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Flames to Face a Challenging Set of Opponents This Week

February 6, 2014  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty freshman Alejandro Llamas.

Liberty freshman Alejandro Llamas.

The Liberty men's tennis team puts its 2-0 record to the test this week with a pair of challenging road contests. The Flames face William & Mary this evening before playing the first of two nationally ranked opponents on their schedule in LSU (No. 27) on Saturday. Both matches are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Eastern.

Live stats for the both matches will be available by clicking the live stats links located on the men's tennis schedule/results page located on Live stats will be provided courtesy of William & Mary's Media Relations office on Thursday and the LSU Sports Information department on Saturday.

Liberty is looking to start 3-0 for the second consecutive season and just the second time overall in program history. Liberty is seeking its first-ever win against William & Mary, falling in the previous four meetings. In 2013, The Tribe ended the Flames' bid to reach 4-0 for the first time in program history with a 4-2 victory. Liberty and LSU will be meeting for the first time.

Last time out, the Flames knocked off Bluefield State, 5-2, in their home opener on Jan. 31. Liberty swept the doubles matches, before collecting wins in the No. 1 through No. 4 singles positions.

Through two matches, the Flames are a combined 9-3 in singles contests and 5-1 in doubles tilts. Four players, Shea Thomas, Jorge Azuero, Egon Samaai and Alejandro Llamas, are 2-0 each in singles play. In doubles action, the Flames' No. 26 ranked pair of Thomas and Azuero paces the squad with a pair of victories. With a win versus Bluefield State, Thomas became the second player in program history to record 75 career doubles victories.

The Tribe is riding a three-match winning streak following victories over South Carolina State, Temple and Howard last weekend, which evened its season mark at 5-5. Damon Niquet and Ben Guthrie are tied for the team lead with 6-2 singles records. William & Mary's No. 1 doubles tandem of Aaron Chaffee and Will Juggins paces the squad with a 5-2 record. As a team, the Tribe is 31-26 in singles play and 15-7 in doubles tilts.

No. 27 LSU is looking to get back on the winning track after dropping its last two matches. The Tigers opened the year with a 4-3 win over Rice, before falling to No. 19 Wake Forest and No. 15 Vanderbilt by identical 4-1 scores. LSU will host North Florida at noon on Saturday before facing the Flames that same evening. No. 72 ranked Chris Simpson is 1-1 this season, playing each match at the No. 1 position. The Tigers have two nationally ranked doubles pairs in Eric Perez and Tam Trinh (No. 46) and Simpson and Boris Arias (No. 60).

Following Saturday's match, Liberty treks across the country to the Pacific Northwest to face a trio of opponents in Portland, Ore. The Flames open the trip with a match against Lewis & Clark on Feb. 14.