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Liberty Takes Down North Florida 4-3, Moves into First Place in ASUN

April 6, 2019  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Behind a strong singles session, the Liberty Lady Flames took over first place in the ASUN Conference by defeating the North Florida Ospreys 4-3 in front of their home crowd, Saturday at the Cook Tennis Center.

Liberty has now won five straight matches overall and improves to 12-6 on the season, 5-1 in the ASUN and 4-0 at home. UNF, who is the four-time defending ASUN champion, falls to 13-6 and 4-1 in the ASUN and sees its 10-match winning streak ended by the Lady Flames. Liberty won four of six singles matches in the match, including victories from Kalani Soli (No. 2), Ashley Bongart (No. 1), Lara Soares (No. 3).

The Lady Flames have now won nine of their last 10 matches. Liberty (5-1) moves into first place in league, a half game ahead of both North Florida (4-1) and Lipscomb (4-1).

Liberty 4, North Florida 3

Singles Competition
1. Ashley Bongart (LIBERTYW) def. Rafaela Gomez (UNF) 7-6 (7-3), 6-4
2. Kalani Soli (LIBERTYW) def. Lucia Montano (UNF) 6-2, 6-0
3. Lara Soares (LIBERTYW) def. Ana Paula Melilo (UNF) 1-6, 6-3, 6-4
4. Valentina Mariotto (UNF) def. Maria Medina (LIBERTYW) 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-5)
5. Constanza Gorches (UNF) def. Anna Dollar (LIBERTYW) 3-6, 6-2, 6-0
6. Grace Hashiguchi (LIBERTYW) def. Florencia Rossi (UNF) 6-4, 7-6 (7-3)

Doubles Competition
1. Constanza Gorches/Rafaela Gomez (UNF) def. Maria Medina/Lara Soares (LIBERTYW) 6-3
2. Lucia Montano/Florencia Rossi (UNF) def. Kalani Soli/Grace Hashiguchi (LIBERTYW) 6-4
3. Ashley Bongart/Anna Dollar (LIBERTYW) vs. Ana Paula Melilo/Valentina Mariotto (UNF) 5-4, unfinished

Liberty 12-6, 5-1 ASUN
North Florida 13-7, 4-1 ASUN
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2); Singles (2,1,3,6,4,5)
Official: B Harrison/A Sarver T-2:45

Thoughts From Head Coach Jeff Maren
"North Florida is a very good team, and we had to dig deep in order to come up with the win today. We knew it would be a battle, and the girls were all willing to go to war. Ashley was amazing in defeating an opponent who had previously beaten her, and Grace made a great comeback in the second set to clinch the match."

How It Happened

  • Liberty appeared to be in good position to win the doubles point, but UNF stormed back to take the first point of the match. The Lady Flames led on courts two and three, but it was the No. 2 doubles match which proved to be pivotal.
  • The No. 1 doubles match between the Ospreys' Constanza Gorches and Rafaela Gomez and the Lady Flames' Maria Medina and Lara Soares went to UNF by a 6-3 score. The loss snapped a seven-match winning streak for the Liberty duo.
  • On court two, Liberty's Kalani Soli and Grace Hashiguchi were in command of their match with Lucia Montano and Florencia Rossi, leading 4-1. Montano and Rossi roared back and took the next five games for a 6-4 victory. The UNF duo won a deuce point to complete the comeback effort and make it 1-0 in favor of the visitors
  • The Lady Flames' Soli dominated her No. 2 singles match with Lucia Montano on the way to a 6-2, 6-0 triumph. Soli's victory, her 10th straight solo triumph, evened the match at 1-1.
  • At No. 1 singles, Liberty senior Ashley Bongart trailed 6-5 in the first set of her match with Rafaela Gomez. Bongart battled back to force a tiebreaker, which she won 7-3. In the second set, the senior led 5-4 and 40-30, capping off the match with a backhand shot down the line for a 7-6 (3), 6-4 decision. Her victory provided the hosts a 2-1 edge.
  • After a quick 6-1 loss in the first set to Ana Paula Melilo on court three, the Lady Flames'  Soares roared back to win in three sets (1-6, 6-3, 6-4). Soares trailed 4-3 in the final set but won three games to extend Liberty's lead to two points (3-1).
  • The Lady Flames' Grace Hashiguchi (No. 6 singles) took the first set from Rossi by a 6-4 count but trailed throughout most of her second set (1-0, 3-1, 5-4 and 6-5). However, Hashiguchi forced a tiebreaker, which she won 7-3 for a 6-4, 7-6 (3) victory. The Liberty sophomore's clinched the match, making it 4-1 Lady Flames.
  • Shortly after Hashiguchi clinched the match, UNF picked up its second and third points of the afternoon. At No. 4 singles, Valentina Mariotto defeated Medina in a pair of tiebreakers in each set for a 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5) triumph. UNF's last point of the day came from Constanza Gorches on court four, a comeback win over senior Anna Dollar of Liberty (3-6, 6-2, 6-0). Dollar saw her 10-match singles winning streak snapped with the setback.
  • The 4-3 victory was Liberty's second of the 2019 season (other: at Florida Atlantic, March 12). The Lady Flames have a 2-1 record in those 4-3 matches.
  • Saturday's match marked the first-ever between the Lady Flames and the Ospreys.

Next Up

  • Liberty will look to extend its winning streak to six matches when it takes on William & Mary, Monday at 1 p.m. at the Cook Tennis Center.
  • The Lady Flames are 0-1 all-time against the Tribe. William & Mary topped Liberty in 2016 in the first meeting between the two programs.