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Harrell Completes Flames' 4-3 Victory over Cowboys

February 28, 2012  Tulsa, Okla.  RSS
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Freshman Wayne Harrell has won his last five singles match, and is tied for the team lead with six singles victories.

Freshman Wayne Harrell has won his last five singles match, and is tied for the team lead with six singles victories.

Freshman Wayne Harrell pulled out a three-set win in the No. 5 singles match, Tuesday, helping the Flames come from behind to knock off No. 64 Oklahoma State, 4-3, at the University of Tulsa's Case Tennis Center.  The victory is the program's first over a ranked opponent.  The match was originally scheduled as the Cowboys' home opener, but was relocated due to the threat of inclement weather.

Liberty improves to 5-3 after the program's first meeting and victory against a Big 12 program.  The win gives the Flames back-to-back wins for the first time this season, as it halts their alternating win-loss pattern.  The Flames also remain unbeaten in neutral-site matchups this season, moving to 4-0.  Meanwhile, Oklahoma State levels off at 3-3 and suffers its third consecutive setback.

"I'm so proud of our guys," remarked Liberty Head Coach Chris Johnson.  "They stepped up and played huge tennis on the road against a big team.  This is a great win that will certainly be a springboard to the goals we have set for this year."

The Flames started strong in doubles play, taking convincing victories in the top two matches to secure the 1-0 lead.  Tristan Stayt and Shea Thomas paired up for their second consecutive doubles victory, taking down the Cowboys' Brandon Champagne and Trevor Horstmann in the No. 2 match, 8-2.  The senior-junior duo of Giancarlo Lemmi and Siim Tuus then locked up the doubles point, defeating Chris Haworth and Eric West, 8-3.

Oklahoma State appeared to have stolen momentum early in singles play, led by wins from previously ranked singles competitors, Rifat Kiktyakov (112) and Haworth (115) in the No. 2 and No. 3 positions, respectively.  The wins allowed the Cowboys to claim their first lead of the afternoon, 2-1.

In the lead singles match, West took revenge on his doubles defeat as he handed Tuus just his second loss of 2012, to extend the Cowboys' lead, 3-1.

Liberty's underclassmen then came through in the clutch for the Flames, picking up wins in the final three slots of Johnson's lineup.

Freshman Dillon Segur snapped a three match slide, taking a straight-set win over Horstmann, 7-6, 6-0, in the No. 4 match, while sophomore Matt Slamecka helped square the match, 3-3, and improved to 2-0 on the year by defeating Champagne, 6-3, 6-2.

Harrell was forced to rally after dropping the opening set of his No. 5 contest, 6-4, to Adolfo Aires.  The East Windsor, Conn., native struck back with a 6-4 set of his own, and took the deciding set for his match and the overall contest, also 6-4, to give Liberty the 4-3 win.  Harrell's singles victory is his fifth straight and sixth overall, tying him for the team lead with Tuus.

The Flames will now have approximately a week to recover from their recent travel schedule, before they hit the road again to face UMBC on March 7.  Match time is to be determined.

Liberty 4, Oklahoma State, 3
1. Lemmi/Tuus (LU) def. Haworth/West (OSU), 8-3
2. Stayt/Thomas (LU) def. Champagne/Horstmann (OSU), 8-2
3. Aires/Biktyakov (OSU) def. Harrell/Slamecka (LU), 8-6

1. West (OSU) def. Tuus (LU), 6-3, 6-4
2. No. 112 Biktyakov (OSU) def. Thomas (LU), 6-1, 6-3
3. No. 115 Haworth (OSU) def. Lemmi (LU), 7-6, 6-2
4. Segur (LU) def. Horstmann (OSU), 7-6, 6-0
5. Harrell (LU) def. Aires (OSU), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
6. Slamecka (LU) def. Champagne (OSU), 6-3, 6-2