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Flames Sail Past Pirates on Sunday

March 20, 2016  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Samaai clinched the match for Liberty after his three-set victory over Anghel, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Samaai clinched the match for Liberty after his three-set victory over Anghel, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.

The Liberty Flames tennis squad earned a convincing 4-2 victory over East Carolina on Sunday afternoon at the Sports Racket, its first-ever victory over the Pirates.

With the win, the Flames improved to .500 on the season with a 7-7 record. Today's match was Liberty's first contest since March 10. ECU falls to 8-7 on the season following the loss.

Sam Matheson and Egon Samaai began doubles play with a key 6-4 victory over Tendai Tapfuma and James Ling from the No. 1 doubles position.

After ECU claimed the win at the No. 2 doubles slot, Eddie Gutierrez and Alex Poynter clinched the doubles point for the Flames with the freshmen duo besting Ronny Georgi and Kasey Countee by the score of 6-4, giving Liberty the early 1-0 advantage.

Fredric Lehfeldt evened the match at one apiece after he defeated Diego Castano in straight sets from the No. 5 singles position, 6-2, 6-4.

Following Lehfeldt's victory, Gutierrez notched a straight-set victory of his own at No. 4 single to place the Flames back on top 2-1, a lead they would not relinquish. The Mexico native defeated Georgi, 6-2, 6-1, notching his seventh singles victory of the season.

Liberty saw its lead grow to two after Matheson collected his 12th victory of the spring season, improving to 12-0 on the year. The New Zealand native relinquished a 5-2 lead in the first set but withstood Tapfuma's rally to win the first frame in a tiebreaker 7-6(1). With the momentum back in the favor of the Liberty junior, Matheson cruised to a 6-1 victory in the second set to win from the No. 1 singles position and extend the Flames' overall lead to 3-1.

Countee cut the deficit in half for the Pirates, notching a 6-3, 7-6(5) victory over Poynter from the No. 2 singles slot.

The match was clinched in favor of Liberty when Samaai rallied to win a three-set match from the No. 3 singles position. Samaai dropped the first set to Vlad Anghel, 6-1. The South African native then rebounded to win the second set 6-3 to even the set scores at one apiece. Samaai and Anghel battled toe-to-toe through the first five games of the third set with Samaai taking a 3-2 advantage. The Liberty senior was able to separate himself from Anghel by taking the next game and then used the momentum to win the final two frames to claim the set 6-2, clinching the overall match for the red and blue.

David Bush was ahead of Will Bissett in the No. 6 singles position by the score of 2-1 in the first set. The match was called following Liberty's match-clinching victory by Samaai.

"Today was a real quality win," stated head coach Chris Johnson. "The guys put a lot together today and executed well under pressure. That's a great sign moving into conference matches the rest of the week."

The Flames return to action on Tuesday when they host Winthrop at 2 p.m. at the Cook Tennis Center. Liberty will then take on Presbyterian in Clinton, S.C., on Thursday at 1 p.m.

Liberty 4, East Carolina 2
Doubles          

  1. Matheson/Samaai (LU) def. Tapfuma/Ling (ECU), 6-4
  2. Lehfeldt/Anghel (ECU) def. Castano/Bush (LU), 6-3
  3. Gutierrez/Poynter (LU) def. Georgi/Countee (ECU), 6-4

Singles

  1. Matheson (LU) def. Tapfuma (ECU), 7-6(7-1), 6-1
  2. Countee (ECU) def. Poynter (LU), 6-3, 7-6(7-5)
  3. Samaai (LU) def. Anghel (ECU), 1-6, 6-3, 6-2
  4. Gutierrez (LU) def. Georgi (ECU), 6-2, 6-1
  5. Lehfeldt (ECU) def. Castano (LU), 6-2, 6-4
  6. Bush (LU) def. Bissett (ECU), 2-1, unfinished