Liberty will be facing both Auburn and Kennesaw State for the first time in program history. The Flames face the Tigers on Friday evening and the Owls on Sunday morning.
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Liberty men's tennis is slated to begin the month of February in Alabama and Georgia with road bouts at Auburn and Kennesaw State, this weekend.
Liberty (1-2) will take on the Auburn Tigers (4-2) on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Yarbrough Tennis Center in Auburn, Ala. Following Friday evening's bout with the Tigers, the Flames will head to Georgia for a Sunday morning (9 a.m.) tilt with the Kennesaw State Owls (0-1). The match will be contested at Life Time Athletic and Tennis in Peachtree Corners, Ga.
"We are excited about hitting the road to compete against two solid teams," stated Liberty head coach Derek Schwandt. "I'm proud of how hard the guys have worked to prepare."
Series History Liberty will be facing both Auburn and Kennesaw State for the first time in program history.
How to Follow the Flames Live scoring for Friday evening's match between the Flames and Auburn Tigers will be available, courtesy of Auburn Athletics. Find the link for live results on the Liberty men's tennis schedule page on LiberyFlames.com.
Additionally, Kennesaw State Athletics will be providing live results via StatBroadcast for Sunday's match between Liberty and Kennesaw State.
Early Season Update The Flames collected a neutral-site victory versus North Carolina A&T (Jan. 19) while suffering setbacks to Virginia Tech (Jan. 19) and Richmond (Jan. 26). Liberty won the doubles point and took five of the final singles bouts en route to a 6-1 victory over North Carolina A&T.
Despite winning the doubles point against both Virginia Tech and Richmond, the Hokies and Spiders stormed back to win over the Flames on the strength of strong singles sessions. Virginia Tech claimed all six singles matches, while Richmond took four of the six bouts.
Junior Eddie Gutierrez leads the way for Liberty with a 2-1 mark in solo competition. The Mexico native is 1-1 in the No. 2 position and 1-0 in the No. 3 slot in the lineup. The Flames are a combined 7-11 in singles, this spring.
Doubles Dominance While Liberty has struggled to find its rhythm in singles, the opposite has been true of its doubles play. The Flames own an impressive 7-1 record in doubles so far and have captured the doubles point in each match they have played. The duo of Gutierrez and Salas holds a perfect 3-0 record as the No. 2 doubles unit.
Meanwhile, senior Diego Castano and junior Alex Poynter are 2-1 in the No. 1 slot. Sophomore Chase Burton is a combined 2-0 in doubles with two different partners (Sam Matheson and Samuel Brown).
Road Warriors Liberty will play all of its matches away from Lynchburg in February, starting with this weekend. The Flames will also face UNC Wilmington (Feb. 9), USC Upstate (Feb. 10, neutral site), Virginia (Feb. 11), New Orleans (Feb. 23, neutral site), Florida A&M (Feb. 24), Florida State (Feb. 24) and Longwood (Feb. 28) away from home before their next home match, March 2 versus George Mason.
Scouting Auburn The Tigers are off to a 4-2 start to the 2018 campaign after going 12-15 (3-9 SEC) a year ago. In the early going, they have defeated Jackson State three times (all on Jan. 14) and own a victory in their last match against Wichita State. Auburn fell to Georgia Tech and Harvard.
The Tigers are led by head coach Bobby Reynolds. Reynolds' roster is full of youth, featuring six freshmen, two sophomores, two juniors and two seniors. In the early stages of the spring, freshman Tad Maclean paces the squad with a 5-1 singles mark, while senior Edward Nguyen is 3-1 playing in the No. 1 spot in the lineup. Reynolds has tried six different doubles combinations so far in 2018, led by freshman Diego Chavarria and sophomore Carles Sarrio (2-1, No. 2 doubles).
Scouting Kennesaw State The Owls dropped their season opener, 5-2, to Samford on Jan. 21. They will compete at Belmont before their home opener against the Flames on Sunday.
Kennesaw State is coached by Director of Tennis Eduardo Rincon, who coaches both the men's and women's programs. Rincon's 10-man roster features five freshmen, one sophomore, two juniors and two seniors. In 2017, the Owls posted a 13-8 record and 4-2 ASUN mark.