The Liberty Lady Flames tennis squad saw its five-match winning streak come to an end on Saturday afternoon at the Sports Racket. Liberty fell to No. 73 Marshall, 5-2, falling to 0-5 all-time against the Thundering Herd.
With the loss, Lady Flames fall to 7-2 on the campaign while Marshall improves to 6-2, extending its winning streak to five matches.
The event began with the Thundering Herd clinching the doubles point, but not without a fight from the red and blue.
The Lady Flames saw an early 1-0 doubles deficit after Kai Broomfield and Marija Bogicevic bested Belen Rivera and Emily Groeneveld, 6-1 to begin doubles play from the No. 2 doubles slot.
Maria Khval and Brittany Yang evened the doubles score at one apiece after ousting Derya Turhan and Anna Pomyatinskaya, 6-2 from the No. 1 doubles slot.
The doubles point proved to be a thriller, with both teams fighting hard for the early advantage. Valerie Thong and Evangeline Crist battled back-and-forth with Maddie Silver and Rachael Morales from the No. 3 doubles position. The duo tandems traded set for set before Marshall's doubles pair pulled out in front for good. Crist and Thong tied the set at six apiece, with momentum heading into the tiebreaker. Despite Liberty jumping out to an early 4-2 advantage in the final set, the Thundering Herd duo stormed ahead for five unanswered points to win the final set, 7-4, taking the doubles advantage from the Lady Flames' clutches.
Marshall's Turhan extended the lead for the Thundering Herd at the start of singles play from the No. 1 singles slot. Turhan bested Mariely Hassey in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1 to push the lead to 2-0.
Silver pushed the Marshall lead to 3-0 after her straight-set victory, 6-1, 7-5 over Belen Rivera in the No. 2 singles slot.
Liberty jumped on the board when Khval secured the first singles victory for the red and blue. Competing in the No. 4 singles position, Khval swept through Broomfield in the first set 6-1 to take the 1-0 advantage in the match. Broomfield proved to be a tougher opponent in the second set, holding a lead for most of the set. Khval tied the set up at six games apiece to force the tiebreaker. Despite jumping out to a 6-3 advantage in the tiebreaker, Khval surrendered four unanswered points, facing a 7-6 deficit. Khval answered with three points of her own to defeat Broomfield 9-7 in the tiebreaker to take the two-set victory, 6-1, 7-6 (7). The victory pulled the Lady Flames to within two points of the Thundering Herd at 3-1.
Marshall bounced back from the loss to clinch the match from the No. 3 singles slot. Pomyatinskaya bested Yang in three sets to secure the 4-1 advantage, and the match. After surrendering the first set, 7-5, Pomyatinskaya turned her performance around to defeat Yang in the next two sets, 6-2, 6-2.
With the match already in hand, the Lady Flames split the final two matches with Marshall. Groeneveld bested Bogicevic in straight sets, 7-6 (7-3), 6-1 to cut the deficit to 4-2 on the evening.
In the final match of the evening, Crist fell in the No. 6 singles position for the first time this season. The Big South Freshman of the Week lost to Morales in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4 to conclude the evening with a 5-2 loss for the Lady Flames.
"The girls fought hard against a strong Marshall team," stated head coach Jeff Maren. "We had our chances but didn't play enough of the key points correctly. We will learn from this match and play better the next time we face adversity."
Liberty will return to action on Wednesday when it plays host to Longwood in the Big South opener. The contest is slated to begin at 1 p.m.
Marshall 5, Liberty 2