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Underdog Flames Down Chanticleers to Advance

April 21, 2011  Rock Hill, S.C.  RSS
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Senior Benjamin Wirth scored two wins for the Flames in their 4-1 upset win over Coastal Carolina, Thursday.

Senior Benjamin Wirth scored two wins for the Flames in their 4-1 upset win over Coastal Carolina, Thursday.

The No. 6 seeded Liberty men's tennis team knocked off No. 3 seed Coastal Carolina in the first-round of the 2011 Big South Men's Tennis Championship by a score of 4-1, Thursday.  The upset victory for the Flames advances them to the semifinal round for the second time in program history.

With the victory, Liberty improves its record to 10-11.  The 10 wins give the program its third-straight year with a double-digit win total, a first in program history.  Meanwhile, the defeat ends Coastal Carolina's season with an 11-8 record.

Looking for a different result than the regular-season matchup, Liberty began the contest by scoring the doubles point. Siim Tuus and Benjamin Wirth claimed the lead match, defeating Matt Gordon and Peter Billingham, 8-4.  Shea Thomas and Giancarlo Lemmi then wrapped up doubles play by taking down Alex Funkhouser and Dorian Sovic, 8-6, in the No. 2 contest to give Liberty a 1-0 lead.

While the Chanticleers' Danny Heidecker scored the first singles point of the match in the No. 4 position, the Flames' Thomas quickly responded by scoring a 7-6, 6-4 win over Funkhouser in the No. 3 contest, allowing Liberty to maintain a one point edge.

Similarly to the regular-season matchup, the remaining four matches were headed toward a third and deciding set.  Wirth edged the Flames closer to victory by scoring a 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 defeat of Billingham in the No. 6 match, avenging his three-set loss to Billingham in their regular-season meeting.

Tuus then ended the match with a victory in the lead singles position, taking down Matt Gordon, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 to move the Flames into the semifinal round.

Liberty returns to the courts at Winthrop University in Rock Hill S.C., tomorrow, facing No. 2 seed Radford.  The Highlanders defeated Presbyterian College 4-0 this afternoon.  Start time for the Flames versus Highlanders is slated for 1 p.m.

Liberty 4, Coastal Carolina 1
1. Siim Tuus/Benjamin Wirth (LU) def. Matt Gordon/Peter Billingham (CCU) 8-4
2. Shea Thomas/Giancarlo Lemmi (LU) def. Alex Funkhouser/Dorian Sovic (CCU) 8-6
3. Danny Heidecker/Yusuke Kusuda (CCU) vs. Tristan Stayt/Mandeep Yadav (LU) unfinished

1. Siim Tuus (LU) def. Matt Gordon (CCU) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3
2. Yusuke Kusuda (CCU) vs. Tristan Stayt (LU) 6-3, 6-6, unfinished
3. Shea Thomas (LU) def. Alex Funkhouser (CCU) 7-6, 6-4
4. Danny Heidecker (CCU) def. Giancarlo Lemmi (LU) 6-4, 6-1
5. Leo Christofides (CCU) vs. Mandeep Yadav (LU) 4-6, 6-2, 3-1, unfinished
6. Benjamin Wirth (LU) def. Peter Billingham (CCU) 6-2, 3-6, 6-2