Jorge Azuero (left) and Shea Thomas (right)
The Liberty men's tennis duo of Shea Thomas and Jorge Azuero saw their historical run at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships end on Friday at the rackets of the No. 1 ranked doubles team in the nation. Tennessee's Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese ousted the Liberty tandem, 8-3, at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
Thomas and Azuero jumped out to an early 3-2 lead, but Libietis and Reese tallied the match's next six points to claim the win.
"It's hard to see this run end for Shea and Jorge," commented Liberty head coach Chris Johnson. "They just kept rising to the challenge in front of them and getting better with every match. I'm so proud of them. We kept asking God for courage and He never let us down."
This fall, Thomas and Azuero have accomplished more than any other Flames' doubles pair in program history. They became the first duo to advance past the round of 32 at the ITA Atlantic Regional. Thomas and Azuero didn't settle for just an appearance in the round of 16, though. The senior and junior tandem went the distance, winning the title against 17th ranked Andreas Bjerrehus and Amerigo Contini of Virginia Tech.
Yesterday, Thomas and Azuero ousted another nationally ranked team, defeating Memphis' No. 18 ranked David O'Hare and Joe Salisbury in the round of 16 to make it to today's quarterfinal match.
Thomas and Azuero finish the fall season with a 12-3 record and will likely become the first Flames' tandem in program history to receive a national ranking when the new polls are released in January.