Liberty Earns Spot in ASUN Championship Semifinals With 4-0 Win Over Bellarmine
No. 1 North seed Liberty earned a spot in the 2021 ASUN Women's Tennis Championship semifinals with a 4-0 win over No. 4 North seed Bellarmine, Saturday morning in the ASUN quarterfinal round at the Liberty Tennis Complex.
The Lady Flames improve to 18-6 this season and will move on to the ASUN Championship semifinal round at the UNF Tennis Complex in Jacksonville, Fla., Friday. The Lady Flames will face the lowest remaining ASUN South Division seed, which will be either No. 2 seed FGCU (6-6) or No. 3 seed Kennesaw State (6-12). The Eagles and Owls will play each other tomorrow at 10 a.m.
Bellarmine (0-17) sees its first year in the ASUN end following today's setback.
Liberty 4, Bellarmine 0
1. Esther Lovato (LIBERTYW) def. Aubrey Smith (BELL) 6-0, 6-1
2. Micaela Ode Mitre (LIBERTYW) vs. Ava Ratcliff (BELL) 6-4, 3-0, unfinished
3. Eloise Saraty (LIBERTYW) vs. Maja Kozerski (BELL) 6-1, 5-2, unfinished
4. Grace Hashiguchi (LIBERTYW) vs. Channing Varnum (BELL) 6-3, 1-0, unfinished
5. Kelly Lewis (LIBERTYW) def. No player (BELL), by default
6. Alexandra Almborg (LIBERTYW) def. No player (BELL), by default
1. Alexandra Almborg/Eloise Saraty (LIBERTYW) vs. Aubrey Smith/Ava Ratcliff (BELL) 3-3, unfinished
2. Esther Lovato/Grace Hashiguchi (LIBERTYW) def. Channing Varnum/Maja Kozerski (BELL) 6-0
3. Tiffany Nguyen/Micaela Ode Mitre (LIBERTYW) def. No player/No player (BELL), by default
Order of finish: Doubles (2); Singles (1)
2021 ASUN Women's Tennis Championship Quarterfinals
Official: Harrison/Zimmerman T-1:20
How It Happened
• Liberty opened up the match by winning the doubles point on the strength of its No. 2 unit, Esther Lovato and Grace Hashiguchi. The duo topped Channing Varnum and Maja Kozerski 6-0. Hashiguchi and Lovato are now 5-2 in doubles this season after their first win in the No. 2 slot, this spring. The Knights defaulted the No. 3 doubles match, giving the Lady Flames the first point of the day.
• Bellarmine defaulted the No. 5 and No. 6 singles contests, putting Liberty ahead 3-0 heading into the singles session.
• The Lady Flames' Lovato (No. 1 singles) earned her team-best 22nd win of the season, a 6-0, 6-1 decision over Aubrey Smith. Lovato's victory was the 40th of her Liberty career and gave Liberty the 4-0 win. She is 22-1 this season and 40-6 in singles as a Lady Flame.
• Liberty's No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 singles players (Micaela Ode Mitre, Eloise Saraty and Grace Hashiguchi) each won their opening sets over their counterparts and led in the second set of their matches prior to Lovato's triumph.
• Today's victory was Liberty's first-ever win in the ASUN Championship. The Lady Flames fell in the semifinals in 2019. The 2020 ASUN Women's Championship was not contested due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Liberty finishes 10-2 at home in 2021.
• With 18 wins this season, the Lady Flames are one win away from matching the program record for most victories in a season. The 2015 Liberty squad won 19 matches.
• Liberty defeated Bellarmine in all three matches this season and is now 3-0 all-time against the Knights. The Lady Flames outscored the Knights 17-1 in those contests.
• The Lady Flames will begin preparing for the ASUN Championship semifinals at North Florida, starting next Friday. Liberty will face the lowest remaining ASUN South Division seed, which will be either No. 2 seed FGCU (6-6) or No. 3 seed Kennesaw State (6-12). The Eagles and Owls square off tomorrow morning.
• Liberty last faced Kennesaw State on March 23, 2019, a 7-0 Lady Flames sweep. The Lady Flames squared off against the FGCU Eagles earlier this spring in a non-conference match in Fort Myers, Fla. FGCU prevailed 5-2.
• The 2021 ASUN Women's Tennis Championship title match will be held next Saturday at 1 p.m. at the UNF Tennis Complex and can be seen on ESPN+.