The Liberty Lady Flames tennis squad split six results in the first round of the ITA Atlantic Regional. Sophomore transfer Emily Groeneveld stole the show for the Lady Flames in the qualifying rounds of singles competition.
Groeneveld's first obstacle, Sophie Panarese haled from Georgetown but was no match for the young transfer. Groeneveld dispatched Panarese in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3 and carried the momentum over into the next round against Katherine Castro of Pittsburgh. Groeneveld went toe-to-toe with Castro in the first set, squeaking out a 6-4 victory. However, the transfer sophomore used the close first set to fuel herself in the second set, defeating Castro handily, 6-1. Groeneveld joins teammates Maria Khval, Mariely Hassey and Belen Rivera tomorrow in the main singles draw round of 64.
"At the start of the first match I wasn't feeling on top of my game; I found a way to win but wasn't pleased with my play," commented Groeneveld. "I came out the second match determined to step my game up. I felt confident and I'm excited to take on my next competitor tomorrow."
Freshman Evangeline Crist and teammate Valerie Thong paired up to record the lone doubles win for the Lady Flames. The dynamic duo teamed up to down UMBC's Alice Taylor and Hanna Victorsson by a score of 8-1. The Liberty tandem joins the team of Khval/Groeneveld who advanced after being granted a first round bye.
"We struggled to find our games today, but managed to compete hard," commented Liberty Women's Tennis Head Coach Jeff Maren. "I was proud of Emily; she believed in herself andwsa able to produce wins despite not always being able to play well."
The second round of the ITA Atlantic Regional begins tomorrow at 9 a.m. with doubles competition, featuring two pairs of Lady Flames. Singles play will shortly follow the conclusion of doubles play as four of the Liberty women's tennis squad look to advance further into the main draw.