Defending Champion Liberty Set for 2022 ASUN Men’s Tennis Championship
Live Scoring: Liberty vs. Jacksonville State (Friday)
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Liberty will look to defend its conference title when it competes at the 2022 ASUN Men’s Tennis Championship, hosted by FGCU.
The No. 3 seed and 67th-ranked Flames (10-10, 6-2 ASUN) will take on No. 6 seed Jacksonville State (8-9, 3-5 ASUN), Friday in the ASUN Championship quarterfinals at the FGCU Tennis Complex in Fort Myers, Fla. Match time is 5 p.m.
Liberty brings a 10-10 overall record into the championship. The Flames finished with a 6-2 record in ASUN regular season contests, winning their last six league matches, to earn the No. 3 seed. Meanwhile, the Jacksonville State Gamecocks are 8-9 overall and posted a 3-5 ASUN mark. JSU topped Lipscomb 5-2 last Saturday to get into the tournament field.
The winner of Friday’s match between the Flames and Gamecocks will advance to face No. 2 seed and 75th-ranked Kennesaw State (15-5, 7-1 ASUN) in the semifinals, Saturday at 5 p.m. On the other side of the bracket are No. 1 seed and 71st-ranked FGCU (14-6, 7-1 ASUN), No. 4 seed and 70th-ranked North Florida (15-7, 6-2 ASUN) and No. 5 seed Stetson (11-9, 4-4 ASUN).
The championship match will be contested on Sunday at 1 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN+. The winner of the ASUN Tournament will receive an automatic bid to the 2022 NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championship.
2022 ASUN Men’s Tennis Championship – FGCU Tennis Complex – Fort Myers, Fla.
Friday, April 22 – Quarterfinals
No. 3 seed Liberty (10-10, 6-2 ASUN) vs. No. 6 seed Jacksonville State (8-9, 3-5 ASUN), 5 p.m.
No. 4 seed North Florida (15-7, 6-2 ASUN) vs. No. 5 seed Stetson (11-9, 4-4 ASUN), 5 p.m.
Saturday, April 23 – Semifinals
Winner of No. 3 seed Liberty/No. 6 seed Jacksonville State vs. No. 2 seed Kennesaw State (15-5, 7-1 ASUN), 5 p.m.
Winner of No. 4 seed North Florida/No. 5 seed Stetson vs. No. 1 seed FGCU (14-6, 7-1 ASUN), 5 p.m.
Sunday, April 24 – Final
Winners of semifinals, 1 p.m. – ESPN+
History in ASUN Championship
Liberty is making its third appearance in the ASUN Men’s Tennis Championship. The Flames are the defending champion and hold a 3-1 all-time mark in the tournament. Liberty (No. 1 seed North Division) bested Bellarmine (4-0 final), Kennesaw State (4-1 final) and FGCU (4-0 final) on the way to winning its first conference title in program history in 2021.
Liberty’s Rafael Marques Da Silva earned 2021 ASUN Men’s Tennis Championship MVP and All-Tournament team honors, while Deji Thomas-Smith also earned a spot on the All-Tournament team.
The 2020 ASUN Championship was not held due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, the Flames were 6-1 in the regular season in their first year in the league, earning the No. 2 seed for the ASUN Championship. No. 3 seed North Florida edged the second-seeded Flames 4-3 in the semifinal round.
Liberty was picked to finish first in this year’s preseason poll. This is the first year that the Flames are the No. 3 seed for the ASUN Tournament. Jacksonville State rejoined the ASUN this year and are the No. 6 seed.
Series History vs. the Field
Liberty vs. Jacksonville State: Tied 1-1
Last Meeting: Liberty topped Jacksonville State 5-2 at the Liberty Tennis Complex, March 25. The Flames’ only other meeting against the Gamecocks came in 1989.
Liberty vs. Kennesaw State: Liberty leads 3-1
Last Meeting: The Flames fell 4-1 to the Owls in the ASUN opener, March 19 in Kennesaw, Ga.
Liberty vs. FGCU: FGCU leads 3-1
Last Meeting: FGCU edged Liberty 4-3 on March 20 at the FGCU Tennis Complex. The Flames’ lone win in the series was the 4-0 victory in the 2021 ASUN Men’s Tennis Championship final.
Liberty vs. North Florida: Liberty leads 2-1
Last Meeting: The Flames swept the Ospreys 7-0, last Thursday at the Liberty Tennis Complex.
Liberty vs. Stetson: Liberty leads 2-1
Last Meeting: The Flames downed the Hatters 6-1, last Saturday on Nicaise Muamba’s Senior Day.
Flames News and Notes
• Liberty is in search of its second conference championship in program history. The Flames’ 2021 ASUN crown was their first in program history.
• The Flames won their final six ASUN regular season matches. Liberty has won exactly six conference contests in each year in the league and sports an 18-3 all-time mark in ASUN regular season competition.
• Liberty (10-10) has 10 or more victories in four straight full seasons and in 12 of the last 13 years.
• Flames junior Josh Wilson earned ASUN Player of the Week honors on March 8, his sixth career honor. Wilson is 12-5 in spring singles matches and has won eight doubles matches. The Reigate, United Kingdom native leads all Flames with 27 singles victories between spring and fall competition. The program record is 28 wins, set by Sam Matheson in 2016.
• Wilson and his current doubles partner, Christiaan Worst, are 6-1 in the No. 3 slot. Worst paces all Liberty players with 14 singles victories and a 14-5 mark, this spring.
• Liberty was well-represented in last year’s ASUN postseason awards with eight different honorees: Muamba (ASUN Player of the Year, ASUN All-Conference first team), Thomas-Smith (ASUN Doubles Pair of the Year, ASUN All-Conference first team, ASUN All-Freshmen team), Wilson (ASUN Scholar-Athlete of the Year, ASUN All-Conference second team, ASUN All-Academic team), Worst (ASUN Doubles Pair of the Year), Derek Schwandt (ASUN Coach of the Year), Marques Da Silva (ASUN All-Conference first team, ASUN All-Freshmen team) and Steve Mundt (ASUN All-Academic team). Last year’s awards were released after the ASUN Championship. This year, they will be released later in the day on Thursday prior to the start of the championship.
• Liberty was 30-6 (.833) in singles and 11-3 (.786) in doubles during its six-match ASUN winning streak to close the regular season. Muamba (6-0), Worst (6-0) and Wilson (5-0) each won five or more matches without losing during that stretch. The Flames’ Wilson/Worst were 4-0 in doubles during that time.
• Liberty finished with a 6-1 record at home this season. The Flames were 4-7 in road matches and 0-2 in neutral site contests during the regular season.