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Flames, Lancers to Clash in Big South Opener, Wednesday

February 26, 2018  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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The Flames will begin their Big South slate at Longwood on Wednesday afternoon.

The Flames will begin their Big South slate at Longwood on Wednesday afternoon.

The Liberty Flames men's tennis squad will make the short trip on Route 460 to take on Longwood in each team's Big South opener, Wednesday afternoon.

Wednesday's bout will begin at 2 p.m. at the Lancer Tennis Courts in Farmville, Va.

Liberty (5-6) is coming off a 2-1 weekend in Florida featuring victories over New Orleans and Florida A&M and a setback to No. 16 Florida State. Longwood (3-4) dropped a pair of matches this past weekend to UNCW and Coastal Carolina and will be looking to stop a three-match losing skid.

Series History
The Flames own an 18-5 advantage in the all-time series over the Lancers. Longwood defeated Liberty, 4-3, on March 2, 2017, in the last matchup between the two squads. On that day, the Flames dropped the doubles point and won three singles matches (Chase Burton, Diego Castano and Max Borcuti).

Flames News and Notes

  • The Flames were picked to finish sixth in the Big South Men's Tennis Preseason Poll. Defending champion Presbyterian (49 points) is the slight favorite in the league, just barely ahead of Campbell (48 points). Longwood (30 points) was slotted just ahead of Liberty at No. 5.
  • Liberty men's tennis is in search of its first Big South regular-season crown and tournament title in 2018. Current senior Sam Matheson became the Flames' first-ever Big South Men's Tennis Player of the Year, achieving the feat in 2016.
  • The doubles duo of junior Eddie Gutierrez and sophomore Vince Salas continues to lead the Big South with an unbeaten 8-0 mark. The tandem has a 10-match doubles winning streak dating back to the fall, which includes victories against notable duos from North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Auburn and Virginia.
  • Matheson (6-3) and Gutierrez (6-4) hold the best singles records during the spring campaign. Matheson is currently on a four-match winning streak, while Gutierrez's streak is at two.
  • The Flames have captured the doubles point in seven of 10 matches in which doubles were contested (doubles were not played against USC Upstate, Feb. 10). Liberty is 15-10 (.600) in doubles during the spring and 36-30 (.545) overall.


Scouting Longwood
Sophomore Amadeo Blasco, the 2017 Big South Freshman of the year, is 17-5 in singles this year, including a 3-2 mark at No. 1 singles in the spring. Julian Farthing is 5-2 in singles this spring, with a 5-1 mark in the No. 4 slot in the lineup. Additionally, Valentin Popescu holds a perfect 4-0 mark in the No. 2 singles position for the Longwood Lancers.  

First-year head coach Jhonnatan Medina Alvarez's squad is 23-19 in singles and 7-12 in doubles in the early stages of 2018.