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Burton, Flames Enjoy Success at ITA Atlantic Regional

October 16, 2016  Blacksburg, Va.  RSS
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Burton won three singles matches and advanced to the round of 16 at the ITA Atlantic Regional.

Burton won three singles matches and advanced to the round of 16 at the ITA Atlantic Regional.

Liberty freshman men's tennis player Chase Burton and the Flames had a strong showing at the ITA Atlantic Regional at Virginia Tech from Thursday to Sunday. Burton won three singles matches and advanced to the round of 16, while Liberty as a whole won seven singles matches and a doubles match at the Burrows-Burleson Tennis Center.

Burton became the first Flame since Shea Thomas in 2013 to advance to the round of 16 in the singles main draw. The freshman opened his tournament with a three-set victory (4-6, 6-2, 6-4) over James Madison's Damon Roberts. In his second match, he defeated Navy's Krishna Jana, 6-2, 6-2.

In the round of 32, Burton squared off with Ryan Newman of William & Mary and picked up another straight-set victory, 6-1, 6-3. Burton's run finally came to an end on Sunday in the round of 16, as he lost a close match against Aziz Kijametovic of Old Dominion, 7-6 (6), 6-4.

"Chase made a great run to the round of 16. We've never had a freshman make it that far before, and he was just a couple of points away from the quarterfinals," said Liberty Head Men's Tennis Coach Chris Johnson. "My guess is he will make a big impact in the spring."

Liberty's seven wins in singles and one win in doubles was an improvement on last year's performance of five singles and zero doubles wins. Sophomore Eddie Gutierrez picked up a pair of wins at singles before losing in the round of 32.

Gutierrez began his tournament with a 6-3, 7-6 (2) win over James Madison's Brett Moorhead. The Mexico City, Mexico, native knocked off David Kohan of Penn State, 6-4, 7-6 (5), before losing to fourth-seeded Michael Weindl of ODU, 6-4, 7-6.

Freshman Vince Salas earned a singles wins at the regional. After losing the first set against ODU's Pepe Nunez, Salas bounced back to win in three sets, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. The Angeles, Philippines, native, lost to No. 14 seed Christian Cargill of William & Mary, 6-3, 6-3, in the second round of play.

Sophomore Max Borcuti won a thrilling three-set match in the qualifying round over Duquense's Dane Bendel. After narrowly losing the first set, Borcuti bounced back to win, 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-4.

Junior Diego Castano and sophomore Alex Poynter collected an 8-6 doubles win over Penn State's pairing of Nika Dolidze and Marc Collado.

"I'm very pleased with our effort this weekend! We almost doubled our total wins from last year," Johnson stated. "This team is young but very motivated. With four weeks left in the fall, we are making solid progress."

The Flames return to action beginning on Friday at the NC State Invite in Raleigh, N.C. The three-day tournament will run through Sunday and will be played at the J.W. Isenhour Tennis Center.