Egon Samaai (pictured) posted a win in doubles play with partner Dillon Segur on Sunday afternoon.
Seeking back-to-back Big South wins, the Liberty men's tennis team squared off against the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon inside the Sports Racket. Gardner-Webb edged Liberty in doubles play and carried that momentum into four singles victories to give the visitors a 5-2 win over the Flames.
The loss drops Liberty to 8-9 overall and 1-3 in conference matches. Gardner-Webb improves to 9-10 this season and 1-3 in Big South play.
The Bulldogs notched the first point of the afternoon after collecting wins in the No. 1 and No. 3 doubles positions. At No. 1, Nikita Zverkov and Ernest Alberch knocked off the Flames' Jorge Azuero and Alejandro Llamas, 8-3.
Liberty's Egon Samaai and Dillon Segur collected their fourth consecutive victory and ninth overall with an 8-4 ousting of Pepe Batalla and Benjamin Kaszas in the No. 2 position.
In a thrilling contest, the Flames' Shea Thomas and Stan Vaughan were edged 8-7 (5) by Jonathan Walker and Brendan Dempsey at No. 3 to clinch the point for Gardner-Webb.
Thomas knotted the match at one apiece for Liberty with a victory in the No. 1 singles position. The senior made quick work of Kaszas, dropping only one game in a 6-0, 6-1 win. The victory improves Thomas to a team-best 10-6 on the season.
The Runnin' Bulldogs responded with four consecutive wins. Alberch defeated Vaughan, 6-2, 6-3, in the No. 3 position, before Walker knocked off Llamas, 6-4, 6-2, at No. 5.
Dempsey clipped Azuero, 7-6, 6-1, in the No. 4 spot to clinch the match for Gardner-Webb. Zverkov followed with a 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 ousting of Samaai at No. 2 to give the visitors the 5-1 lead.
Segur closed the afternoon with a come-from-behind victory in the No. 6 position for the Flames. The junior knocked off Batalla in three sets, 4-6, 6-2, 10-5.
Liberty returns to play tomorrow afternoon with a home match against UNC Asheville. The Flames and the Bulldogs will square off at 1 p.m. at the Hershey Tennis Courts.
Gardner-Webb 5, Liberty 2 DOUBLES 1. Nikita Zverkov/Ernest Alberch (GWU) def. Jorge Azuero/Alejandro Llamas (LU), 8-3 2. Egon Samaai/Dillon Segur (LU) def. Pepe Batalla/Benjamin Kaszas (GWU), 8-4 3. Jonathan Walker/Brendan Dempsey (GWU) def. Shea Thomas/Stan Vaughan (LU), 8-7 (5)
SINGLES 1. Shea Thomas (LU) def. Benjamin Kaszas (GWU), 6-0, 6-1 2. Nikita Zverkov (GWU) def. Egon Samaai (LU), 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 3. Ernest Alberch (GWU) def. Stan Vaughan (LU), 6-3, 6-3 4. Brendan Dempsey (GWU) def. Jorge Azuero (LU), 7-6, 6-1 5. Jonathan Walker (GWU) def. Alejandro Llamas (LU), 6-4, 6-2 6. Dillon Segur (LU) Pepe Batalla (GWU), 4-6, 6-2, 10-5