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Men's Tennis Set to Face James Madison, Saturday

February 2, 2017  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Heller and the Flames host JMU on Saturday afternoon in Lynchburg.

Heller and the Flames host JMU on Saturday afternoon in Lynchburg.

The Liberty men's tennis team is set to play its third match of the spring at home against James Madison, Saturday afternoon.

The Flames (2-0) will take on the Dukes (1-2) at 1 p.m. at the Crosswhite Athletic Club in Lynchburg. The contest will be the 19th all-time meeting between the two programs. The Dukes hold a 13-5 series advantage, but the Flames rolled to a 7-0 victory in the last meeting on Jan. 23, 2015, in Lynchburg.

2017 Season-Opening Weekend Recap
Liberty began its spring 2017 campaign last Saturday with victories over King and Bluefield State.

Sophomore Eddie Gutierrez and freshman Chase Burton each collected a doubles and singles win against King. The Flames bested the Tornado, 5-2.

In Saturday's second match, Liberty edged Bluefield State, 4-3. Both Gutierrez and Burton contributed again with victories at doubles and singles, while junior captain Diego Castano clinched the match with a three-set victory.

The Flames have opened the season 2-0 four out of the last five years.

Burton Garners Big South Honor
After helping the Liberty men's tennis team to a 2-0 start to its spring season, Burton was named the Big South Freshman of the Week.

He opened up his spring campaign with a pair of doubles wins and two singles wins over King and Bluefield State.

Youth Being Served
Liberty's 2016-17 roster is made up of three freshmen (Samuel Brown, Chase Burton and Vince Salas), four sophomores (Max Borcuti, Eddie Gutierrez, Ryker Heller and Alex Poynter) and a junior (Diego Castano).

Burton enters his first spring campaign ranked No. 19 in singles in the Atlantic Region, while Salas posted a team-best 8-4 mark in singles play during the fall. The Flames' strongest doubles pairing in the fall was Castano and Poynter, who went 6-1.

2017 Big South Outlook
The Flames (41 points) were picked to finish fourth in the Big South Conference men's tennis preseason poll. Winthrop (54 points) earned the top spot, followed by Presbyterian (52 points) and Campbell (50 points).

Gardner-Webb (35 points) was selected to finish fifth, followed by UNC Asheville (27 points), Radford (16 points) and Longwood (13 points).

Liberty's Big South schedule will start on March 1 vs. Longwood in Lynchburg. The 2017 Big South Men's Tennis Championship will be played at Wake Forest, April 19-21.

Scouting James Madison
The Dukes are off to a 1-2 start in 2017, with their victory coming over Howard and losses at the hands of Charlotte and George Mason. In the spring of 2016, JMU posted a 9-12 overall mark and 1-4 record in CAA play.

James Madison's nine-man roster is composed of four freshmen, one junior and four seniors. The Dukes are coached by Steve Secord, who is in his 23th season as head coach.