The 39th-ranked Furman Paladins erased a pair of big Liberty third set leads and completed the comeback, topping the Lady Flames 4-3 at the Cook Tennis Center on Saturday afternoon.
The loss snaps Liberty's 11-match home winning streak which dated back to the 2018 campaign. The Lady Flames are now 4-4 on the year. Furman (9-3) runs its winning streak to seven with the improbable triumph.
Liberty sophomore Alexandra Almborg led 5-1 in the third set against Paladins sophomore Julia Adams, but Adams won six consecutive games to take the match 7-5, 2-6, 7-5 and even the overall score at 3-3.
Furman sophomore Madison Dillon trailed Lady Flames junior Caisey Lee Emery 5-2, 40-0 in the third set but staved off defeat by winning the next four points make it 5-3. Dillon won the next two games to even it at 5-all, before Emery regained the lead at 6-5. Dillon then took a deuce point at 6-5 and dominated the third-set tiebreaker to outlast Emery, 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (2), and give the visitors the 4-3 victory.
Furman 4, Liberty 3
Singles Competition 1. Julia Adams (FUR) def. Alexandra Almborg (LIBERTYW) 7-5, 2-6, 7-5 2. Tiffany Nguyen (LIBERTYW) def. MaryAnn Rompf (FUR) 6-4, 6-4 3. Esther Lovato (LIBERTYW) def. Georgie Walker (FUR) 6-2, 6-1 4. Madison Dillon (FUR) def. Caisey Lee Emery (LIBERTYW) 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (7-2) 5. Maggie Pate (FUR) def. Micaela Ode Mitre (LIBERTYW) 6-4, 6-3 6. Danni Vines (FUR) def. Eloise Saraty (LIBERTYW) 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
Doubles Competition 1. #38 Madison Dillon/Julia Adams (FUR) def. Tiffany Nguyen/Micaela Ode Mitre (LIBERTYW) 6-0 2. Alexandra Almborg/Caisey Lee Emery (LIBERTYW) def. MaryAnn Rompf/Georgie Walker (FUR) 6-4 3. Esther Lovato/Eloise Saraty (LIBERTYW) def. Maggie Pate/Danni Vines (FUR) 6-1
Furman 9-3; National ranking #39 Liberty 4-4 Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (3,5,6,2,1,4) Official: B Harrison/J Conley T-2:58
How It Happened • The Lady Flames took the doubles point for the first time against a ranked opponent since they won the doubles session at No. 67 Furman on Feb. 19, 2017. Liberty has won the doubles point in six of eight matches, this spring. • The Lady Flames' doubles wins came on courts three and two after the Paladins' No. 1 doubles team, No. 38 Madison Dillon and Julia Adams, topped Tiffany Nguyen and Micaela Ode Mitre 6-0. Liberty's freshmen duo of Esther Lovato and Eloise Saraty, paired together for the first time this spring, led throughout their No. 3 doubles match with Maggie Pate and Danni Vines in securing a 6-1 victory. • Trailing 4-3 and 40-30 on court two, the Liberty pairing of Alexandra Almborg and Caisey Lee Emery came back to beat MaryAnn Rompf and Georgie Walker 6-4 to give the hosts a 1-0 edge. • Liberty's lead grew to 2-0 with another impressive performance from Lovato in singles. The Austin, Texas, native led throughout her match against Walker at flight three and picked up a 6-2, 6-1 win. Lovato is 6-2 in spring singles matches and is second on the team in wins, behind only senior Kalani Soli (7-0). • Furman's first point of the day came from Pate in the No. 4 slot, a straight-sets (6-4, 6-3) Ode Mitre. The Paladins evened the match at 2-2 with a three-set triumph from Vines (No. 6 singles) against her counterpart, Saraty, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. • Shortly after Vines tied the score, Liberty's Nguyen put the hosts back in front 3-2 with her 6-4, 6-4 result over Rompf on court two. Nguyen led 5-4 in the second and served her way to victory with four straight points to take the match. The Lady Flames freshman overcame a 4-1 first-set deficit and won 11 of the last 15 games. • The victories from Adams (No. 1 singles) and Dillon (No. 4) of the Paladins gave Liberty its third 4-3 loss of 2020. Emery of the Lady Flames was playing her first spring singles match. • Liberty is 0-3 against Furman in the all-time series and has lost to the Paladins by a 4-3 count twice. The teams have met three of the last four years, with the Lady Flames taking the doubles point in two of those three matches. • Liberty's last victory over a ranked team was a 4-3 decision over former Big South rival No. 53 Winthrop on March 19, 2016.
Next Up • The Lady Flames will continue their homestand with a pair of matches next weekend against Georgia State and Mount St. Mary's. Liberty will host Georgia State on Friday morning at 11 a.m., followed by a Saturday afternoon contest against Mount St. Mary's at 1 p.m.