After recording an unprecedented fall season, the Liberty men's tennis duo of Shea Thomas and Jorge Azuero is ranked No. 26 in the first ITA doubles poll of the new year. Thomas and Azuero become the first Flames in program history to earn either a doubles or singles national ranking and become the highest ranked doubles team in Big South history.
In the Atlantic Region, Thomas and Azuero are ranked No. 2, one spot behind Andreas Bjerrehus and Amerigo Contini of Virginia Tech, a tandem they defeated to win the ITA regional title in October. The Liberty pair is also ranked just ahead of No. 1 Virginia's top doubles team of Mitchell Frank and Mac Styslinger.
Thomas and Azuero's ranking comes on the heels of the program's first ITA Atlantic Regional doubles title. The tandem knocked off then No. 17 Bjerrehus and Contini. The regional title earned Thomas and Azuero a berth in the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships in Flushing, N.Y. In their first match in Flushing, Thomas and Azuero upset David O'Hare and Joe Salisbury of Memphis, who are ranked No. 3 nationally in the latest poll.
Thomas and Azuero concluded the fall season with a 12-3 doubles record. In addition to their title at the ITA Atlantic Regional, Thomas and Azuero recorded a title at the UVA Fall Classic and a second place finish at the Wake Forest Fall Invite.
In the singles poll, Thomas earns his first ever regional ranking, coming in at No. 19. Thomas posted nine singles wins this fall, passing Chad Simpson for third place on the Flames' career wins list.
Thomas and Azuero along with the rest of the Flames open the 2014 spring season on Jan. 18 against Morehead State. The match will take place at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.
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