Freshman Nicola Wellman provided the match-clinching victory from the No. 6 slot, Friday, against Campbell.
Singles wins from sophomore Cameron Richard and freshman Nicola Wellman gave the Liberty women's tennis team the final push it needed, Friday, as the two points lifted the Lady Flames over Campbell, 4-3, in a renewed Big South rivalry.
"I continue to be impressed with the heart that our girls are bringing lately," remarked Liberty Head Coach Chris Johnson. "I give all the credit to them, as they have really turned things around with a lot of hard work. They are learning to play as a team and that will be the key as we head into the last few weeks of competition."
The Lady Flames have found their stride since March 10, winning nine of their last 10 matches. The team's sixth straight win levels both its overall and Big South records, at 10-10 and 3-3. Campbell falls to 9-5 with its third straight loss, and is now 1-4 in its first year back in the Big South.
Carol Lobel and Jessie Boda started the match with a spark in the No. 3 doubles contest, as they blanked Natasha Afridi and Anais Gomar, 8-0. However, Campbell's Karolina Chernaya and Borislava Nikolova leveled doubles at one-all, with an 8-4 win in the No. 1 match over Richard and Brittany Yang.
In what may have been the match of the day, the No. 2 doubles contest between Alexandra Sheeran and Rebekah Jenkins and Tamara Stanic and Katya Yegoreychenko saw five lead changes. The Lady Flames came out on top, though, taking the back-and-forth battle by an 8-6 margin to give Liberty the 1-0 lead.
In singles, the Camels quickly took the No. 3 and No. 4 matches in straight sets, claiming a 2-1 advantage for their first lead of the day.
Jenkins then squared the match, 2-2, with a win from the No. 5 slot, as she downed Yegoreychenko, 6-4, 6-1, for her eighth singles win of the spring.
Next, Campbell earned a win from its wins leader, Chernaya, in the No. 1 position. The point allowed the visitors to reclaim a 3-2 lead with two matches remaining in action.
After taking the opening set, 6-3, Richard gained a 5-2 lead in the second set of the No. 2 match. However, Stanic, a nine-match winner on the year, rallied back to within 6-5. Richard responded by taking the next game, to win her seventh consecutive singles match. The seven straight wins ties Richard's career best win streak, which she posted last season.
All tied, 3-3, Wellman's No. 6 match against Gomar served as the deciding point. The freshman had claimed the opening set, 7-5, but faced a 3-2 deficit at the time Richard claimed her victory. However, the pressure didn't bother Wellman, as she closed by taking three of the next four games to win her match, 6-3, and secure the team victory.
The Lady Flames cap the week with their sixth match in seven days, tomorrow. Another Big South opponent serves as the competition, with Winthrop visiting the Hill City for a 10 a.m. match.
Liberty 4, Campbell 3 DOUBLES 1. Chernaya/Nikolova (CU) def. Richard/Yang (LU), 8-4 2. Sheeran/Jenkins (LU) def. Stanic/Yegoreychenko (CU), 8-6 3. Lobel/Boda (LU) def. Afridi/Gomar (CU), 8-0
SINGLES 1. Chernaya (CU) def. Sheeran (LU), 6-4, 6-2 2. Richard (LU) def. Stanic (CU), 6-3, 7-5 3. Afridi (CU) def. Yang (LU), 6-2, 6-0 4. Nikolova (CU) def. Lobel (LU), 6-1, 6-3 5. Jenkins (LU) def. Yegoreychenko (CU), 6-4, 6-1 6. Wellman (LU) def. Gomar (CU), 7-5, 6-3