After dropping the doubles point in two matches, the No. 2 seed Liberty Flames men's tennis squad could not overcome the early deficit, losing to No. 3 seed Winthrop, by a score of 4-0 in the Big South Championship semifinals on Monday afternoon at the Asheville Indoor Racquet Club.
With the loss, Liberty finishes the season with a 14-10 overall record, while Winthrop improves to 13-8 and will take on No. 4 seed Campbell in tomorrow's Big South Championship finals match at noon.
The Eagles captured the doubles point following wins from the No. 1 and No. 3 doubles positions. Joshua Ryan and Michael Chen bested Diego Castano and Jason Burgess, 8-6 to begin doubles play for Winthrop. Meanwhile, Dylan Comerford and Peter Nagovnak were mounting a comeback after being down 5-2 in the set to Egon Samaai and Sam Matheson. The Liberty duo surrendered the set, losing 8-6 to fall behind 1-0 in the overall score.
Winthrop extended its lead to 2-0 after Chen downed freshman David Bush in consecutive sets, 6-3, 6-1 from the No. 6 singles spot.
Winthrop's Comerford provided the Eagles with their third point of the match from the No. 2 singles court. Comerford bested Azuero in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4 to take the three-point advantage.
The Eagles completed the sweep when Steven Patrick bested Samaai in straight sets from the No. 3 singles slot. After dropping the first set, 6-3, Samaai forced three consecutive match points before Patrick pulled ahead to win the set 6-4, and the match 4-0 in favor of Winthrop.
"This was an awesome year for Liberty men's tennis," stated head coach Chris Johnson. "It's always hard to see our seniors go but we couldn't be more proud of them and the effort and leadership they provided."
Winthrop 4, Liberty 0