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Flames Set for Road Contest at Elon, Wednesday

February 7, 2017  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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The Flames face Elon on Wednesday afternoon in their first road match of the year.

The Flames face Elon on Wednesday afternoon in their first road match of the year.

The Liberty men's tennis team will travel to Elon for its first road match of 2017, Wednesday afternoon.

The Flames (2-1) will take on the Phoenix (1-5) at 2 p.m. at the Jimmy Powell Tennis Center.

Elon owns an 8-2 advantage in the all-time series over Liberty. The Phoenix topped the Flames, 4-2, on Feb. 7, 2016 in Lynchburg in the last meeting between the two schools.

How to Follow the Flames
Live results, courtesy of Elon Athletics, will be available for the match. Find the link on the men's tennis schedule/results panel on LibertyFlames.com.

Flames Start Season 2-1
Liberty began its spring 2017 campaign on Jan. 28 with home victories over King and Bluefield State before losing to James Madison at home this past Saturday.

Sophomore Eddie Gutierrez and freshman Chase Burton each collected doubles and singles wins against King. The Flames bested the Tornado, 5-2.

In its second match of the day, Liberty edged Bluefield State, 4-3. Both Gutierrez and Burton contributed again with victories at doubles and singles, while junior captain Diego Castano clinched the match with a three-set victory.

This past Saturday, the Flames were topped by JMU, 4-3. Burton remained perfect this spring, winning in both matches to improve to 3-0 in both singles and doubles.

Road Contests Await
After opening the year with three home contests, the Flames will be on the road for the rest of the month of February. After the Elon match, they play at George Mason and at Navy on Friday and Saturday. Liberty will then play at N.C. Central and at Furman, Feb. 17 and 19.

Liberty's Big South Conference slate will start on March 1 vs. Longwood in Lynchburg.

Burton Garners Big South Honor, Continues Strong Play
Burton was named the Big South Freshman of the Week, last week by the league office.

He opened up his spring campaign with a pair of doubles wins and two singles wins over King and Bluefield State, Jan. 28.

This past Saturday, Burton earned a pair of wins over JMU.

Youth Being Served
Liberty's 2016-17 roster is made up 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 his first spring campaign ranked No. 19 in singles in the Atlantic Region, while Salas posted a team-best 8-4 mark in singles play during the fall. The Flames' strongest doubles pairing in the fall was Castano and Poynter, who went 6-1.

2017 Big South Outlook
The Flames (41 points) were picked to finish fourth in the Big South Conference men's tennis preseason poll. Winthrop (54 points) earned the top spot, followed by Presbyterian (52 points) and Campbell (50 points).

Gardner-Webb (35 points) was selected to finish fifth, followed by UNC Asheville (27 points), Radford (16 points) and Longwood (13 points).

Liberty's Big South schedule will start on March 1 vs. Longwood in Lynchburg. The 2017 Big South Men's Tennis Championship will be played at Wake Forest, April 19-21.

Scouting Elon
Elon comes into Wednesday's matchup with a 1-5 mark after setbacks to VCU, 4-3, and Old Dominion, 5-2, on Saturday and Sunday. Last spring, the Phoenix posted a 17-6 overall record.

Elon is coached by Michael Leonard, who is in his 12th season as the Elon University Director of Tennis and Head Men's Tennis Coach.

Leonard's squad includes one freshman, six sophomores, a redshirt junior and two seniors. Sophomore Felipe Sarrasague has played No. 1 singles so far this spring, going 2-3 in five matches.