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Women's Tennis Wins Home Opener, 6-1, Over Elon

February 9, 2018  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Friday's home opener for the Lady Flames tennis team proved a success. Host Liberty defeated the Elon Phoenix, 6-1, at Crosswhite Athletic Club with a strong all-around effort.

Liberty (2-3) has now won two straight matches, while Elon (3-3) suffers its third setback in its last four matches. The Lady Flames have won each of their last three meetings (2015, 2016, 2018) against the Phoenix.

Liberty swept the doubles matches to take the doubles point and claimed five of the six singles bouts. The Lady Flames were victorious in singles in the No. 1 (Maria Medina), No. 2 (Ashley Bongart), No. 3 (Anna Dollar), No. 4 (Lara Soares) and No. 6 (Polina Miroshnichenko) singles matches.

In the No. 1 match, Crist and Dollar dominated their match, winning 6-0 over Suzanne Zenoni and Maria Paraja.

Lady Flames juniors Medina and Soares captured the first four games against the Phoenix's Olivia Lucas and Alex Koniaev and prevailed, 6-3. Medina and Soares' victory put the home side ahead, 1-0.

Seconds later, Liberty's No. 3 duo of Rebekah Anderson and Grace Hashiguchi improved to 2-0 as a pairing by closing out Elon's Montana Moore and Erica Braschi. The Lady Flames tandem's 6-3 victory completed the doubles sweep.

In singles, Medina bolstered the hosts' lead to 2-0 with a convincing straight-sets win (6-1, 6-0) over Lucas, her second of the spring and ninth of the 2017-18 season. Medina dropped the first game of the first set before winning 12 straight games to end the match.

Medina's doubles partner Soares ended her match moments later against Paraja, winning by the same score (6-1, 6-0). Soares' second win her second straight singles match extended Liberty's lead to 3-0.

After getting the best of Zenoni and her doubles partner earlier in the match, Dollar matched up with Zenoni on court three. She narrowly won the first set, 6-4, and then played an excellent second set for a 6-4, 6-0 match victory. Dollar's point sealed the match for the Lady Flames and made it 4-0.

Playing in the No. 2 slot for the second time this spring, Bongart (Liberty) dropped the opening set to Braschi (Elon), 6-3. The Bradenton, Fla, native evened the match at 1-1 with a second-set victory after she trailed, 5-4 in that set. Knotted at 6-6, Bongart and Braschi played a tiebreaker, which Bongart won in convincing fashion, 7-1. The two players competed in a third-set 10-point tiebreaker, which Bongart won, 10-7, to claim the match, 3-6, 7-6 (1), 1-0 (10-7). The Lady Flames junior's team-high 11th singles win this season gave the hosts a five-point lead (5-0).

The Phoenix collected its first point of the day, as Koniaev knocked off Crist in two sets, 6-2, 6-4, in the No. 5 singles match.

Finally, Liberty's Miroshnichenko and Elon's Moore were the last match left on the court on Friday. Miroshnichneko fought hard in a first-set tiebreaker, winning, 7-6 (9). With her teammates looking on, the Russia native delivered a 6-4 second-set victory to win the match, 7-6 (9), 6-4. Her victory established the final score at 6-1 in favor of the Lady Flames.

Liberty will play its second doubleheader of the season on Sunday, taking on Sun Belt Conference foe Troy at 11 a.m. and Division II opponent Shawat 4 p.m. Both of Sunday's matches will also be contested at Crosswhite Athletic Club. 

Live scoring through StatBroadcast, courtesy of Liberty Athletics Communications, will be available for all three matches over the weekend at Crosswhite Athletic Club. In addition, follow @LibertyWTennis on Twitter for live updates throughout the matches and follow "libertywtennis" on Instagram for live videos and photos.