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    Flames to Host Clemson, Penn State and Old Dominion at Liberty Dual

    Nov 2, 2022 | Lynchburg Va | Men's Tennis

    The Liberty men’s tennis squad will close out its fall schedule by hosting the Liberty Dual, Friday through Sunday.

    The three-day event will be held at the Liberty Indoor Tennis Center. The tournament features four teams in Liberty, Clemson, Penn State and Old Dominion. Penn State and Old Dominion will get the competition started, Friday at 9 a.m. Liberty players will square off with Clemson on Friday at 3 p.m.

    The Flames will square off with the Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday afternoon (3 p.m.) and the Old Dominion Monarchs on the third final day of competition, Sunday at 2 p.m.

    This is the Flames’ fifth fall event. Liberty last competed at the ITA Atlantic Regional at Virginia from Oct. 19-23. This is Liberty’s second hidden dual formatted tournament of the fall. The Flames played at the fall-opening Penn Invitational, Sept. 16-18 in Philadelphia, Pa.

    Event/Days/Location: Liberty Fall Hidden Dual | Friday-Sunday | Liberty Tennis Complex | Lynchburg, Va.

    Liberty Flames Players Participating: Omar El Kadi, Zion Heaven, Thando Longwe-Smit, Rafael Marques Da Silva, Beau Pelletier Deji Thomas-Smith, Josh Wilson, Christiaan Worst

    Live Video:
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    9 a.m. – Penn State vs. Old Dominion
    3 p.m. – Liberty vs. Clemson

    9 a.m. – Clemson vs. Old Dominion
    3 p.m. – Liberty vs. Penn State

    9 a.m. – Clemson vs. Penn State
    2 p.m. – Liberty vs. Old Dominion

    Tournament Breakdown:
    The Liberty Dual will help prepare the Flames for spring dual matches against all three teams. Liberty will host both Clemson (Feb. 10) and Penn State (Feb. 24) in February. The Flames will compete at ODU, March 29 in Norfolk, Va.

    This is the second straight year in which Liberty has faced Clemson, Penn State and ODU in fall competition. The Flames faced the Tigers at last year’s Clemson Hidden Duals (Oct. 10, 2021) while hosting the Nittany Lions (Nov. 5, 2021) and Monarchs (Nov. 7, 2021) at the Liberty Fall Hidden Dual a season ago.

    Liberty went on to face both Penn State (road, Feb. 11) and ODU (home, Feb. 20) in a 10-day span during the spring 2022 campaign. The Nittany Lions edged the Flames 4-3. Liberty topped the ODU Monarchs 5-2 at the Liberty Indoor Tennis Center. The Flames’ first-ever Big Ten win was over Penn State on Feb. 21, 2020 (5-2 final score).

    Of the four teams competing this weekend, three finished the year as a nationally-ranked squad: No. 57 Clemson, No. 66 Liberty and No. 70 Old Dominion. The Flames are the back-to-back ASUN champions, winning the titles in 2021 and 2022.

    Liberty’s Thando Longwe-Smit paces the team this fall with an 8-1 singles mark. Longwe-Smit went 4-0 at the Elon Invitational (Sept. 23-25) and won his singles flight. Zion Heaven is 6-2 in singles. The Flames’ Josh Wilson became the program’s career singles wins record holder with his first win at the ITA All-American Championships. Wilson’s record-setting 78th win came in the singles main draw round of 32 against Georgetown’s Arthur O’Sullivan, 6-3, 6-3. The Flames senior won another match to get to 79 wins and advanced to the quarterfinals of the event alongside his teammate Rafael Marques Da Silva.

    Wilson and his doubles partner, Christiaan Worst, have been Liberty’s most formidable duo with an 8-3 mark in fall competition. The pairing made program history at the ITA All-American Championships (Oct. 1-7), becoming the first duo to make the doubles main draw. Wilson and Worst posted a 5-1 record at the event, earned two ranked wins and advanced all the way to the quarterfinals in the main draw.