The Liberty women's tennis team returns home this weekend after playing six consecutive matches on the road. The Lady Flames welcome Big South opponents Gardner-Webb tomorrow at 2 p.m. and No. 63 Winthrop on Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Hershey Tennis Courts.
Leading up to the matches, Alan York of the Liberty Flames Sports Network had a chance to catch up with Liberty head coach Jeff Maren. During the interview, Maren gives an update on the season and the team's progression to this point. The second-year head coach also looks at the team's lineup and gives a preview of this weekend's contests.
Live scoring for both matches will be available on LibertyFlames.com by clicking on the live stats links on the women's tennis schedule/results page.
Liberty traveled to Texas over spring break last week and dropped each of its three contests. The Lady Flames suffered tight setbacks to UTSA and No. 69 New Mexico by identical 4-3 finals. Liberty closed the trip with a 5-1 loss at No. 67 North Texas. The losses dropped the Lady Flames' record to 7-7 overall and 0-4 against nationally ranked opponents. Liberty has now dropped five matches in a row after opening the season 7-2.
The Lady Flames take a 2-1 Big South record into this weekend's contests. Liberty currently sits in a tie for third place in the conference standings, while Gardner-Webb (1-3) is in eighth place and Winthrop (1-0) is in a tie for first place.
Liberty looks to collect wins in back-to-back meetings and improve to 8-4 all-time against the Runnin' Bulldogs. Last season, the Lady Flames edged Gardner-Webb, 4-3, on March 23 in Boiling Springs, N.C. Liberty is seeking its first-ever victory versus Winthrop. The Eagles are 17-0 all-time the Lady Flames, including a 7-0 win last season at Winthrop.
Three Lady Flames, Maria Khval, Brittany Yang and Nicola Wellman, have eight singles wins each to lead the team. In doubles play, Yang and partner Belen Rivera have a team-best 5-2 record, while Khval and Rebekah Jenkins have a 5-4 doubles mark.
Gardner-Webb is 8-7 overall and 1-3 in Big South matches. The Runnin' Bulldogs are coming off a 5-2 setback at conference leader Charleston Southern this past Saturday. Gardner-Webb has lost six out of its last seven contests and is 3-5 on the road this season.
Winthrop enters the weekend with a 7-3 overall record and a 1-0 conference mark. The Eagles will face Longwood on Friday before playing the Lady Flames on Saturday. Winthrop is riding a five-match winning streak. On the road, the Eagles are 4-2 this season.
Liberty remains at home for its next match, hosting UNC Asheville on March 28 at 1 p.m.