Liberty sophomore Egon Samaai
The 2014 Liberty men's tennis season gets under way on Saturday with a neutral site contest versus the Morehead State Eagles. The match will take place at the Greenbriar Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., beginning at 1 p.m.
The Flames are looking for their third consecutive victory in season openers and 13th victory overall. Last season, Liberty blanked Bluefield State, 7-0, in Lynchburg. This will be the first match ever between the Flames and the Eagles. Liberty is 1-1 all-time in contests versus members of the Ohio Valley Conference.
Liberty posted an 11-11 overall record and a 3-5 mark in Big South contests, last season. The Flames notched impressive results during the recently completed fall tournament schedule. Shea Thomas and Jorge Azuero headlined the fall season with the program's first ever ITA Atlantic Regional doubles title. Overall, the tandem notched 12 wins, including a win over the current No. 3 team from Memphis. For their efforts, Thomas and Azuero earned a No. 26 national ranking in the latest ITA Men's Tennis rankings.
In singles play, Thomas led the squad with nine victories during the fall. In the latest ITA rankings, the senior earned his first ever regional ranking, coming in at No. 19 in the Atlantic Region. Junior Dillon Segur ranked second on the team with eight singles wins, while Azuero finished third with seven victories.
Morehead State went 8-13 (4-5 OVC) overall last spring. The Eagles face No. 48 Louisville today before challenging the Flames tomorrow. Morehead State's No. 1 singles player from last season, Ji Hoon Heo, returns for his senior season after posting eight wins during the 2013 spring campaign. Giovanni Samaha recorded the most singles wins for the Eagles last year, notching 11 victories in the No. 3 and No. 4 spots. In doubles play, Heo and Nick Mercer return after earning five wins in the top position.
Following tomorrow's match, the Flames welcome Bluefield State to Lynchburg for their home opener on Jan. 31. The contest will take place indoors at the Sports Racket, beginning at 6 p.m.
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