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Strong Singles Play Lifts Hokies to Victory over Flames

January 19, 2018  Blacksburg, Va.  RSS
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The Flames dropped their season-opening match at Virginia Tech on Friday.

The Flames dropped their season-opening match at Virginia Tech on Friday.

The Virginia Tech Hokies bested the Liberty Flames, 6-1, on Friday at the Burrows-Burleson Tennis Center in both teams' spring season openers.

The Hokies used a strong singles session, which featured six straight-sets victories, to win the overall match.

With the win, the Hokies improve to 1-0, while the Flames drop to 0-1 with the setback.

The Flames got off to a strong by winning the doubles point. The Hokies' No. 1 pairing of Mitch Harper and Alexandre Ribeiro took down Liberty's No. 1 unit of Diego Castano and Alex Poynter, 6-1.

However, the other two doubles matches went Liberty's way. Despite falling into a 2-0 hole against the Hokies' Jason Kros and Ryan Kros, Eddie Gutierrez and Vince Salas worked their way back into the match, tying it at 3-3. The Flames' No. 2 duo completed the rally by taking the next three games to prevail, 6-3.

Meanwhile, the No. 3 tandem of Chase Burton and Sam Matheson led, 5-1, in their match against the host's Carlo Donato and Henrik Korsgaard. Donato and Korsgaard took the next game to bring it to 5-2, but Burton and Matheson closed out the match in the next game for a 6-2 triumph.

In singles, the Hokies evened the match at 1-1 with No. 97 Ribeiro's straight-sets triumph (6-2, 6-0) over Burton in a rematch of a quarterfinal match between the two from the 2017 ITA Atlantic Regional.

On court four, Virginia Tech's Donato needed two sets to take down Liberty's Salas, 6-3, 6-2. Donato's win provided the Hokies a 2-1 overall lead. In the No. 2 singles match, No. 80 Jason Kros gritted out a 6-4 first set victory against Gutierrez after trailing, 3-2, and went on to win the second set, 6-2, and the match (6-4, 6-2). Kros' victory brought the Hokies' edge to 3-1 and within a point of victory.

The match on court six between Castano (Liberty) and George Cartledge (Virginia Tech) proved to be the deciding point. Castano fell, 6-1, in the first set and trailed, 4-1, in the second set before mounting a comeback. The Flames senior captured the next three games to even the set at 4-4, but Cartledge won the final two games for a 6-4 second-set victory and 6-1, 6-4 triumph. The redshirt senior's victory gave the Hokies their fourth point of the day and a 4-1 lead.

Shortly after, No. 68 Harper (Virginia Tech) closed out Matheson (Liberty), winning 6-3, 6-4 to push the advantage to 5-1.

Finally, court five featured the longest match, with Chase Bernstine topping Poynter in two sets, 7-5, 7-6 (8). Bernstine erased a 5-2 deficit in the first set and took the next five games. He also trailed, 6-5, in the second set and 8-7 in the tiebreaker before pulling out the victory. The freshman's win settled the final score at 6-1.

Liberty will be back in action tonight at the Burrows-Burleson Tennis Center against North Carolina A&T. First serve is slated for 6 p.m. Visit LibertyFlames.com/menstennis for links to live video streaming and live scoring.