Behind strong performances in doubles and singles from Mariely Hassey and Emily Groeneveld on Senior Day, the Liberty women's tennis team defeated visiting Presbyterian, 6-1, at the Cook Tennis Center on Sunday afternoon.
With the win, Liberty (7-9) remains unbeaten in Big South play at 4-0, while Presbyterian (11-6) falls to 1-3 in conference play.
Hassey and Groeneveld won at No. 2 doubles and each prevailed in their individual singles matches. Prior to Sunday's contest, the Liberty women's tennis team honored the two seniors for their career accomplishments and contributions to the program.
"I'm so proud of the way our seniors have stepped up this year! They made the decision to finish strong and are in a good frame of mind," stated Liberty Head Women's Tennis Coach Jeff Maren. "Their results reflect their mindset and goals."
Liberty won the doubles point by taking the No. 2 and No. 3 matches. In the No. 3 match, the Lady Flames' Rebekah Anderson and Eugenia Camacho, playing together for the first time this season, controlled their match with Beth Taylor and Brittany Nuttall throughout, winning 6-1.
The senior duo of Hassey and Groeneveld built a 3-1 lead in their match against PC's Caroline Ferrari and Mary Kathryn Dickson on the way to a 6-2 victory. The seniors' doubles triumph was their 10th as a unit, this year, and put the Lady Flames ahead, 1-0, in the match.
The final doubles match on court one went to the Blue Hose's Nicole Croxton and Tracy Johnson over the Lady Flames' Anna Dollar and Evangeline Crist, 6-2.
Hassey won in straight sets over Nuttall (6-1, 6-2) to put the hosts ahead, 2-0. The senior's win was the 65th singles victory of her four-year Liberty career, which moved her into third place in program history for singles wins.
Junior Evangeline Crist won her third straight singles match, defeating PC's Ferrari, 6-3, 6-1 on court two to give Liberty a 3-0 advantage.
Groeneveld officially put away the match for the Lady Flames in the No. 4 slot, earning a 6-2, 6-3 triumph over Croxton on court four. The victory, which put Liberty ahead, 4-0, was the 40th singles victory in a Liberty uniform for Groeneveld.
"It was really awesome to have the support of friends and family. It was a really emotional day because it made me look back on all of the time that I've spent at Liberty, and I feel grateful to be a part of this family," Groeneveld said.
Dollar picked up her second win of the weekend with a straight-sets victory (6-4, 6-2) over Beth Taylor out of the No. 3 spot in the lineup. Dollar's victory extended the home lead to 5-0.
The final two matches of the afternoon needed three sets to determine winners. On court six, Lady Flames' freshman Eugenia Camacho dominated her opening set against Thompson, 6-1. However, Thompson took the second set, 6-3, to force a deciding third.
In that third set, Camacho and Thompson were knotted, 3-3, before Camacho captured three of the final four games for a 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 victory.
The No. 1 match between Anderson and Johnson was determined in a third-set 10-point tiebreaker, after the first two sets were split. In the tiebreaker, Anderson fell behind, 7-4, before eventually evening it at 9-9. Johnson won the final two points to give the Blue Hose their lone point of the day (6-4, 4-6, 1-0 [11-9]).
"The girls did a good job of playing within themselves today, reducing errors and focusing point-by-point. We have a little momentum now and will use it during our practice and matches next week," Maren said.
Liberty (7-9, 4-0 Big South) will play a pair of Big South road contests this upcoming Friday and Saturday. On Friday, the Lady Flames will face Gardner-Webb (10-4, 4-2 Big South) at 2 p.m., followed by a Saturday showdown at Big South leader Winthrop (15-4, 6-0 Big South) at 1 p.m.