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Thomas-Smith, Flames Top Tribe 4-3 in Thriller

February 21, 2021  Williamsburg, Va.  RSS
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Thomas-Smith's efforts in the last match on court lifted Liberty to a 4-3 win at William & Mary.

Thomas-Smith's efforts in the last match on court lifted Liberty to a 4-3 win at William & Mary.

With Sunday's match between Liberty and William & Mary coming down to the wire, the Flames' Deji Thomas-Smith delivered a three-set victory to propel the visitors to a 4-3 win over the Tribe at the McCormack-Nagelsen Tennis Center.

Thomas-Smith trailed 5-4 in the third set of his court four match with Joseph Brailovsky but won the next game to make it 5-all. He then fell behind 30-0 in the following game before rallying past Brailovsky to take a 6-5 lead. In the clinching game, Thomas-Smith built up a 40-15 lead and closed out the match for a 7-5, 1-6, 7-5 triumph, sending Liberty to its second victory over William & Mary in seven days.

Through the first 10 matches of the 2021 season, Liberty stands at 6-4 and has won five of its last six. William & Mary falls to 1-3 on the season. The Flames have now defeated the Tribe in four straight meetings, including twice since Monday. Liberty topped William & Mary 5-2 on Monday in its first-ever match in the new Liberty Indoor Tennis Center.

Thoughts From Head Coach Derek Schwandt
"It was an awesome team effort today. Our guys fought hard for each other."

Liberty 4, William & Mary 3

Singles Competition
1. Nicaise Muamba (LIBERTYM) def. Brenden Volk (WM) 6-1, 7-6
2. Lev Kazakov (WM) def. Josh Wilson (LIBERTYM) 6-4, 7-5
3. R. Marques Da Silva (LIBERTYM) def. Sebastian Quiros (WM) 6-2, 6-1
4. Deji Thomas-Smith (LIBERTYM) def. Joseph Brailovsky (WM) 7-5, 1-6, 7-5
5. Finbar Talcott (WM) def. Goncalo Ferreira (LIBERTYM) 7-6, 5-7, 7-5
6. Daniel Pellerito (WM) def. Christiaan Worst (LIBERTYM) 7-5, 2-6, 6-4

Doubles Competition
1. George Davis/Brenden Volk (WM) def. Goncalo Ferreira/Josh Wilson (LIBERTYM) 6-3
2. Christiaan Worst/Deji Thomas-Smith (LIBERTYM) def. Joseph Brailovsky/Lev Kazakov (WM) 7-5
3. Nicaise Muamba/R. Marques Da Silva (LIBERTYM) def. Finbar Talcott/Daniel Pellerito (WM) 7-5

Liberty 6-4
William & Mary 1-3
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (3,2,1,5,6,4)
T-3:31

How It Happened
• Three of the six singles contests required three sets to decide a winner, with William & Mary winning two of the three. Thomas-Smith was the lone Flame to win a three-setter. The other two three-set matches were both taken by the Tribe when they trailed 3-1, evening up the match at 3-3.
• In those other two three-set bouts, Finbar Talcott (No. 5 singles) defeated Liberty's Goncalo Ferreira 7-6, 5-7, 7-5, and Daniel Pellerito (No. 6) bested the Flames' Christiaan Worst (7-5, 2-6, 6-4).
• The doubles point turned out to be critical in deciding the match, with Liberty collecting the first point of the day by virtue of victories on courts three and two, both by 7-5 scores. Nicaise Muamba and Rafael Marques Da Silva of the Flames knocked off Talcott and Pellerito, while Worst and Thomas-Smith edged Brailovsky and Lev Kazakov.
• With a 1-0 lead, Liberty won two of the first three singles matches to build up a 3-1 lead.
• Marques Da Silva was the first Flame to secure victory, 6-2, 6-1 over Sebastian Quiros in the No. 3 slot for a 2-0 Liberty lead. The Tribe's Kazakov upended Wilson 6-4, 7-5 on court two for the home side's first point of the day.
• Two-time ASUN Player of the Week Muamba added to his season win total with a 6-1, 7-6 result over Volk at No. 1 singles for the 3-1 Liberty lead. The Liberty junior is now one win shy of 50 career singles victories as a Flame.

Next Up
• Liberty's next match will be at home against in-state foe Richmond (0-2), March 4 at 3 p.m.
• The Flames and Spiders last met in 2019 in what was a neutral-site evening match at Boar's Head Sports Club in Charlottesville, Va. Liberty got past Richmond 4-3.