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Dukes Edge Lady Flames, 4-3, in Non-Conference Action, Tuesday

April 4, 2017  Harrisonburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty came up short in a 4-3 loss at James Madison, Tuesday.

Liberty came up short in a 4-3 loss at James Madison, Tuesday.

The James Madison Dukes edged the Liberty Lady Flames women's tennis team, 4-3, in a back-and-forth match, Tuesday afternoon at Hillside Courts.

Liberty has now dropped its last two matches and moves to 8-11 with the setback, while James Madison improves to 14-5 and has won five straight.

With the match tied, 3-3, the outcome was decided in the No. 4 singles match between Liberty junior Evangeline Crist and JMU freshman Jona Roka.

After Crist took the first set from Roka, 6-3, Roka rebounded to win both the second and third set to take the match (3-6, 6-4, 6-4) and give the Dukes the 4-3 victory. In set three, Roka trailed, 3-2, but rallied to win four of the final five games from Crist.

"Hats off to JMU for competing hard and getting the win. I'm proud of the girls for leaving it all on the court," said Liberty Head Women's Tennis Coach Jeff Maren. "Evangeline showed a lot of heart in her match and had chances to close it out. We will use this battle to help prepare us for Thursday's match."

Liberty started the afternoon by taking the doubles point for the fourth time in its last five matches. The Lady Flames' No. 2 team, Crist and sophomore Anna Dollar, collected a 6-3 victory, their 15th of the 2016-17 season, over the Dukes' Emma Petersen and Rebecca Harris.

In the match between Liberty's Rebekah Anderson and Aleksandra Panchenko and JMU's Timea Guibe and Kimmy Herrock on court one, JMU's duo prevailed, 6-3. The doubles point was settled in the No. 3 match. The Lady Flames' senior tandem of Mariely Hassey and Emily Groeneveld secured the first point of the day for the visitors by defeating Roka and Dylan Owens, 6-3.

In singles play, Harris put the host Dukes on the scoreboard with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Liberty freshman Eugenia Camacho in the No. 6 match. Harris' victory brought the score even, 1-1.

However, Groeneveld put the Lady Flames up 2-1 with a resounding 6-0, 6-1 decision over Owens on court five, her fifth consecutive singles victory. Moments later, Guibe closed out Panchenko (6-2, 6-1), tying up the match at 2-2.

James Madison captured its first lead in the No. 2 singles match, as Petersen needed two sets (6-2, 6-3) in taking down Anderson. Petersen's point put the Dukes ahead, 3-2.

Dollar knotted the score at 3-3 after a lengthy two-set bout with Herrock. She defeated Herrock, 6-3, in set one but trailed, 4-1, before mounting a furious comeback. Dollar and Herrock eventually went to a tiebreaker after taking six games apiece. In the seven-point tiebreaker, Dollar emerged with an 11-9 triumph and a 6-3, 7-6 (11-9) match victory. 

With all other singles matches wrapped up, the attention turned to court four's match between Crist and Roka, won by Roka.

Liberty will return to competition on Thursday at Charlotte (9-8). The match will commence at 2 p.m. at the Halton-Wagner Tennis Complex in Charlotte, N.C.