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.