The Liberty Flames men's tennis squad held off a surging Presbyterian squad, 4-3, on Sunday afternoon at the Hershey-Esbenshade Tennis Courts. After Liberty jumped ahead 3-0, the Blue Hose rallied for three straight victories to tie the match at 3-3. Egon Samaai delivered the match-clinching victory for the second time this weekend, as he also provided the clinching match in yesterday's 4-3 victory over Coastal Carolina.
With the victory, Liberty improves to 10-6 on the season including an untarnished 3-0 conference mark for the first time in program history. Meanwhile, Presbyterian falls to 14-6 and 1-2 in Big South action.
The Flames took the early 1-0 advantage by claiming the doubles point following three doubles victories.
Dillon Segur and Diego Castano improved to 6-3 on the season after besting Diego Manzanas and Joel Roberts, 8-3, from the No. 1 doubles spot.
Jorge Azuero and Sam Matheson clinched the doubles point for Liberty after dropping Ben Kelley and Brandon Mills, 8-2. The dynamic duo claimed their fifth victory in the last six matches.
With the doubles point already in hand, Samaai and David Bush downed Lukas Luckemeier and Alexander Lykou, 8-5 from the No. 3 doubles position.
Segur carried momentum from doubles into singles play, defeating Roberts in straight sets to extend the Liberty lead to 2-0. The Winston-Salem, N.C., native cruised in the first set, 6-1 and led by as much as three in the second set. Segur put Roberts away, 6-4, in the second set to claim the No. 1 singles contest.
Matheson provided the Flames with some breathing room after taking down Manzanas in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4 from the No. 2 singles slot. Matheson's victory pushed the Liberty lead to 3-0 with four singles matches left to play.
With only one match needed to put the Blue Hose away, Presbyterian battled back to win three consecutive matches to tie the contest at 3-3. Presbyterian's first point came from Kelley's three-set victory, 6-0, 3-6, 6-0 over freshman David Bush.
Shortly after securing their first point, the Blue Hose received wins from the No. 3 and 5 singles spots simultaneously to tie the match at three. Alejandro Bejar defeated Azuero, 7-5, 6-4, while Danny Bruce bested Castano, 6-0, 3-6, 6-3.
With the match all square, Samaai delivered yet another strong performance. After dropping the first set, 6-4, the South African native cruised to a 6-2 victory in the second set, adding to a dramatic finish. Samaai fell behind 5-3 in the tiebreaker, but remained poised throughout the set. The junior battled back against Brandon Mills, winning four straight games to clinch the match with his 7-5 third set victory.
"Championship teams have championship weekends and this was certainly one of those," stated head coach Chris Johnson. "I'm extremely proud of what our team has accomplished and the work they have put in to get this far."
Liberty returns to action on Friday when the Flames travel to Asheville, N.C. to take on the UNC Asheville Bulldogs at 2 p.m.
Liberty 4, Presbyterian 3