Siim Tuus (left) and Dillon Segur (right) are two of Liberty's top returnees this season.
The Liberty men's tennis team is set to begin its fall schedule in Athens, Ga. this weekend, competing in the Southern Intercollegiate Championships. This weekend's tournament marks the first of five tournaments that the Flames will take part in this fall.
Liberty is coming off one of its best seasons in program history. Last season's total of 15 wins marked the program's second highest single-season win total. The Flames racked up 90 singles victories on the year, as five players notched double-digit win totals for the first time since the 1990 season. The 90 singles victories last season was a major jump from the previous season's total of 62 wins.
Heading into the fall season, Liberty returns four players who accounted for 44 of the 90 singles wins last season. Siim Tuus posted 14 victories last season to lead the team, while Dillon Segur, Shea Thomas and Jorge Azuero notched 11, 10 and nine wins, respectively.
"The mark of a strong team is who they graduate and this past year we graduated our strongest senior class ever," commented head coach Chris Johnson, who enters his seventh year at the helm for the Flames. "Having said that, the four players we have coming back were all very productive and accounted for 44 wins last season. They will look to build on that success heading into this fall season."
In addition to the four returnees, Johnson has added four talented freshmen to this season's squad. Josiah Boda, Sergio Mourelo, Guillem Secanell and Egon Samaai will all look to step in and contribute immediately to the team.
Boda, who hails from Laurel Hill, N.C., is the brother of Jesse Boda from the Lady Flames tennis team. Boda earned a top 20 high school ranking in North Carolina during his playing days there.
"I'm really looking forward to watching Josiah's progress this year," stated Johnson. "His level of intensity and desire to win is on the same level as any player we have on the team."
Both Mourelo and Secanell come to Liberty from Spain. "Spain has a tradition of producing players with strong character and a big fight on the court," said Johnson. "Both of these players are no different."
Mourelo is from Valencia, Spain where he earned a top 20 sectional ranking. He also was ranked in the top 60 in the Spanish juniors division, with wins over opponents ranked in the top 100 in Spain.
Secanell is a Lleida, Spain native who has also competed at a high level in his home country. He garnered a top 20 ranking in the Catalunya section.
South African native Samaai is the third South African player in the last five years from to compete for Liberty. "South Africa has a strong Christian heritage which fits well with Liberty's strong Christian foundation," commented Johnson.
Samaai was ranked in the top 10 on the South African junior circuit and has recorded wins over some of the top 100 junior players in the world.
"No doubt we have large holes to fill with the players we graduated last year," stated Johnson. "However, this year's recruiting class is very strong and is getting better every day on the court. I'm very excited to watch their fall results."
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