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FIU Sneaks Past Liberty 4-3, Friday

February 7, 2020  Miami, Fla.   RSS
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Soli is now 5-0 in both singles and doubles in 2020.

Soli is now 5-0 in both singles and doubles in 2020.

The host Florida International Panthers snuck past the Liberty Lady Flames tennis team by a 4-3 score, Friday afternoon at the FIU Tennis Complex.

The match, which was delayed three hours due to inclement weather in Miami, ultimately came down to a third-set tiebreaker at No. 6 singles, with FIU's Francisca Vergara edging the Lady Flames' Eloise Saraty 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4) to give the home side the one-point victory.

Liberty sees its record drop to 3-2 with the setback. The Lady Flames are now 0-2 all-time against FIU, losing both matches by 4-3 scores. The Panthers improve to 3-1 on the season and have won two straight contests.

Florida International 4, Liberty 3

Singles Competition
1. Kalani Soli (LIBERTYW) def. Umarova,Kamila (FIU) 6-4, 6-4
2. Alcaide, Marina (FIU) def. Alexandra Almborg (LIBERTYW) 6-0, 6-3
3. Bozinovic,Sandra (FIU) def. Tiffany Nguyen (LIBERTYW) 6-2, 7-6 (7-2)
4. Esther Lovato (LIBERTYW) def. Akbas,Basak (FIU) 6-4, 7-6 (7-3)
5. Miletic,Kristina (FIU) def. Micaela Ode Mitre (LIBERTYW) 6-2, 6-1
6. Vergara,Francisca (FIU) def. Eloise Saraty (LIBERTYW) 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-4)

Doubles Competition
1. Eloise Saraty/Kalani Soli (LIBERTYW) def. Akbas,Basak/Umarova,Kamila (FIU) 7-5
2. Tiffany Nguyen/Micaela Ode Mitre (LIBERTYW) def. Vielma,Ashley/Alcaide, Marina (FIU) 6-1
3. Bozinovic,Sandra/Miletic,Kristina (FIU) def. Esther Lovato/Alexandra Almborg (LIBERTYW) 6-1

Liberty 3-2
FIU Panthers 3-1
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (2,5,3,1,4,6)

Thoughts From Head Coach Jeff Maren
"This was a heartbreaker. We were on the verge of getting blown out early in the singles, but our girls fought back and gave us a chance to win. We have some things to work on, but overall I'm very pleased with our character and effort today."

How It Happened
• The Lady Flames started strong in the match by capturing the doubles point for a third straight match.
• Liberty's top pairing of Kalani Soli and Eloise Saraty secured the first point of the match with their 7-5 decision over Basak Akbas and Kamila Umarova. The Lady Flames duo improved to 5-0 on the year.
• Liberty's other doubles victory came from freshmen Tiffany Nguyen and Micaela Ode Mitre, a 6-1 decision over Ashley Vielma and Marina Alcaide on court two.
• The Panthers overcame the early 1-0 deficit by winning at No. 2, No. 5 and No. 3 singles to take a 3-1 lead. However, the Lady Flames evened up the match at 3-all following victories from Soli (6-4, 6-4 over Umarova) and freshman Esther Lovato (6-4, 7-6 (3) over Akbas) on courts one and four, respectively.
• Soli bolstered her singles record to 5-0 in 2020, while Lovato improved to 4-1. Soli has now won 19 consecutive spring singles bouts, dating back to the 2019 campaign. 
• Saraty led Vergara 5-4 in the third set and had match point before Vergara's eventual tiebreaker victory to win the match for the Panthers.
• The Lady Flames are now 1-1 on the road, this season.
• Liberty's 3-2 record through five matches is its best start since also beginining the year 3-2 in 2015.

Next Up
• Liberty will wrap up its time in the Sunshine State with a Sunday morning match against the Florida Atlantic Owls (2-0). First serve is slated for 10 a.m. at the FAU Tennis Complex in Boca Raton, Fla.
• Liberty is 2-0 all-time against Florida Atlantic.