Lady Flames Get Past Highlanders 6-1, Earn Share of ASUN Regular Season Title
The Liberty Lady Flames tennis team ended its regular season slate on a high note, topping the NJIT Highlanders 6-1 on Saturday at the Naimoli Family Athletic and Recreational Facility.
The victory, Liberty's eighth straight, allowed the Lady Flames to earn a share of the ASUN Conference regular season title in their first year in the league. Liberty is now 15-6 overall in 2019 and 6-1 in the ASUN. The Highlanders close out the regular season with a 13-8 record and 2-5 mark in the conference.
The Lady Flames have locked up the No. 1 seed for the upcoming ASUN Women's Tennis Championship, to be contested next Thursday through Saturday at Stetson's Mandy Stoll Tennis Center in DeLand, Fla. Liberty and North Florida both finished 6-1 in league play, but the Lady Flames won the head-to-head matchup in Lynchburg a week ago by a 4-3 score.
Liberty 6, NJIT 1
1. Joleta Budiman (NJIT) def. Ashley Bongart (LIBERTYW) 6-2, 6-0
2. Kalani Soli (LIBERTYW) def. Mouna Bouzgarrou (NJIT) 6-2, 6-1
3. Lara Soares (LIBERTYW) def. Holly Matson (NJIT) 2-6, 6-4, 6-2
4. Maria Medina (LIBERTYW) def. Mayar Eltony (NJIT) 6-2, 6-4
5. Alexandra Almborg (LIBERTYW) def. Amanda Helminsky (NJIT) 6-4, 6-4
6. Anna Dollar (LIBERTYW) def. Rafaella Sampaio (NJIT) 6-4, 3-6, 1-0 (10-4)
1. Joleta Budiman/Holly Matson (NJIT) vs. Lara Soares/Maria Medina (LIBERTYW) 5-4, unfinished
2. Alexandra Almborg/Kalani Soli (LIBERTYW) def. Mouna Bouzgarrou/Rafaella Sampaio (NJIT) 6-0
3. Anna Dollar/Ashley Bongart (LIBERTYW) def. Advaita Saravanan/Amanda Helminsky (NJIT) 6-4
Liberty 15-6, 6-1 ASUN
NJIT 13-8, 2-5 ASUN
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (1,2,4,3,5,6)
Thoughts From Head Coach Jeff Maren
"Once again, the girls brought the intensity and fight to the match. NJIT is a very good team, and we needed a big effort to get the job done. I am really proud of how the girls have competed this season. Now comes our goal, to peak next week in the tournament. We've prepared as well as we can, so we will be arriving in Florida with confidence and a strong desire to compete for every point. To God be the glory!"
How It Happened
- The Lady Flames started the match strong with a pair of victories on courts two and three to claim the doubles point and a 1-0 edge. Freshman Alexandra Almborg and Kalani Soli wasted little time with a 6-0 drubbing of NJIT's Mouna Bouzgarrou and Rafaella Sampaio.
- Liberty's veteran duo of Anna Dollar and Ashley Bongart, after being tied 4-4 in their match with Advaita Saravanan and Amanda Helminsky, prevailed 6-4. Dollar and Bongart finished 4-1 in ASUN doubles matches during the regular season.
- The Highlanders picked up a point early on in singles with Juliet Budiman's 6-2, 6-0 decision over Bongart on court one, tying the match at 1-1. Liberty's Kalani Soli and Maria Medina secured a 3-1 lead with victories at No. 2 and No. 4 singles. Soli won in straight sets (6-2, 6-1) over Bouzgarrou, and Medina topped Mayar Eltony in two sets as well (6-2, 6-4).
- Soli has won a remarkable 13 straight matches and is 14-0 at No. 2 singles, this spring. She finished the regular season 7-0 in ASUN singles contests and 15-3 overall.
- Needing one point for victory, it was Liberty senior captain Lara Soares who clinched the victory for the Lady Flames for a second time in three days. Soares did so in comeback fashion (2-6, 6-4, 6-2) against Matson on court three. The victory made it 4-1 Liberty.
- The Lady Flames also won the last two matches on court (No. 5, No. 6), which settled the final score at 6-1. Almborg defeated Helminsky in straight sets (6-4, 6-4), followed by a three-set triumph from Dollar versus Sampaio (6-4, 3-6, 1-0 (10-4)). Dollar wraps up the regular season with a 6-1 ASUN singles record and a 14-3 singles mark in spring dual matches.
- The Lady Flames are now 2-0 all-time against the Highlanders.
- Liberty is 12-1 over its last 13 matches and has not lost since March 17.
- The Lady Flames last earned a share of a conference regular season crown when they did so as Big South Conference members in 2017.
- The match, which was contested at an indoor facility, was Liberty's first indoor match since March 8, a 6-1 victory at George Washington.
- Liberty will next compete at the 2019 ASUN Women's Tennis Championship at Stetson, next Thursday through Saturday. The Lady Flames have received a bye into Friday's semifinals. Liberty's potential semifinal opponents will be announced in a seeding release, later tonight.
??The Liberty Lady Flames are @ASUNTennis regular season champions in their first year in the ASUN after defeating the NJIT Highlanders 6-1 in an away match on Saturday!!!?? #ASUNWTEN pic.twitter.com/HdP1hOAmPM
— LU Women's Tennis (@LibertyWTennis) April 14, 2019