The Lady Flames have been picked to finish second in the Big South Conference in 2017.
After earning a share of the Big South Conference regular season crown in 2016, the Liberty women's tennis team has been selected to finish second in the Big South Conference women's tennis preseason poll, as voted on by the conference's head coaches.
The Lady Flames, who advanced to the title match of the Big South Women's Tennis Championship last year, garnered one first-place vote and seven second-place votes for 72 points. Winthrop received seven of the nine available first-place votes for 79 points and its 14th consecutive No. 1 preseason ranking.
In 2016, Liberty was No. 2 in the preseason poll as well. The Lady Flames went on to post a 15-10 overall record and a single-season program record eight conference wins to just one loss in Head Coach Jeff Maren's fourth season. The Flames were tabbed the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament and defeated No. 9 seed Radford, 4-0, and No. 4 seed Charleston Southern, 4-0, before falling to No. 2 seed Winthrop, 4-3, in the championship match.
Charleston Southern garnered the remaining first-place vote and eight third-place votes for 65 points. Campbell (53 points), Radford (37 points), UNC Asheville (37 points), Gardner-Webb (27 points), Presbyterian (24 points) and Longwood (11 points) rounded out the poll.
The Lady Flames' spring roster is made up of one freshman (Eugenia Camacho), four sophomores (Rebekah Anderson, Audrey Brown, Anna Dollar and Aleksandra Panchenko), one junior (Evangeline Crist) and two seniors (Emily Groeneveld and Mariely Hassey). Crist and Dollar were tabbed the No. 7 doubles team in the Oracle/ITA Division I Regional Rankings for the Atlantic Region, last week.
Liberty opens its 2016 schedule on Feb. 1 against Big South foe Longwood at 2 p.m. at the Crosswhite Athletic Club (formerly the Sports Racket) in Lynchburg. The 2017 Big South Women's Tennis Championship will be held at Wake Forest from April 20-23.
2017 Big South Conference Preseason Women's Tennis Poll Team (first-place votes) Total Points
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