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FGCU Comes Back to Edge Liberty 4-3, Sunday

March 17, 2019  Fort Myers, Fla.   RSS
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Soli won in both doubles and singles at FGCU, Sunday.

Soli won in both doubles and singles at FGCU, Sunday.

Host Florida Gulf Coast edged visiting Liberty 4-3 on Sunday at the FGCU Tennis Complex.

The Eagles erased a 3-1 lead for the victory, handing the Lady Flames a loss in their first-ever ASUN Conference match. FGCU Junior Sofia Perez's three-set victory over Liberty's Maria Medina at No. 4 singles (4-6, 6-3, 6-4) broke a 3-all tie and gave the home side its first ASUN victory in 2019.

Liberty sees its four-match winning streak come to an end and is now 7-6 overall and 0-1 in the ASUN. The Lady Flames wrap up their spring break trip with a  2-1 mark, which included victories over Florida Atlantic (4-3 on Tuesday) and Chattanooga (7-0 on Saturday). FGCU, the two-time defending ASUN regular season champion, improves to 6-6 overall and 1-1 in the ASUN, this season.

Florida Gulf Coast 4, Liberty 3

Singles Competition
1. ORNBERG, Maja (FGCU) def. Ashley Bongart (LIBERTYW) 7-5, 6-3
2. Kalani Soli (LIBERTYW) def. KELLY, Sara (FGCU) 7-6 (7-1), 6-0
3. ASCUA, Julia (FGCU) def. Lara Soares (LIBERTYW) 6-4, 6-3
4. PEREZ, Sofia (FGCU) def. Maria Medina (LIBERTYW) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
5. VILLAR, Patricia (FGCU) def. Grace Hashiguchi (LIBERTYW) 2-6, 6-1, 6-2
6. Anna Dollar (LIBERTYW) def. FONT, Laura (FGCU) 6-4, 6-0

Doubles Competition
1. Lara Soares/Maria Medina (LIBERTYW) def. ORNBERG, Maja/ASCUA, Julia (FGCU) 7-6 (7-5)
2. Grace Hashiguchi/Kalani Soli (LIBERTYW) def. GALLEGOS, Madison/PEREZ, Sofia (FGCU) 7-6 (7-3)
3. KELLY, Sara/VILLAR, Patricia (FGCU) def. Anna Dollar/Ashley Bongart (LIBERTYW) 6-3

Liberty 7-6, 0-1 ASUN
Florida Gulf Coast 6-6, 1-1 ASUN 
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (6,3,2,1,5,4)

Thoughts From Head Coach Jeff Maren
"This was a great match against a super team. All of our girls and their girls fought so hard. It was amazing to watch. I have no doubt that this match will propel us to new heights and motivate us every day in practice."

How It Happened

  • Liberty won the doubles point for a fifth straight match. This time, the Lady Flames had to win tiebreakers on courts two and one to secure the point. First, sophomore Grace Hashiguchi and junior Kalani Soli defeated Perez and Madison Gallegos 7-6 (3). The duo is now 7-1 in spring doubles.
  • The doubles point was decided on court one in a match between Medina and Lara Soares (Liberty) and Maja Ornberg and Julia Ascúa (FGCU). Medina and Soares sealed the doubles point in a tiebreaker for a second consecutive match, winning 7-6 (5). Their team-best eighth doubles triumph of the spring gave Liberty an early 1-0 advantage.
  • Lady Flames senior Anna Dollar continued her strong play of late with her sixth straight win, a straight-sets decision over Laura Falceto-Font (6-4, 6-0) in the No. 6 singles match. Dollar's 61st career win, which is the seventh most in program history, extended Liberty's lead to two points (2-0).
  • The Eagles' Ascúa got the hosts on the board with her 6-4, 6-3 win against Soares on court three.
  • The Lady Flames' lead grew to two again (3-1) following a two-set victory from Soli over Sara Kelly (7-6 (1), 6-0). Soli has now won five straight matches and is 7-3 in spring singles competition.
  • Ornberg picked up a 7-5, 6-3 win over Bongart on court one, drawing FGCU within a point (3-2). The Eagles' Patricia Villar came back to top Hashiguchi in three sets, 2-6, 6-1, 6-2. Her win evened up the match, before Perez's aforementioned come-from-behind victory clinched the match for the Eagles.
  • Liberty was picked as the preseason ASUN co-favorite, along with North Florida. FGCU was selected to finish third in the league.
  • Sunday's match marked the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
  • The setback was Liberty's first in a conference opener since 2010.

Next Up

  • Liberty will look to pick up its first ASUN victory next Saturday at Kennesaw State (1-10, 0-0 ASUN). First serve is pegged for 1 p.m. at the Betty Siegel Tennis Courts in Kennesaw, Ga.
  • The Lady Flames and Owls, who were picked to finish seventh in the ASUN, will be meeting for the first time.