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Rattlers Squeeze Ahead of Flames

February 19, 2016  Tallahassee, Fla.  RSS
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Rattlers Squeeze Ahead of Flames

The Liberty men's tennis squad fell to Florida A&M by a score of 5-2 in the first of the Flames' three matches to be played this weekend in Tallahassee, Fla.

The Flames fall to 3-4 following the defeat, while the Rattlers improve to 2-6 on the season.

Florida A&M captured the doubles point from the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles spots, respectively. Courage Okungbowa and Illya Skoromnyy bested the Liberty freshman duo of Eddie Gutierrez and Ryker Heller, 6-2, in the No. 2 doubles position. Immediately after the Rattlers' first victory, Jalen Evans and Karlyn Small bested Diego Castano and David Bush by a score of 6-3 at No. 3 to claim the early 1-0 advantage.

The Rattlers bested the Flames in four of the six singles slots, with each victory coming in straight sets for Florida A&M.

Sam Matheson continued his hot start to the season, defeating Okungbowa in three sets to remain perfect in singles play. The New Zealand native slipped in the first set by a score of 6-3 but bounced back to claim the final two by scores of 7-5, 10-5. With the win, Matheson improved his record in singles action to 6-0.

Gutierrez joined Matheson as the other Flame to capture a victory in today's event. The Mexico native bested Evans in straight sets, 6-0, 6-3.

"Credit to them for playing well," stated head coach Chris Johnson. "They brought a bigger energy than we did today and took the doubles point because of it. We need to get better at starting the match. That will be our focus in the short term."

Liberty returns to action tomorrow at 10 a.m. when the Flames take on No. 25 Florida State in match two of this weekend's three-match swing.

Florida A&M 5, Liberty 2
Doubles          

  1. Matheson/Samaai (LU) vs. Espinoza/Waitman (FAMU), 4-4 unfinished
  2. Okungbowa/Skoromnyy (FAMU) def. Gutierrez/Heller (LU), 6-2
  3. Evans/Small (FAMU) def. Castano/Bush (LU), 6-3

Singles

  1. Matheson (LU) def. Okungbowa (FAMU), 3-6, 7-5, 10-5
  2. Small (FAMU) def. Samaai (LU), 7-6(5), 6-0
  3. Waitman (FAMU) def. Poynter (LU), 6-3, 6-4
  4. Espinoza (FAMU) def. Castano (LU), 6-4, 6-3
  5. Gutierrez (LU) def. Evans (FAMU), 6-0, 6-3
  6. Skoromnyy (FAMU) def. Bush (LU), 6-4, 6-3
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