The Liberty Flames men's tennis squad fell in Big South play for the first time this season, dropping a 5-2 decision on the road against UNC Asheville, Friday afternoon. With the loss, Liberty falls to 10-7 and 3-1 in conference play while the Bulldogs improve to 10-4 including a 2-2 conference mark.
Asheville clinched the doubles point after winning two of the three doubles showdowns. The Bulldogs claimed the No. 1 and 3 doubles matches, respectively.
The Flames' lone doubles win came from the duo of Sam Matheson and Jorge Azuero, downing John Schubel and Thomas Panoulas by a score of 8-5. The Flames' tandem improves to 6-2 on the year after their strong showing.
Asheville's Daniel Kripak defeated Liberty's co-captain Dillon Segur in three hard-fought sets, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 to extend the Bulldogs lead to 2-0.
Matheson notched the Flames' first point after dropping Panoulas from the No. 2 singles slot, 6-0, 6-0. The New Zealand native's victory tied him with Egon Samaai for the Flames' most singles wins on the season with 11.
Azuero carried his doubles momentum with him to singles play, besting Josh Swindler in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3. Azuero's victory squared the match at 2-2 with three singles contests left to play.
The Bulldogs claimed each of the three remaining singles matches, but not without a fight. Schubel was able to defeat David Bush in straight sets from the No. 6 spot, 6-1, 6-3.
Alex Croker then sealed the victory for Asheville, dropping Samaai in three closely contested sets. Croker claimed the first set, 6-4 before falling to the South Africa native in the second set, 6-3. Samaai faltered in the third set, 6-3, giving the Bulldogs the 4-2 lead.
With the match in hand, Brett Landau clinched the final singles match from the No. 5 singles slot after defeating Diego Castano, 5-7, 7-6, 1-0.
Liberty returns to action tomorrow when the Flames travel to Boiling Springs, N.C., to take on the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs at 11 a.m.
UNC Asheville 5, Liberty 2