The Liberty men's tennis squad aims to get back to .500 with a win on Wednesday against conference foe Longwood. The match will serve as the Big South opener for the Flames and will be played at 2 p.m., in Farmville, Va.
2016 Season The Flames are off to a 4-5 start entering the mid-week contest. Liberty has won three of its last five matches, coming off its most recent victory against The Citadel on Feb. 21 by a score of 7-0 in Tallahassee, Fla.
Sam Matheson continues to lead the Flames' efforts this season. The New Zealand native has twice been named the Big South Men's Tennis Player of the Week (Feb. 10 & Feb. 17). Matheson is a modest 4-3 in doubles action but stands alone in singles play with a perfect 7-0 overall mark.
Mixing Things Up Liberty returns five players from last year's roster, including Sam Matheson and Egon Samaai. Matheson enters the season ranked as the No. 15 singles player in the Atlantic Region. The red and blue welcomed four freshmen in Max Borcuti, Eddie Gutierrez, Ryker Heller and Alex Poynter.
Chasing History Senior Egon Samaai currently ranks fourth on Liberty's all-time singles wins list (67) having recently passed former teammates Jorge Azuero and Dillon Segur. Samaai needs eight more wins this spring to pass former standout Siim Tuus for the most singles wins in program history. Samaai has also accounted for 68 career doubles wins, ranking fourth in program history. Samaai needs two more doubles wins to pass Tuus and move into third place all-time in program history with 70.
The Century Mark Head Coach Chris Johnson became the all-time winningest coach in Liberty men's tennis history on Jan. 30, reaching the century mark for his 100th career victory at the helm of the program. Johnson is the first coach in program history on either the men or women's side to reach 100 career victories with their respective team. The Hickory, N.C., native currently has 103 career victories with the Flames. Johnson also accounted for 64 victories as the coach of the women's program from 2007-2012.
Scouting the Opponent Longwood enters the mid-week contest with a 3-3 record, having won back-to-back contests against Christopher Newport (4-3) and West Virginia Wesleyan (4-3). The Lancers are 0-1 in Big South action, dropping their only conference match to Coastal Carolina on Feb. 13 by a score of 6-1 in Conway, S.C.
What's next? Following the mid-week battle, Liberty will return to action on Saturday when the Flames host UNC Asheville at noon. The contest will be played at the Cook Tennis Center, weather permitting.
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