The Liberty women's tennis squad will host a pair of non-conference opponents this weekend, beginning with VCU on Friday at 2 p.m. The Lady Flames will then close their three-match home stand against North Texas on Sunday at 11 a.m. Both contests are planned to be played at the Cook Tennis Center.
2016 Season The Lady Flames enter the weekend with a 3-3 overall record, having most recently defeated West Virginia by a score of 4-3 on Friday. Liberty came from behind twice in the match to down the Mountaineers. Emily Groeneveld and Lauren Mabe won back-to-back matches to seal the victory for the Lady Flames.
Liberty is led in singles by Evangeline Crist and Maria Khval who each have posted a 4-2 record in singles competition. The doubles tandems of Crist/Valerie Thong and Khval/Anna Dollar enter the weekend with 4-2 records, accounting for eight of the Lady Flames 11 doubles wins this spring.
Scouting the opponents The Rams enter Friday's showdown with a 1-4 overall record. VCU dropped two consecutive matches this weekend to No. 64 Old Dominion (4-3) and Penn State (4-3). The Rams are led by Anna Rasmussen and Sofia Segerfors, each having four singles victories apiece. Friday's contest will mark the first time that Liberty and VCU have squared off in program history.
North Texas arrives in the Hill City with a 3-4 overall record, currently ranked No. 73 in the most recent ITA National Rankings. Most recently, the Mean Green upset No. 36 Oklahoma by a score of 4-1 on Sunday in Denton, Texas. North Texas is a strong doubles team, wielding a .500 record in doubles action compared to .321 winning percentage in singles play. The Lady Flames and Mean Green have squared off once before with then No. 67 North Texas downing Liberty by a score of 5-1 in Denton, Texas, on March 15, 2015.
Chasing History Belen Rivera and Maria Khval continue to climb up the program's all-time singles wins ladder. On Friday, Khval moved into a tie with Rivera for sixth place in singles wins in program history with 51. Valerie Thong continues to improve her rankings in doubles action, having notched 15 victories during the 2015-16 season, moving the senior into second on the program's all-time doubles wins listing with 77. With a victory against VCU on Friday, Thong will tie Jordan Jenkins for the most doubles wins in program history with 78.
What Coach Maren had to say "We will be facing two very formidable teams this weekend. VCU has consistently been considered as one of the top programs in the country, and North Texas defeated No. 36 Oklahoma this past weekend. We will be forced to play at a high level, which is exactly what I want. Once again, our opposition will give us an opportunity to raise our game and further prepare us to achieve our goals this season."
What's Next? Following this weekend's matchup, the Lady Flames will close out the month of February with a non-conference road tilt against in-state opponent William & Mary on Feb. 28. The contest is slated to begin at 1:30 p.m., in Williamsburg, Va.
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