Seniors Cameron Richard (pictured), Annisha Domenech and Rebekah Jenkins concluded their Liberty careers on Thursday.
The Liberty women's tennis team saw its bid to reach the Big South Championship title match for the first time in program history fall short on Thursday afternoon as the No. 3 seed Lady Flames fell to No. 2 seed Winthrop, 4-0.
"I think that we really played well today, but we just faced a better team," commented Liberty head coach Jeff Maren. "Our heart and our effort was there and we put everything we had into this match. Winthrop just outplayed us today and there is nothing to hang our heads about. We all competed all the way and that is all you can ask for as a coach. I think the future is bright for our program and I am looking forward to what next year holds for us."
With the loss, Liberty concludes its season at 15-9, tying the program's single-season record for victories. The Lady Flames have now posted a double-digit win total for the fourth consecutive season, which is the longest streak in Liberty history. The Eagles improve to 17-4 on the season and advance to tomorrow's title match against top seed Charleston Southern. Winthrop, winners of six consecutive conference titles, will be making its 13th consecutive appearance in the conference championship match.
Winthrop escaped with the doubles point after pulling out hard-fought wins in the No. 1 and No. 3 positions. At No. 1 Alice and Andressa Garcia held off Liberty's Rebekah Jenkins and Maria Khval, 8-6, before Tijana Uzelac and Beth Williamson outlasted the Lady Flames' Cameron Richard and Valerie Thong, 8-6, in the No. 3 spot.
The No. 2 contest featuring Liberty's Brittany Yang and Belen Rivera and Winthrop's Caitlin Cridland and Ekin Gunaysu was ruled unfinished with the Eagles on top, 7-5.
The Eagles opened singles competition with victories in the top two positions. At No. 2, Alice Garcia bested Jenkins in straight sets, 6-3, 6-0. In the No. 1 spot, Andressa Garcia dealt Rivera her first loss of the season as the top player, 6-1, 7-5, putting Winthrop ahead, 3-0.
Winthrop closed out the contest when Monica Aguado knocked off Liberty's Nicola Wellman, 6-3, 6-0, in the No. 6 position.
The final three contests, featuring Khval at No. 3, Yang at No. 4 and Hassey at No. 5, were ruled unfinished.
The match served as the final contest for Liberty seniors Annisha Domenech, Rebekah Jenkins and Cameron Richard.
Winthrop 4, Liberty 0 DOUBLES 1. Alice Garcia/Andressa Garcia (WU) def. Rebekah Jenkins/Maria Khval (LU), 8-6 2. Brittany Yang/Belen Rivera (LU) vs. Caitlin Cridland/Ekin Gunaysu (WU), 5-7 unfinished 3. Tijana Uzelac/Beth Williamson (WU) def. Cameron Richard/Valerie Thong (LU), 8-6
SINGLES 1. Andressa Garcia (WU) def. Belen Rivera (LU), 6-1, 7-5 2. Alice Garcia (WU) def. Rebekah Jenkins (LU), 6-3, 6-0 3. Maria Khval (LU) vs. Caitlin Cridland (WU), 6-7 (7-9), 2-1 unfinished 4. Brittany Yang (LU) vs. Tijana Uzelac (WU), 6-3, 3-6, 3-1 unfinished 5. Mariely Hassey (LU) vs. Ekin Gunaysu (WU), 3-6, 5-6 unfinished 6. Monica Aguado (WU) def. Nicola Wellman (LU), 6-3, 6-0