The No. 33 Maryland Terrapins topped the Liberty Lady Flames women's tennis team, 5-2, on Wednesday afternoon at the Cook Tennis Center.
With the loss, Liberty falls to 5-9 overall, losing five straight while Maryland improves to 11-1, winning five consecutive matches.
"Once again, we are knocking on the door against ranked teams but are not quite punching our way through. However, we are becoming battle-hardened because of these wars, and I have no doubt that our games are growing as a result," stated Liberty head coach Jeff Maren.
The Terrapins opened the afternoon by taking the doubles point from the Lady Flames. Maryland's No. 2 pairing of Alexandra Stanova and Kristina Hovsepyan scored a 6-3 win over Liberty's Mariely Hassey and Emily Groeneveld. Stanova and Hovsepyan took four of the first six games en route to victory.
The Terrapins secured the doubles point on court one. Their top pairing of Ekaterina Tour and Alexandra Stanova took the final four games from Rebekah Anderson and Evangeline Crist to win, 6-2, and give the visitors a 1-0 lead. The final doubles match between the Lady Flames' Anna Dollar and Aleksandra Panchenko and the Terrapins' Cassandre Thebault and Arnelle Sullivan went unfinished (5-5) after Liberty's pairing led, 5-3.
In singles, Stanova put Maryland ahead, 2-0 with a two-set triumph over Anderson (6-0, 6-1) in the No. 1 match.
Hassey provided Liberty its first point of the day in the No. 6 position to bring the home side within one (2-1) with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Caroline Williams. The senior's 63rd career win in a Liberty uniform moves her into third place all-time in program history in singles wins.
After a slow start, Tour took control of her match with Panchenko, emerging victorious (6-4, 6-2) in the No. 2 match to put Maryland ahead, 3-1.
On court four, Groeneveld and Thebault traded sets before Thebault pulled out a three-set victory, 6-4, 2-6, 6-1. The Maryland's senior's victory clinched the match for the Terrapins, extending the lead to 4-1.
In the No. 4 match between Dollar and Yemelyaneka, Dollar took the first set in a tiebreaker, 7-6, but Yemelyaneka came back to win in three sets (6-7, 6-4, 6-1). The Terrapin freshman's victory pushed the Liberty lead to 5-1.
On court three, Crist needed three sets to upend Sullivan, 6-7, 7-6, 1-0 (10-3). The Liberty junior's victory settled the score at 5-2.
"I am so proud of how Evangeline and Mariely are leading the way for us. Their mental strength has been impressive," Maren said. "They simply refuse to lose."
The Lady Flames will be back in action on Friday against East Carolina (5-6) at 2 p.m. at the Cook Tennis Center.
On Sunday, Liberty will return to Big South Conference play for a Senior Day showdown with Presbyterian (10-6, 0-2 Big South) at 1 p.m.
Sunday's match vs. Presbyterian will be Senior Day for the Liberty women's tennis program. Prior to the match, the Lady Flames will recognize seniors Emily Groeneveld and Mariely Hassey for their accomplishments and contributions to the program.