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Flames Picked to Finish Fourth in Big South Preseason Poll

January 11, 2017  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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The Liberty men’s tennis team was picked to finish fourth in the Big South Conference men’s tennis preseason poll.

The Liberty men's tennis team was picked to finish fourth in the Big South Conference men's tennis preseason poll.

The Liberty men's tennis team has been selected to finish fourth in the Big South Conference men's tennis preseason poll, as voted on by the league's head coaches.

The Flames garnered one first-place vote and 41 points in the poll. Winthrop picked up three first-place votes and 54 points overall to earn the top spot, followed by Presbyterian (two first-place votes, 52 points) and Campbell (two first-place votes, 50 points). Gardner-Webb (35 points) was picked to finish fifth, followed by UNC Asheville (27 points), Radford (16 points) and Longwood (13 points).

In the spring of 2016, Liberty finished with an 11-11 mark and 4-4 record in Big South play. Head coach Chris Johnson eclipsed the century mark in victories for his career, and Sam Matheson was named the Big South Men's Tennis Player of the Year.

The Flames garnered the No. 5 seed for the 2016 Big South Men's Tennis Championship. Liberty bested No. 4 seed Garner-Webb, 4-0, in the quarterfinals before falling to No. 1 seed and eventual champion Coastal Carolina. The Chanticleers are no longer in the conference, as they joined the Sun Belt Conference.

Liberty's roster is comprised of three freshmen (Samuel Brown, Chase Burton and Vince Salas), four sophomores (Max Borcuti, Eddie Gutierrez, Ryker Heller and Alex Poynter) and a junior (Diego Castano). Burton enters the spring as the No. 19 singles player in the Atlantic Region in the Oracle/ITA Division I Regional Rankings that were released last week. 

Liberty begins its 2016 schedule at the Crosswhite Athletic Club (formerly the Sports Racket) in Lynchburg with a doubleheader on Jan. 28 against King (2 p.m.) and Bluefield State (6 p.m.).

The Flames open Big South play on March 1 against Longwood. The 2017 Big South Men's Tennis Championship will be held at Wake Forest from April 19-21.

1. Winthrop (3) 54
2. Presbyterian (2) 52
3. Campbell (2) 50
4. Liberty (1) 41
5. Gardner-Webb 35
6. UNC Asheville 27
7. Radford 16
8. Longwood 13