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Flames to Play Trio of Matches in Sunshine State, This Weekend

February 22, 2018  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Matheson and the Flames are back in action this weekend with three matches in Florida.

Matheson and the Flames are back in action this weekend with three matches in Florida.

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Liberty will head to the state of Florida for three men's tennis matches, this weekend.

All three contests will be held at Florida State's Speicher Tennis Center in Tallahassee, Fla. On Friday, the Flames (3-5) will play a neutral-site contest against New Orleans (2-1) at noon.

Liberty will face Florida A&M (0-7) at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Later in the day, the Flames will take on No. 16 Florida State (12-1) on its home courts at 4 p.m. The Seminoles are the highest-ranked team Liberty has faced since the Flames played at No. 3 Virginia in 2014.

"We have been gearing up for three battles this weekend," said Liberty head coach Derek Schwandt. "We will all be tested and need all eight of our guys fighting for each other."

It has been 11 days since the Flames men's tennis team last competed. On Feb. 11, Liberty took on Virginia, losing, 6-1. Earlier that weekend, the Flames split a pair of matches against UNCW (loss) and USC Upstate (win).

Series History
Liberty and New Orleans will be meeting for the first time ever. The Flames and Florida A&M met one other time, back on Feb. 19, 2016. The Rattlers won that match, 5-2.

One day after that (Feb. 20, 2016), Liberty took on No. 25 Florida State for the first time in program history, losing 4-0.

How to Follow the Flames
Live scoring will only be available for Saturday's bout between the Flames and No. 16 Seminoles. Find the link for live stats on the men's tennis schedule page on LibertyFlames.com.

Be sure to follow @LUMensTennis on Twitter and follow "libertyumenstennis" on Instagram.

Flames News and Notes

  • Liberty junior Eddie Gutierrez garnered Big South Player of the Week Distinction, last Wednesday. Gutierrez paces the squad with 14 singles triumphs during the 2017-18 campaign.
  • Gutierrez and sophomore Vince Salas boast the best doubles mark (6-0, 1.000) of all doubles pairings in the Big South Conference. Gutierrez is also tied for first in the Big South for No. 3 singles winning percentage (.750, 3-1).
  • The Flames have captured the doubles point in five of seven matches in which doubles were contested (doubles were not played against USC Upstate, Feb. 10). Liberty is 2-3 in those matches while holding a 12-6 (.667) overall record in doubles in 2018.
  • Senior Diego Castano and junior Alex Poynter are currently the second-best No. 1 doubles duo in the league at 4-3 (.571).
  • Senior Sam Matheson appears to be rounding into form, winning his last two solo bouts in the No. 1 position. The New Zealand native, the 2016 Big South Player of the Year, is 4-3 in singles, this spring.
  • Liberty is entering the tail end of a long stretch of road matches. Following this weekend, the Flames will wrap up their nine-game road trip at Longwood, next Wednesday. The match with the Lancers will be Liberty's 2018 Big South opener.
  • Flames head coach Derek Schwandt is familiar with his Saturday opponent, Florida State. Schwandt spent several years in the ACC, including stints as an assistant coach at Georgia Tech (2013-17) and Virginia (2009-10).

 

Scouting New Orleans
The Privateers, coached by Burzis Kanga, are only three matches into their spring slate. They boast wins over Loyola (La.) and Alcorn State, with a setback coming to Miami. New Orleans' strength has been in its singles play, with the team posting an 11-4 mark in singles matches. Three Privateeers – Lorenzo Camilli, Alexis Guedy and Johannes Klein – are each 2-0 in solo bouts thus far.

Scouting Florida A&M
The Rattlers are still in search of their first victory of 2018 after winning the MEAC last year to advance to the 2017 Division I Men's Tennis Championships. Head coach Rochelle Goldthreate's squad boasts six juniors and a freshman.

Scouting Florida State
The Seminoles are off to a strong start in winning 12 of their first 13 matches, including an unblemished 7-0 mark at the Speicher Tennis Center. Riding a three-match winning streak, they will take on New Orleans earlier in the day on Saturday (10 a.m.) prior to squaring off against the Flames. Head coach Dwayne Hultquist's squad is an impressive 49-8 in singles and 24-6 in doubles in 2018. Guy Iradukunda is a perfect 11-0 in his singles matches, while Lucas Poullain is 8-1. In doubles, FSU's strongest units have been senior brothers Terrance and Terrell Whitehurst (9-1) and Aziz Dougaz and Iradukunda (7-1).