Flames Honor Muamba on Senior Day, Win 6-1 Over Stetson
The No. 72-ranked Liberty Flames honored their one senior, Nicaise Muamba, on Senior Day and came away with a 6-1 win over Stetson to close out the regular season.
Liberty (10-10) finishes the year with six straight ASUN victories. The Flames will be the No. 3 seed for next weekend’s 2022 ASUN Men’s Tennis Championship at FGCU. Liberty will face No. 6 seed Jacksonville State (8-9, 3-5 ASUN) in the quarterfinal round, Friday at 5 p.m. at the FGCU Tennis Complex.
Meanwhile, Stetson (11-9) finishes the regular season at 4-4 in league play and will be the No. 5 seed for the ASUN Tournament. The Hatters will face No. 4 seed North Florida (15-7, 6-2 ASUN) in the first round of the championship on Friday as well.
Thoughts From Head Coach Derek Schwandt
“The team did a great job pushing the culture today and honoring Nicaise.”
Prior to this afternoon’s match, the program honored its one senior, Nicaise Muamba. Here are some of his accomplishments in his time at Liberty:
• Two-time ASUN Player of the Year (2019, 2021)
• 2021 ASUN Champion
• Two-time ASUN All-Conference first team
• NCAA Men’s Tennis Singles Championship qualifier
Muamba finished up his career at the Liberty Tennis Complex in emphatic fashion, winning in both singles and doubles. The victories were No. 72 (singles) and No. 57 (doubles) in his Flames career, respectively.
#72 Liberty 6, Stetson 1
- Josh Wilson (LIBERTYM) def. Diogo Marques (STET) 7-5, 6-2
- Nicaise Muamba (LIBERTYM) def. Tristan Dumas (STET) 6-3, 6-4
- R. Marques Da Silva (LIBERTYM) def. Ervin Eminefendic (STET) 1-6, 6-3, 6-1
- Christiaan Worst (LIBERTYM) def. Fabian Penzkofer (STET) 6-1, 7-5
- Thando Longwe-Smit (LIBERTYM) def. Tim Gennes (STET) 6-4, 2-6, 6-4
- Sami Ozzor (STET) def. Zion Heaven (LIBERTYM) 6-3, 7-6 (7-3)
- Nicaise Muamba/R. Marques Da Silva (LIBERTYM) def. Diogo Marques/Clement Hamel (STET) 6-3
- Omar El Kadi/Thando Longwe-Smit (LIBERTYM) vs. Ervin Eminefendic/Sven Thiergard (STET) 3-4, unfinished
- Josh Wilson/Christiaan Worst (LIBERTYM) def. Tim Gennes/Josh Laka (STET) 6-3
Liberty 10-10, 6-2 ASUN; National ranking #72
Stetson 11-9, 4-4 ASUN
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (1,4,6,2,3,5)
Official: J Conley/K Zimmerman T-2:41
How It Happened
• The Flames won the doubles session claimed five of the six singles matches.
• For a second straight match, it was Liberty’s No. 1 and 3 doubles units that took care of business in securing the first point of the day. Muamba and doubles partner Rafael Marques Da Silva topped Diogo Marques and Clement Hamel 6-3 on center court. The Liberty pairing is 9-5 this spring as a unit, 5-1 in ASUN matches and 6-2 in the No. 1 slot.
• The Flames made it a 1-0 lead on the strength of its No. 3 team, Josh Wilson and Christiaan Worst. The pairing prevailed 6-3 versus Tim Gennes and Josh Laka of the Hatters. Since being paired together, Wilson and Worst are 6-1 in the No. 3 position.
• Wilson continued his strong play at No. 1 singles, finishing his match first. The Liberty junior defeated Marques 7-5, 6-2 to bolster his record to 6-1 in the No. 1 slot and 6-1 in ASUN matches. Wilson’s victory is his 27th of the season between fall and spring competition (27-10 record). The Reigate, United Kingdom’s next singles win will tie him with Sam Matheson (28 wins, 2016) for most wins in a season in school history.
• Wilson’s doubles partner, Worst, extended the home advantage to 3-0 with a 6-1, 7-5 result of his own against Fabian Penzkofer. Worst trailed 4-1 in the second set before winning six of the next seven games. The South African paces all Flames with 14 singles victories, this spring, and finishes the regular season with a 6-1 ASUN singles mark.
• Stetson’s lone victory in the contest was from Sami Ozzer, who edged Zion Heaven at No. 6 singles, 6-3, 7-6 (3).
• With a 3-1 Liberty lead, it was Muamba who clinched the victory for the Flames on his Senior Day. The Laval, Quebec, Canada native finished in style with an ace on court two, taking down Tristan Dumas in two sets (6-3, 6-4). It was Muamba’s 10th victory of the dual match season, and he finishes 6-2 in ASUN regular season competition.
• The last two matches, No. 3 and No. 5 singles, saw the Flames win both in three sets. Shortly after Muamba wrapped up his win, his doubles partner Marques Da Silva completed a big turnaround against his counterpart on court three, Ervin Eminefendic. The Liberty sophomore won in three sets (1-6, 6-3, 6-1) for the second time in three days. ‘
• Similar to Marques Da Silva, Thando Longwe-Smit (No. 5 singles) found himself winning a three-set match for the second time this weekend. The Cape Town, South Africa native topped Gennes 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. Longwe-Smit closes the regular season with six ASUN wins versus just one loss.
• Liberty improves to 2-1 all-time against Stetson and 2-0 since joining the ASUN. The Flames have outscored the Hatters 13-1 in two league matches.
• This is Liberty’s third straight six-win season in ASUN Conference play. In three full seasons of league regular season matches, the Flames sport an 18-3 mark.
• Liberty enters the ASUN Championship as the defending champions. The Flames are the third seed and will face sixth-seeded Jacksonville State in Friday’s quarterfinals at 5 p.m. in Fort Myers, Fla.
• The Flames topped the Gamecocks 5-2 in the regular season meeting, March 25 at the Liberty Tennis Complex in what was the second-ever meeting between the squads (other: 1989).