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Liberty Edged by VCU 4-3 on Friday Afternoon in Lynchburg

February 7, 2020  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Mundt won in doubles along Nicaise Muamba, Friday.

Mundt won in doubles along Nicaise Muamba, Friday.

In a back-and-forth battle between two Commonwealth squads, the visiting VCU Rams edged the Liberty Flames 4-3, Friday afternoon at Crosswhite Athletic Club.

In a match which took over four hours to settle, Timo Zgraggen (VCU) broke a 3-3 tie with his three-set win (6-2, 4-6, 6-3) over Liberty's Ian Sturgill in the No. 6 singles position to wrap up the victory. VCU has now taken all five meetings with the Flames.

Liberty (3-2) sees its three-match winning streak and unbeaten home record (now 3-1) snapped. VCU moves to 4-2 and has now won three straight contests. This was the Flames' first home loss since the 2018 campaign. They had entered the match having won nine in a row on their home courts.

Flames senior Chase Burton earned his 74th singles victory in a Liberty uniform in the match, moving into a tie for first place for all-time singles wins in program history. Burton now shares the top spot with Egon Samaai (74 victories, 2012-16) and Siim Tuus (74 wins, 2009-13) and needs one more triumph to establish a new program record.

VCU 4, Liberty 3

Singles Competition
1. Lleyton Cronje (VCU) def. Nicaise Muamba (LIBERTYM) 4-6, 6-2, 6-2
2. Charles Bertimon (VCU) def. Josh Wilson (LIBERTYM) 6-3, 7-5
3. Chase Burton (LIBERTYM) def. Inigo Torre Martin (VCU) 6-3, 6-3
4. Rayane Stable (VCU) def. Goncalo Ferreira (LIBERTYM) 6-4, 6-2
5. R. Marques Da Silva (LIBERTYM) def. David Cierny (VCU) 6-1, 6-2
6. Timo Zgraggen (VCU) def. Ian Sturgill (LIBERTYM) 6-2, 4-6, 6-3

Doubles Competition
1. Nicaise Muamba/Steve Mundt (LIBERTYM) def. Charles Bertimon/Lleyton Cronje (VCU) 6-4
2. Josh Wilson/Goncalo Ferreira (LIBERTYM) vs. Rayane Stable/Inigo Torre Martin (VCU) 5-4, unfinished
3. Ian Sturgill/Deji Thomas-Smith (LIBERTYM) def. Timo Zgraggen/Daniel Khin (VCU) 6-3

VCU 4-2
Liberty 3-2
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (4,3,2,1,5,6)
Official: B Harrison/J Conley T-4:15

How It Happened
• Liberty established an early 1-0 edge by capturing the doubles point for the fourth straight match. The Flames swept the doubles session.
• Flames head coach Derek Schwandt employed two new spring doubles pairings on Friday, and both duos collected victories. Ian Sturgill and Deji Thomas-Smith topped Zgraggen and Daniel Khin 6-3 at No. 3 doubles. Liberty's Nicaise Muamba and Steve Mundt (No. 1 doubles) secured the doubles victory and a 1-0 lead with their 6-4 decision over Charles Bertimon and Lleyton Cronje on court two.
• Neither team led by more than one point in the match. Stable (VCU) knotted the match at 1-1 with his straight-sets win (6-4, 6-2) versus Ferreira in the No. 4 singles match. On court three, Burton knocked off Torre Martin 6-3, 6-3 to regain the lead for the hosts (2-1). Shortly later, the Rams squared the match at 2-all when Bertimon downed Wilson 6-3, 7-5 on court two.
• After dropping the opening set to Muamba, VCU's Cronje (No. 1 singles) came back to win in three sets 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 for a 3-2 Rams lead.
• Liberty freshman Rafael Marques Da Silva continued his winning ways with a two-set (6-1, 6-2) victory versus his counterpart, David Cierny. Marques Da Silva, now 4-1 on the year at No. 5 singles, tied the match at 3-3 with the victory.
• In the deciding match between Zgraggren (VCU) and Sturgill (Liberty), Zgraggen led by a set and held a 4-3 advantage in the second set. Sturgill battled back to win the next three games and force a third set. The VCU junior prevailed 6-3 in the third.

Next Up
• Liberty will play its second road match of the season on Sunday at Virginia Tech (2-2). Match time between the Flames and Hokies is slated for 1 p.m. at the Burrows-Burleson Tennis Center in Blacksburg, Va.
• Virginia Tech holds a 3-0 series edge over Liberty. The Hokies edged the Flames 4-3 in their most recent meeting in 2019.