No. 1 Ospreys earn 4-0 win over No. 5 Lady Flames in ASUN semifinal

The Lady Flames tennis season came to an unfortunate end, as the team fell short to the No. 1 North Florida Ospreys in the ASUN Conference tournament semifinal by a score of 4-0. The Flames were the No. 5 seed in the ASUN tournament and unable to surmount the conference leaders. 

North Florida swept the Lady Flames in the singles competition, as Kit Gulihur overcame Lady Flame Maria Juliana Parra Romero early on. Osprey Kendall Nash then defeated Elsa Kirch in two sets. 

After suffering setbacks in the first two rounds of singles play, the Lady Flames could not find their footing, as Osprey Jasmin Makela took over Maretha Burger in two sets. 

Three matches were unfinished in the top six. Those included Annabelle Davis surmounting Liberty’s Marina Davtyan, Isabel Oliveira defeating Esther Lovato and Ana Paula Melilo topping Tiffany Nguyen. 

Liberty MTEN ASUN vs. UNF on April 21st, 2023. (Photo by Cassidy Paxton).

The Osprey outpour then carried over from singles into doubles, as North Florida beat the Flames in two of the three matches. Gulihur and Melilo beat Nguyen and Parra Romero while Oliveira and Nash defeated Burger and Sampaio.

The one doubles match that the Lady Flames did win was when Davtyan and Lovato overtook the Osprey duo of Davis and Makela.

Ultimately, the one success was not enough, ending Liberty’s run in the 2023 ASUN Tournament. Liberty’s all-time record against North Florida falls to 1-2.

The Lady Flames season campaign found its end with a 17-9 record, 6-2 in conference play. This is the third straight year the Lady Flames have won at least 17 matches.

Liberty MTEN ASUN vs. UNF on April 21st, 2023. (Photo by Cassidy Paxton).

North Florida would go on to claim the ASUN Women’s Tennis title over the Stetson Hatters by a score of 4-2.

With the season at its conclusion, this also marks the end of an era in Liberty women’s tennis. The team will depart the ASUN Conference and head to Conference USA next season. Glancing back at its years in the ASUN, the Lady Flames tennis team boasted a record of 24-6 in the conference throughout the regular season and a record of 5-4 in the ASUN tournament. 

This would also conclude the great careers of a pair of Flames seniors, as Alexandra Almborg and Micaela Ode Mitre depart Liberty’s program. Almborg concluded her career as a Lady Flame this year with a singles record of 2-6 and a doubles record of 5-9 on the year. Mitre finished the year with a singles record of 13-9 along with a doubles record of 16-8 for this season. Together as doubles partners, the two acquired a doubles record of 1-0. 

This season has had its highs of the year. Lovato made history with her program-record 93rd career singles win. Parra Romero and Nguyen received an impressive No. 90 doubles national ranking. The team also captured a No. 66 national ranking, which is the highest the program has ever reached.

Liberty MTEN ASUN vs. UNF on April 21st, 2023. (Photo by Cassidy Paxton).

 The Lady Flames were ranked for five straight weeks throughout the season. Lovato finished the year with the best singles record of 28-5, while Lovato along with Mitre finished with the best doubles record of 17-5 for the season.

With new recruits and a new conference, the Lady Flames look to improve on their success next season with Head Coach Jeff Maren, who has been at the helm since 2013. 

Hughes is a sports reporter for the Liberty Champion. Follow him on Twitter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *