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Gutierrez Delivers on Senior Day, Flames Battle Past Ospreys 4-3

April 6, 2019  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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With the match on the line, Liberty senior Eddie Gutierrez delivered a dramatic come-from-behind three-set win on his Senior Day, sending the Flames to a 4-3 victory over the visiting North Florida Ospreys at the Cook Tennis Center on Saturday afternoon.

Gutierrez, who was honored prior to the match, was locked in a battle with his counterpart, Jorge Nunez, of UNF. Gutierrez and Nunez were tied 3-3 in the third set in the deciding match, with the two teams tied at 3-apiece. The Flames' senior won the next two games and dropped the next game to set the stage for a dramatic fashion.

With Nunez serving and Gutierrez leading 5-4, Gutierrez built a 40-15 lead. Nunez took the next two points, setting up a pivotal deuce point. Nunez sailed a ball long over the back line following a short rally, giving Gutierrez the comeback 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 triumph. It was Gutierrez 68th career singles victory, which ranks sixth in program history in singles wins.

The Flames improve to 11-9 overall and 5-0 in the ASUN with their fifth straight win. Liberty is 5-0 in conference play for the first time in school history. The Flames close out their home schedule a perfect 6-0. Liberty now shares first place in the conference with Florida Gulf Coast (5-0), a 5-2 winner over Lipscomb on Saturday.

UNF falls to 10-10 on the season and 3-2 in the ASUN and sees its five-match winning streak halted.

Liberty 4, North Florida 3

Singles Competition
1. Nicaise Muamba (LIBERTYM) def. Sahil Deshmukh (UNF) 6-2, 6-4
2. Josh Wilson (LIBERTYM) def. Dominik Barton (UNF) 6-2, 6-0
3. Till Von Winning (UNF) def. Chase Burton (LIBERTYM) 6-4, 3-6, 6-2
4. Nilo Duarte (UNF) def. Ian Sturgill (LIBERTYM) 6-3, 7-6 (7-1)
5. Eddie Gutierrez (LIBERTYM) def. Jorge Nunez (UNF) 5-7, 6-4, 6-4
6. Federico Nani (UNF) def. Vince Salas (LIBERTYM) 7-6 (9-7), 5-7, 6-3

Doubles Competition
1. Nicaise Muamba/Chase Burton (LIBERTYM) def. #83 Nilo Duarte/Sahil Deshmukh (UNF) 6-4
2. Josh Wilson/Ian Sturgill (LIBERTYM) def. Jorge Nunez/Federico Nani (UNF) 6-4
3. Dominik Barton/Till Von Winning (UNF) def. Vince Salas/Steve Mundt (LIBERTYM) 6-3

North Florida 10-10, 3-1 ASUN
Liberty 11-9, 5-0 ASUN
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (2,4,1,3,6,5)
Official: D Harrison/A Sarver T-3:35

Thoughts From Head Coach Derek Schwandt
"Thank you to our awesome fans who come out to support today. It was a great college match from start to finish."

How It Happened

  • The Flames took the doubles point from the Ospreys with victories on courts two and one.
  • UNF started strong in the doubles session with a 6-3 victory from its No. 3 duo of Domonik Barton and Till Von Winning over Liberty's Vince Salas and Steve Mundt.
  • Locked in a 4-4 battle, the Flames freshmen No. 2 duo of Josh Wilson and Ian Sturgill pulled through with a 6-4 victory against UNF's Jorge Nunez and Federico Nani.
  • Liberty's top pairing, Nicaise Muamba and Chase Burton, trailed No. 83 Nilo Duarte and Sahil Deshmukh 4-3 in the deciding match. Muamba and Burton rallied to take the next three games and the match, 6-4. They are now 10-6 at No. 1 doubles following their third victory of the season over a ranked pairing.
  • Leading 1-0, the Flames added to their advantage. Wilson's dominant 6-2, 6-0 triumph over Barton on court two made it 2-0 Liberty. Wilson never trailed in his match on the way to his team-leading 15th triumph of the spring and fifth win in a row.
  • North Florida drew within a point (2-1) with Duarte's two-set win over Sturgill (6-3, 7-6 (1)) on court four.
  • Liberty's top singles player, Muamba, knocked off Deshmukh in consecutive sets 6-2, 6-4. Like Wilson, Muamba never trailed in his match on the way to his fourth straight triumph and team-leading 24th win of the 2018-19 campaign. The Flames sophomore's decision made it 3-1 Flames.
  • The Ospreys responded with a pair of lengthy three-set wins on courts three and six to even the score at 3-3. Von Winning got past Burton 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, while Nani upended Salas in three sets as well (7-6 (7), 5-7, 6-3.
  • Gutierrez's match-clinching win, his second straight, was his fourth ASUN singles victory of the season. He is now 4-1 in ASUN matches and 3-1 in the No. 5 position, this spring.
  • Saturday's match marked the first-ever meeting between the two schools.

Next Up

  • Liberty (11-9) and Florida Gulf Coast (10-8), both 5-0 in the ASUN, will square off with first place on the line, Thursday in Fort Myers, Fla. First serve between the Flames and Eagles is pegged for 5 p.m. at the FGCU Tennis Complex.
  • Liberty and FGCU will be meeting for the second time but first as ASUN Conference members. Florida Gulf Coast defeated Liberty in a neutral-site match in Miami, Fla., in 2015.