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Liberty's Strong Singles Play Leads to 4-3 Win over ECU, Friday

March 24, 2017  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Crist secured the match for the Liberty over ECU with a three-set win in the No. 2 match.

Crist secured the match for the Liberty over ECU with a three-set win in the No. 2 match.

A strong singles session from the Liberty women's tennis team lifted the hosts to a 4-3 victory over visiting East Carolina, Friday afternoon at the Cook Tennis Center.

After dropping the doubles point, the Lady Flames claimed singles matches in the No. 2-5 spots in the lineup to earn the victory.

The win brings Liberty's record to 6-9 and snaps a five-match losing streak, while ECU falls to 5-7 with the setback.

"We have been struggling a bit closing matches out and beating a quality opponent. This gives us confidence going into conference and puts us closer to our end goal of winning the Big South," said Liberty senior Mariely Hassey. "It was really nice seeing the mental strength across all the courts. I was proud to see all the girls fight and show that mental strength."

The doubles point went to the Pirates. Their No. 2 duo of Maria Gomez and Nastja Rettich led throughout their match against Anna Dollar and Aleksandra Panchenko, winning, 6-2.

On court one, the Lady Flames' Rebekah Anderson and Evangeline Crist appeared to be in control of their match against Celia Ruiz and Lisa Hofbauer with a 3-1 lead. At the same time, Liberty's No. 3 team of Hassey and Emily Groeneveld led in their match.

However, Ruiz and Hofbauer closed strong, taking the final five games from Anderson and Crist for a 6-3 victory to put the Pirates ahead, 1-0. Hassey and Groeneveld, who led Michelle Castro and Annija Veinsteina, 5-2, in their match, were forced to settle for an unfinished match.

In singles play, Hassey gave the home side a strong start, dropping only two games in a straight-sets victory over Rettich (6-0, 6-2) on court five to tie the match at 1-1. With the win, she improved to 10-3 in singles competition this spring and 15-8 on the year.

The Pirates regained the overall lead in the match with a win in the No. 1 singles spot. Ruiz required two sets to get past Anderson, 6-1, 6-2, giving ECU a 2-1 edge.

Groeneveld evened the match at 2-2 with a 6-4, 6-1 triumph over Sarah Sarjoo on court five. The victory was the senior's 10th singles win, this year.

The Lady Flames took the lead for the first time on the afternoon with a win in the No. 3 match from Dollar over Veinsteina. The Liberty sophomore won set one, 6-4, before prevailing in a tiebreaker in the second set to win, 6-4, 7-6 (3). Dollar's win put Liberty ahead, 3-2.

The winning point came from Crist in the No. 2 slot, who battled back from a first-set loss to take down Hofbauer, 3-6, 6-2, 6-1. The junior's victory brought the overall score to 4-2 in favor of the Lady Flames.

The Pirates' Michelle Castro put the third point on the board for the visitors, winning a three-set battle with Liberty freshman Eugenia Camacho (3-6, 6-4, 6-2) to settle the score at 4-3.

"The windy conditions were tough for both team today, but I thought our girls played with grit and determination to get the job done," said Liberty Head Women's Tennis Coach Jeff Maren. "We started slow in doubles, but picked it up in singles against a good ECU team."

Liberty will return to Big South Conference play against Presbyterian (10-6, 0-2 Big South) on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Sunday's match vs. Presbyterian is Senior Day for the Liberty women's tennis program. Prior to the start of the match, the Lady Flames will recognize seniors Emily Groeneveld and Mariely Hassey for their accomplishments and contributions to the program.