the No. 5 position.
Longwood trimmed the Lady Flames' advantage to 3-1, after No. 3 player Allgurin defeated Yang, 6-2, 6-3.
The Lancers fought all the way back to knot the contest at three apiece by taking the next two contests. Shulman defeated Jenkins in three sets, 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 at the No. 2 position, before Parker came from a set down to defeat Boda, 1-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 in the No. 6 spot.
Richard clinched the victory for the Lady Flames, winning a marathon match which lasted over three hours. Liberty's No. 1 player took the first set against Pinyol, 7-6 (9-7), before dropping the second set, 5-7. The Lady Flames' junior finished the match strong, taking the final set 6-2 for her first win of the season. "I am so proud of the way our team fought for and supported each other today against a well-coached Longwood team," commented Maren. "We played outstanding in our doubles matches and Cam (Richard), Nicola and Ally (Sheeran) all played with confidence in their singles wins. This will most certainly give us confidence as we prepare for our next match."
Liberty will look to make it two wins in a row on Friday, when the Morgan State Bears come to the Hill City for a 2:30 p.m. match.
Liberty 4, Longwood 3 DOUBLES 1. Jenkins/Wellman (LU) def. Shulman/Pinyol (LW), 8-1 2. Boda/Yang (LU) def. Allgurin/Moomau (LW), 8-3 3. Thong/Richard (LU) def. Hill/Parker (LW), 8-0
SINGLES 1. Richard (LU) def. Pinyol (LW), 7-6 (9-7), 5-7, 6-2 2. Shulman (LW) def. Jenkins (LU), 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 3. Allgurin (LW) def. Yang (LU), 6-2, 6-3 4. Sheeran (LU) def. Moomau (LW), 6-0, 6-2 5. Wellman (LU) def. Hill (LW), 6-2, 6-4 6. Parker (LW) def. Boda (LU), 1-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4