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Liberty Rebounds from Shaky Start for 4-2 Win over Florida Atlantic, Friday

February 24, 2017  Orlando, Fla.  RSS
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After dropping the doubles point, the Lady Flames won four singles matches to defeat Florida Atlantic, 4-2.

After dropping the doubles point, the Lady Flames won four singles matches to defeat Florida Atlantic, 4-2.

After dropping the doubles point on Friday, the Liberty women's tennis squad rebounded to win four singles matches and defeat Florida Atlantic, 4-2, at the USTA National Campus.

With the victory, the Lady Flames move above .500 at 5-4, while the Owls fall to 4-4 with the loss. The neutral site match was hosted by UCF.

"After some shaky doubles, the girls came out for singles with great composure and mental fortitude," stated Liberty head coach Jeff Maren. "I'm so proud of how we were able to turn the match around."

The match started with FAU taking two of three doubles contests to capture the doubles point.

 In the No. 1 doubles match, FAU's Lauren Fabrizi and Ana Gutierrez bested Liberty's sophomore tandem of Rebekah Anderson and Aleksandra Panchenko, 6-1. FAU's pairing won 25 of 37 points (68 percent) in the match and 69 percent (9-of-13) of their first-serve points.

Liberty's senior duo of Mariely Hassey and Emily Groeneveld recorded a 6-3 triumph over Lyndsey Boos and Marisa Ruiz. In that match, the seniors won 31-of-50 points (62 percent) and 12-of-18 first-serve points (67 percent).

The deciding doubles match went to Florida Atlantic's Alisa Rudenko and Heather Walton, 7-5, over the Lady Flames' Anna Dollar and Evangeline Crist. The tight match featured 34 points from the Owls to 33 for the Lady Flames. Rudenko and Walton won 3-of-4 break points, compared to just 2-of-7 for Liberty.

Once singles play started, Liberty's Crist evened the match at 1-1 with an efficient, 6-0, 6-2 victory over Boos in the No. 3 position. The win moved Crist to 5-2 in singles play, this spring.

In the No. 1 doubles slot, Anderson gave the Lady Flames a 2-1 lead with a straight-sets (6-2, 6-4) win over Fabrizi.

"Although we didn't play our best in doubles, everyone really stepped it up in singles and had belief in themselves and their game," Anderson said. "We are looking forward to using the momentum from today and transferring it to tomorrow's match."

 Dollar extended the Liberty advantage to 3-1 with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Gutierrez, her fifth dual match singles victory of 2017.

Ruiz brought FAU within a point (3-2) by prevailing in two sets (6-2, 7-6 (2)) over Lady Flames freshman Eugenia Camacho, in the No. 4 singles match.

Liberty's Hassey, the reigning Big South Women's Tennis Player of the Week, continued her winning ways by defeating Rudenko, 7-5, 6-3, in the No. 6 match. The victory gave the Lady Flames the winning point and a victory over the Owls in the first-ever meeting between the two schools.

The win was Hassey's 60th singles victory in her four-year Liberty career. It moved her into a tie with Nicola Wellman (2011-15) for fifth-most in program history.

Groeneveld's match against Naiya Oden went unfinished. Groeneveld dropped the first set, 6-3, to Oden but led 6-5 in set two.

The Lady Flames will play host No. 46 UCF (8-1) on Saturday at 4 p.m. at the USTA National Campus. Live video and live stats for the match are available on LibertyFlames.com through the women's tennis schedule page.