Castano gritted out a three-set victory on Friday.
Liberty men's tennis players Diego Castano, Eddie Gutierrez and Vince Salas won one match apiece on the first day of the Wake Forest Fall Invitational, Friday at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex.
"Our guys competed hard today. We have to be concerned with problem solving way more than we are concerned with playing well," said Liberty head coach Derek Schwandt. "I was impressed with Diego's response in his second match of the day, toughing out a three-set battle after dropping a close second set."
Castano's gritty three-set victory came in a consolation match of the B2 singles draw against Charlotte's Leo Menezes. After taking the first set, 6-4, Castano looked to close out Menezes, but Menezes won in a tiebreaker, 7-6 (4), forcing a third set. In the last set, Castano battled to a 6-4 victory and 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-4 win.
The Statesville, N.C., native owns seven singles triumphs in his final campaign. He will meet Davidson's David Hager in a match tomorrow.
Gutierrez also played in the B2 singles draw. The junior rebounded from a first-set loss to Tennessee Tech's Gonzalo Garcia to take the match, 5-7, 7-5, 6-2. Gutierrez leads all Liberty players with nine singles victories, this season. He dropped a tough three-set match to Gardner-Webb's Breno Plentz (7-5, 2-6, 7-5), later in the day. As a part of the fifth place bracket, Gutierrez will square off with Mercer's Stathis Tsurandis on day two of tournament action.
Salas entered the tournament in the B1 singles flight. The sophomore fell in a lengthy three-set bout, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (5) to Edu Villar of Wofford in his first match. The Angeles, Philippines, native then took down Mercer's Ruben Van Oppen, 6-4, 6-4 in his second match of the day. Salas, who now has eight singles victories in his second season, will meet Axel Fries of Davidson in a match on Saturday.
Day two of the Wake Forest Invite resumes on Saturday at 9 a.m.