Flames Sweep Knights 7-0, Saturday Evening at Cook Tennis Center
Liberty swept future ASUN member Bellarmine 7-0, Saturday evening at the Cook Tennis Center in the second half of a doubleheader.
The Flames, who played at No. 38 Virginia early in the day, returned to Lynchburg to play their first home outdoor match of the season. Liberty bolstered its overall record to 8-4 in what was its third 7-0 sweep of 2020. The Flames improve to 5-1 in home contests, this season.
The Knights, who will join the ASUN Conference starting in 2020-21, drop to 5-4 on the year.
Liberty claimed the doubles session and won each of the six singles bouts in straight sets for the victory in what was the first-ever match between the two programs.
Liberty 7, Bellarmine 0
1. Nicaise Muamba (LIBERTYM) def. Evan Bottorff (BELL) 6-0, 6-2
2. Chase Burton (LIBERTYM) def. Emil B. Berglund (BELL) 6-3, 6-2
3. Deji Thomas-Smith (LIBERTYM) def. Paul Reynolds (BELL) 6-1, 6-3
4. Steve Mundt (LIBERTYM) def. Michael Staff (BELL) 6-3, 6-0
5. Ian Sturgill (LIBERTYM) def. Sam Rueff (BELL) 6-1, 6-2
6. William Barker (LIBERTYM) def. Eli Franks (BELL) 6-1, 6-4
1. Nicaise Muamba/R. Marques Da Silva (LIBERTYM) def. Evan Bottorff/Paul Reynolds (BELL) 6-2
2. Chase Burton/Deji Thomas-Smith (LIBERTYM) vs. Emil B. Berglund/Michael Staff (BELL) 4-2, unfinished
3. Steve Mundt/William Barker (LIBERTYM) def. Eli Franks/Sam Rueff (BELL) 6-0
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (4,5,3,6,1,2)
Official: K Zimmerman T-1:29
How It Happened
• Playing for the first time together this season, Flames sophomores Steve Mundt and William Barker cruised to a 6-0 victory at No. 3 doubles over Eli Franks and Sam Rueff. Liberty wrapped up the doubles point on court one, as Nicaise Muamba and Rafael Marques Da Silva led throughout their match with Evan Bottorff and Paul Reynolds on the way to a 6-2 triumph.
• Mundt had a strong showing in singles as well, improving to 3-0 on the spring with a two-set triumph (6-3, 6-0) versus the Knights' Michael Staff in the No. 4 singles match. The Flames' lead grew to 3-0 following sophomore Ian Sturgill's 6-1, 6-2 decision over Rueff on court five. Sturgill is now 4-2 in spring singles competition.
• After winning earlier in the day at No. 38 Virginia, freshman Deji Thomas-Smith (No. 3 singles) became the only Flame to win two singles matches on Saturday when he downed Bellarmine's Reynolds 6-1, 6-3. Thomas-Smith's victory made it 4-0 Flames, clinching the match. The London, United Kingdom native improved to 5-2 in singles matches, this spring.
• Barker earned his first singles victory of the spring campaign by besting Franks, who he faced in doubles as well, 6-1, 6-4 on court six. Muamba (No. 1 singles) stretched Liberty's lead to 6-0 with a 6-0, 6-2 win against Bellarmine's Bottorff.
• Less than 15 seconds after Muamba's match ended, Flames senior captain Chase Burton put the finishing touches on a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Emil Berglund in the No. 2 singles contest.
• In doubles, Liberty won 16 of 20 contested games. In singles, the Flames claimed 72 games, compared to 22 for the Knights.
• The win marked the Flames' second 7-0 sweep in nine days. Liberty swept Elon 7-0 for the first time ever, last Friday at Crosswhite Athletic Club.
• Liberty will head to California for a pair of matches, next week. The Flames will first play a road match against the 22nd-ranked UCLA Bruins (8-4), Tuesday. First serve is slated for 5 p.m. Eastern at the Los Angeles Tennis Center in Los Angeles, Calif. Liberty will then take on SMU (11-5) in a neutral-site match, Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. Eastern at Manhattan Country Club in Manhattan Beach, Calif.