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Men's Tennis Ready for Three Road Contests, This Week

March 21, 2017  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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The Flames will take on East Carolina (Wednesday), Gardner-Webb (Saturday) and No. 17 Georgia Tech (Sunday), this week.

The Flames will take on East Carolina (Wednesday), Gardner-Webb (Saturday) and No. 17 Georgia Tech (Sunday), this week.

The Liberty Flames men's tennis team will play three more matches away from Lynchburg this week, traveling to East Carolina, Gardner-Webb and No. 17 Georgia Tech.

The Flames (7-7, 0-2 Big South), who come into the week on a three-match winning streak, will play a non-conference match at East Carolina (13-3, 2-0 AAC) on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. at the River Birch Tennis Complex in Greenville, N.C.

On Saturday, Liberty will return to Big South Conference competition against Gardner-Webb (7-10, 2-1 Big South) at noon at the GWU Tennis Courts in Boiling Springs, N.C. Following Saturday's match, the Flames will take on No. 17 Georgia Tech (10-2, 3-0 ACC) at 5:30 p.m., Sunday at the Ken Byers Tennis Complex in Atlanta, Ga.

Series History
Liberty is 1-6 all-time against ECU. The Flames' lone series win came in the two teams' last meeting on March 20, 2016 in Lynchburg. Liberty bested ECU, 4-2, on that day.

Against Gardner-Webb, the Flames are 8-9 in the all-time series. The Flames and Bulldogs met twice last year, once in the regular season and once in the 2016 Big South Conference Men's Tennis Championship.  Gardner-Webb bested Liberty, 4-3, on April 1, 2016, but the Flames won, 4-0, over the Bulldogs in the Big South Championship quarterfinals on April 14, 2016.

Liberty and Georgia Tech will be meeting for the first time, Sunday.

Flames Facts
Liberty reeled off three wins last week at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla., to conclude its spring break trip. The Flames knocked off Farleigh Dickinson, Fairfield and Saint Joseph's to bring their record back to .500 (7-7).

Freshman Vince Salas owns the Flames' best overall mark (16-10) in singles, this year. The Angeles, Philippines, native is 8-6 in singles dual competition, so far this spring. Salas and junior captain Diego Castano hold the best doubles record for Liberty in the spring at 4-3, while Salas and sophomore captain Eddie Gutierrez teamed up for three convincing doubles victories, last week.

Gutierrez went 3-0 in both singles and doubles, last week. He now stands at 8-6 in singles in the spring, including a combined 7-1 record from the No. 2 and No. 3 spots in the lineup.

Fellow freshman Chase Burton, a two-time Big South Freshman of the Week, has 13 singles victories for the season, including a 4-2 mark playing out of the No. 1 slot and 2-0 record in the No. 3 position. Junior captain Diego Castano has reeled off three consecutive singles victories to get to 7-7 in dual competition.

Scouting East Carolina
The Pirates will enter Wednesday's contest with a four-match winning streak, including wins over Palm Beach Atlantic, Davis & Elkins, Mount Olive and UNCG. ECU's nine-man roster is made up of two freshmen, four sophomores, two juniors and a senior.

East Carolina boasts a 67-20 combined record in singles play, this spring. Sophomore Vlad Anghel (12-3), senior Frederic Lehfeldt (11-2) and sophomore Ronny Giorgi (11-3) have the three best singles records on the squad. ECU's doubles pairings are 31-11 overall, led by Anghel and Lehfeldt (11-1).

The Pirates are coached by Shawn Heinchon, who was been in charge of the program since July of 2005.

Scouting Gardner-Webb
The Bulldogs, who were picked to finish fifth in the Big South Conference men's tennis preseason poll, have won two of three contests so far in league play. After losing their Big South opener to Presbyterian, they have since defeated UNC Asheville and Radford.

Gardner-Webb's 10-player 2016-17 roster features four freshmen, three sophomores and three juniors. The Bulldogs' most accomplished player is 2016 Big South All-Conference first team singles and doubles player Maximilian Scholl, a sophomore from Stuttgart, Germany.

Mike Griffith is in his 16th year as head coach of the Bulldogs.

Scouting Georgia Tech
The No. 17 Yellow Jackets will first take on No. 1 Wake Forest at noon on Sunday in a battle of top-25 teams. They will enter Sunday's matches with Wake Forest and Liberty with eight consecutive victories, most recently over Florida State (March 5) and Miami (March 12).

Georgia Tech's roster is comprised of a pair of freshmen, pair of sophomores, four juniors and two seniors. Senior Cole Fiegel is a perfect 9-0 in singles play out of the No. 4-6 positions, while senior Carlos Benito (8-1) and junior Christopher Eubanks (7-1) boast strong records as well for a Yellow Jackets squad that is 49-16 in singles, this spring. In doubles, Fiegel and sophomore Andrew Li (7-1) have the best record among Georgia Tech duos in the spring.

Head coach Kenny Thorne has guided the Yellow Jackets to the NCAA Championship 12 times in his first 18 years at the helm.