Jorge Azuero clinched the victory on Thursday for Liberty against Presbyterian College. The sophomore defeated Rafael Berghaus 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
With the Flames needing one more point to clinch the match, Jorge Azuero outlasted Rafael Berghaus in three sets to give the Liberty men's tennis team a 4-3 victory against the Presbyterian College Blue Hose on Thursday afternoon at the Esbenshade Tennis Courts.
"The guys displayed tremendous heart today," commented Liberty assistant coach Ryan Fitzwilliam. "After a challenging week, we bounced back with a hard-fought victory. We are proud of the team's attitude and effort."
Liberty improves to 10-6 (3-2 Big South) on the year. The win snaps the Flames' five-match losing streak and gives Liberty double-digit wins in five consecutive seasons. The loss drops Presbyterian College to 15-8 (2-2 Big South) overall.
The Blue Hose opened the afternoon with a win in the No. 2 doubles position. Berghaus and Grayson Mills defeated Liberty's Dillon Segur and Azuero, 8-3.
The Flames bounced back with victories in the No. 3 and No. 1 doubles' spots. Siim Tuus and Guillem Secanell remained perfect on the season at 3-0 with an 8-4 ousting of Danny Bruce and Edward Snead. Shea Thomas and Egon Samaai registered their team-high 11th doubles win of the season with an 8-5 defeat of Andrew Brigham and William O'Connell, clinching the doubles tally for the home team.
The Blue Hose pulled ahead 2-1, after Mills knocked off Tuus, 6-4, 6-2, and Brigham downed Stan Vaughan, 6-3, 6-4, in the No. 1 and No. 5 singles positions, respectively.
Liberty retook the advantage with victories in the No. 2 and No. 3 spots. Thomas bounced O'Connell in straight sets, 7-5, 6-4, for his team-best 12th singles win of the year. Segur ousted Bruce 6-4, 7-6 to put the Flames on top 3-2.
After falling behind one set to zero, Presbyterian College's Gonzalo Asis rallied to defeat Samaai, 4-6, 7-6, 6-2, to knot the match at three apiece.
In the clinching match, Azuero dropped the first set to Berghaus, 6-4. The Flames' sophomore finished the match strong, taking the final two sets, 6-4, 6-4, for his 11th singles win of the year.
The Flames wrap up their brief two-match homestand on Wednesday versus Campbell. The match against the Camels is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. at the Hershey-Esbenshade Tennis Courts.
Liberty 4, Presbyterian 3 DOUBLES 1. Thomas/Samaai (LU) def. Brigham/O'Connell (PC), 8-5 2. Berghaus/Mills (PC) def. Segur/Azuero (LU) 8-3 3. Tuus/Secanell (LU) def. Bruce/Snead (PC), 8-4
SINGLES 1. Mills (PC) def. Tuus (LU), 6-4, 6-2 2. Thomas (LU) def. O'Connell (PC), 7-5, 6-4 3. Segur (LU) def. Bruce (PC), 6-4, 7-6 4. Azuero (LU) def. Berghaus (PC), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 5. Brigham (PC) def. Vaughan (LU), 6-3, 6-4 6. Asis (PC) def. Samaai (LU), 2-6, 7-6, 6-2