The Lady Flames will play two matches (Texas A&M on Saturday, Stephen F. Austin on Sunday) in Texas, this weekend.
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The Lady Flames women's tennis squad will kick off the month of February with a pair of road matches in the state of Texas, Saturday and Sunday.
Liberty (0-2) will first take on the Texas A&M Aggies (4-0) on Saturday at noon at the Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, Texas. On Sunday morning (10 a.m.), the Lady Flames and the Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks (0-2) will square off at the Mitchell Tennis Center.
"Traveling to Texas will be a great experience for us, as we will have the opportunity to compete against two good teams that will push us to our limits," said Lady Flames head coach Jeff Maren. "That's exactly what we need in the beginning of the season."
Liberty is making its first trip to the Lone Star State during its spring portion of the schedule since 2014. That year, the Lady Flames faced UTSA, New Mexico and North Texas all in the state of Texas in mid-March. Liberty last competed in the state at the SMU Red and Blue Challenge, held Nov. 4-6, 2016.
Series History Liberty will be facing both Texas A&M and Stephen F. Austin for the first time in program history, this weekend.
How to Follow the Lady Flames Live scoring and video, courtesy of Texas A&M Media Relations, will be available for Saturday's bout between the Lady Flames and Aggies. Find the link on the schedule page on LibertyFlames.com/womenstennis.
There will be no live scoring or video for Sunday's match between Liberty and Stephen F. Austin.
Early Season Update The Lady Flames dropped a pair of matches in the Northeast (Jan. 21 and Jan. 22) to open the season. Liberty fell, 4-3, to Dartmouth and 5-2 to Boston University.
The Lady Flames are a combined 4-8 in singles play. Junior Rebekah Anderson leads the team with a 2-0 mark, this spring. Meanwhile, Liberty is 2-4 in doubles. The duos of Maria Medina and Lara Soares and Ashley Bongart and Aleksandra Panchenko both own a 1-1 record.
Roster Breakdown The Lady Flames' 2017-18 roster consists of 12 players. Senior captain Evangeline Crist is the team's lone senior. Crist has 73 career singles victories and 79 doubles victories and is nearing the program all-time records in both categories.
Liberty brings experience to the table with seven juniors – Rebekah Anderson, Ashley Bongart, Audrey Brown, Anna Dollar, Maria Medina, Aleksandra Panchenko and Lara Soares. Bongart, Medina and Soares are transfers. Bongart, who previously played at Tennessee, paced the Lady Flames with a 9-3 singles record in the fall. Dollar, a native of Lancaster, Pa., has 48 career singles triumphs and 48 doubles victories (tied for 10th in program history) as well.
Liberty's lone sophomore is Eugenia Camacho. The Lady Flames' three-player freshman class is comprised of Nasha Ghajar, Grace Hashiguchi and Polina Miroshnichenko.
Liberty played in six different tournaments during the fall, compiling a combined .532 winning percentage (42-37) in singles and .533 winning percentage (16-14) in doubles.
Coaching Capsule: Jeff Maren and Giancarlo Lemmi Jeff Maren is in his sixth season as head coach of the Lady Flames. Under Maren's direction, Liberty is 72-49 overall and 35-9 in Big South play. In that time span, the program has seen six Big South All-Conference singles honorees, four Big South All-Conference doubles teams, three Big South doubles flight winners, six VaSID first team doubles honorees, two VaSID second team doubles honorees and one VaSID second team singles honoree.
This weekend will be a homecoming of sorts for Maren. Prior to coming to Liberty, he coached at North Texas for six years.
Giancarlo Lemmi is in his fifth season as an assistant coach at Liberty. Lemmi also played for the Flames men's tennis team from 2009-12 and is a two-time Big South All-Conference player. In Lemmi's time as an assistant for the Lady Flames, the team is 61-38 overall and 29-6 in the Big South.
Scouting Texas A&M The Aggies are off to an unbeaten (4-0) start to their spring 2018 campaign behind wins over UTRGV, Prairie View A&M, Texas State and Sam Houston State. In 2017, Texas A&M finished 18-13 overall and 6-7 in the SEC while qualifying for the NCAA Championship for an 18th consecutive season.
Third-year head coach Mark Weaver's roster features seven players – three seniors and four freshmen. The Aggies are 22-2 in singles and 8-0 in doubles, so far this spring. Senior Domenica Gonzalez is 4-0 in the No. 1 singles slot, while Gonzalez and Eva Paalma are 3-0 playing as the top doubles unit.
Scouting Stephen F. Austin The Ladyjacks, who will take on Texas A&M (4 p.m.) on Saturday, are 0-2 to start 2018. They fell to Tyler Junior College, 5-2, and UTSA narrowly, 4-3. A year ago, they finished 8-14 overall and 4-7 in the Southland Conference.
Ladyjacks third-year head coach Jon McLaughlin's roster is comprised of one junior, five sophomores and two freshmen. Sophomores Sian Payne and Darinka Tiboldi are both 1-1 in singles, playing in the top half of the lineup. In doubles, Stephen F. Austin is 2-2 overall, with wins coming from Tiboldi/Nida Kamal and Payne/Gabi Guilarte.