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Liberty Men's Tennis Bests NC A&T, 6-1, for 1st Win of 2018

January 19, 2018  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Gutierrez and the Flames topped North Carolina A&T, 6-1, on Friday night.

Gutierrez and the Flames topped North Carolina A&T, 6-1, on Friday night.

Liberty men's tennis took control of the match early and rolled to a 6-1 victory over North Carolina A&T, Friday evening at Virginia Tech's Burrows-Burleson Tennis Center.

Liberty took the doubles point and won five of six singles bouts in a winning effort.

The victory boosts the Flames' record to 1-1, while the Aggies fall to 0-2. Friday night's victory was the first career win for first-year head coach Derek Schwandt.

"Our guys fought hard from start to finish," Schwandt said. "We will build on this and get ready for our home opener versus Richmond, next Friday at 4 p.m. indoors."

Liberty swept the three doubles matches to take the doubles point for the second time today, also doing so against Virginia Tech earlier in the day. Flames junior Eddie Gutierrez and sophomore Vince Salas, playing in the No. 2 slot, picked up their second doubles triumph of the day, defeating the Aggies' Adair Bartra and Jorge Goenaga, 6-1.

The Flames clinched the doubles point in the No. 1 singles match from senior Diego Castano and junior Alex Poynter. Leading 2-0 over Nicolas Arduh and Hayden Faulkenbury, the Flames broke serve to take a commanding 3-0 advantage.

Poynter served the Flames to a 4-0 lead, and they broke serve once again to lead 5-0. In the final game, Castano's ace ended the match, 6-0, and put Liberty ahead, 1-0, overall. Poynter and Castano lead the Flames with six doubles victories, this season.

The No. 3 doubles match between Chase Burton and Samuel Brown (Liberty) and John Wilson IV and Jordan Lawrence (NC A&T) went to the Flames' pairing, 6-2.

In singles, Gutierrez controlled his match against Barta on court two, only dropping one game in a 6-0, 6-1 victory. The Mexico City, Mexico native's first win of the spring pushed the Liberty lead to 2-0.

The Flames' Burton dominated his first set against Wilson IV, 6-0, but trailed, 3-2, in the second set. The sophomore rallied to take the next four games and the match, 6-0, 6-4. The Naples, Florida, native's win in the No. 3 position brought Liberty to within a point (3-0) of securing a victory.

After resting during the doubles session, senior Sam Matheson faced NC A&T's Arduh in the No. 1 singles match. Matheson won in straight sets (6-2, 6-3) for his first victory of the year. The Tauranga, New Zealand, native's point sealed the match for the Flames, bringing the score to 4-0.

Flames junior Max Borcuti sat out the first three sessions of the day before facing Jordan Lawrence on court six. Borcuti trailed, 5-2, in the opening set before a furious comeback. The Canada native captured the next five games to take the first set, 7-5. In total, the Liberty junior won seven straight games, building up a 2-0 second-set lead on his way to a 7-5, 6-2 victory in the match.

Salas (Liberty) and Faulkenbury (NC A&T) played a closely contested match. In both sets, Salas led, 5-4, and pulled out each set, 6-4, for a 6-4, 6-4 triumph. The Philippines native's win brought the overall score to 6-0 in favor of the Flames.

The last match to finish was between Castano (Liberty) and Goenaga (NC A&T). Goenaga dominated the first set, 6-1, but Castano clawed back into the match with a 6-4 second-set win, to force a third-set 10-point tiebreaker.

The Liberty senior trailed, 6-4, in the tiebreaker but took four of the next five points to lead, 8-7. However, Goenaga grinded out the next three points for a 6-1, 4-6, 1-0 (10-8) win to settle the score at 6-1.

The Flames are now 15-0 in the all-time series with the Aggies.

The Flames will be back in action next Friday, Jan. 26 for their home opener against the Richmond Spiders. The match will begin at 4 p.m. at Crosswhite Athletic Club in Lynchburg.