The Liberty men's tennis team will play a trio of important Big South matches this week, traveling to Longwood on Thursday at 1:30 p.m., before hosting Gardner-Webb on Sunday at 1 p.m. and UNC Asheville on Monday at 1 p.m.
Live stats will be available for both home matches on LibertyFlames.com by clicking on the live stats link on the men's tennis schedule/results page. A live video stream of the No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles match will be available for Sunday's contest. Fans can also follow the matches through periodic Twitter updates from @LUGameday.
Liberty (7-8, 0-2 Big South) split a pair of contests last week, defeating North Carolina Central, 5-2, before dropping its second Big South match of the season versus Winthrop on Saturday, 5-2. Egon Samaai paced the Flames with a perfect 2-0 record in both singles and doubles play last week.
Liberty is 15-4 all-time versus Longwood, while holding an all-time series mark of 9-13 versus UNC Asheville and a 7-6 tally against Gardner-Webb. Liberty faced each school most recently last season, defeating Longwood, 7-0, on Feb. 26 and UNC Asheville, 4-3, on March 8. The Flames fell at Gardner-Webb, 6-1, on March 23.
Through the first 15 matches this season, Samaai paces the Flames with a 9-5 singles mark. Shea Thomas ranks second on the squad and third in the conference with eight victories in the No. 1 position. In doubles play, Samaai and Dillon Segur are a team-best 7-3 and rank third in the Big South with six victories in the No. 2 position. With one more doubles win, Thomas will become Liberty's all-time leader in doubles victories with 80, surpassing Giancarlo Lemmi for sole possession of first place. Longwood holds a 1-12 overall record and a 0-4 Big South record heading into this tomorrow's match. The Lancers have suffered nine setbacks in a row, with their lone win coming on Feb. 1 against Morgan State. Longwood has dropped four consecutive matches to the Flames.
UNC Asheville (7-8, 1-1 Big South) is coming off a 6-1 win versus North Greenville. The Bulldogs are 0-5 this season in road matches. Alex Croker and Brett Landau are tied for second in the Big South with seven victories in the No. 1 doubles position. Daniel Kripak is tied for fourth in the league with seven wins in the top singles spot.
Gardner-Webb has posted wins in four out of its last six matches, including a 4-3 victory in its last outing against Appalachian State. The Runnin' Bulldogs are 8-10 overall and 0-3 in Big South tilts. Brendan Dempsey is tied for fourth in the conference in overall singles wins with 13. Gardner-Webb's doubles team of Ernest Alberch and Nikita Zverkov is tied for second in the Big South with seven wins while playing in the No. 1 spot.
After this week's matches, the Flames return to play at home versus Radford on April 4 at 2:30 p.m.
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