Belen Rivera delivered the clinching point on Wednesday against Radford.
After dropping a tight point in doubles play, the No. 3 seed Liberty women's tennis team stormed back with four consecutive wins in singles action to defeat No. 6 seed Radford, 4-1, in the quarterfinals of the Big South Women's Tennis Championship. The Lady Flames advance to tomorrow's semifinals where they will face No. 2 seed Winthrop at 3:30 p.m.
With the win, Liberty improves to 15-8 on the season. The 15 victories tie the Lady Flames' program single-season record for wins, which was set in both 2009 and 2011. The Highlanders conclude their season at 10-13.
Doubles play opened with Liberty posting a dominating win in the No. 3 position. Cameron Richard and Valerie Thong breezed past Gisela Garcia and Taylor Fay, 8-1. The win ups Richard and Thong's record to 10-1 on the year.
Radford rallied with wins in the remaining two matches to clinch the first point of the contest. At No. 1, Taylor Newman and Gemma Valls downed Rebekah Jenkins and Maria Khval, 8-5, before Meg Napolitano and Grace Sarver edged the Lady Flames' Brittany Yang and Belen Rivera in a tight match, 8-7 (8-6).
As the match turned to singles play, Mariely Hassey began to turn the momentum in favor of the Lady Flames. At No. 5, the freshman rolled past Garcia, 6-1, 6-1, tying the contest at one apiece.
Yang and Khval also notched straight-set wins in the No. 4 and No. 5 positions, respectively, giving Liberty a commanding 3-1 advantage. Yang downed Sarver, 6-2, 6-2, while Khval ousted Napolitano, 6-1, 6-4.
Rivera closed out the contest with a commanding 6-2, 6-1 win in the No. 1 spot over Valls. The victory improves the Liberty sophomore to 5-0 in the top position this season.
"The girls started doubles very well but then let the point go," commented Liberty assistant coach Giancarlo Lemmi. We rebounded nicely in singles. We won five out of the first six sets, showing great resilience. We can't wait to face Winthrop tomorrow."
Liberty 4, Radford 1 DOUBLES 1. Taylor Newman/Gemma Valls (RU) def. Rebekah Jenkins/Maria Khval (LU), 8-5 2. Meg Napolitano/Grace Sarver (RU) def. Brittany Yang/Belen Rivera (LU), 8-7 3. Cameron Richard/Valerie Thong (LU) def. Gisela Garcia/Taylor Fay (RU), 8-1
SINGLES 1. Belen Rivera (LU) def. Gemma Valls (RU), 6-2, 6-1 2. Rebekah Jenkins (LU) vs. Taylor Newman (RU), 6-7 (5-7), 3-1 DNF 3. Maria Khval (LU) def. Meg Napolitano (RU), 6-1, 6-4 4. Brittany Yang (LU) def. Grace Sarver (RU), 6-2, 6-2 5. Mariely Hassey (LU) def. Gisela Garcia (RU), 6-1, 6-1 6. Nicola Wellman (LU) vs. Sara Andrade (RU), 6-1, 4-3 DNF