Liberty Edged By Virginia Tech, 4-3 on Friday Night
The Liberty Flames men's tennis squad came close to defeating the host Virginia Tech Hokies for the first time ever, but it was the Hokies who prevailed on their home courts, 4-3 on Friday evening at the Burrows-Burleson Tennis Center.
Liberty took the doubles point from Virginia Tech for a second straight year, highlighted by sophomore Nicaise Muamba and junior Chase Burton's second straight ranked win at No. 1 doubles and a tiebreaker victory on court three from sophomore Vince Salas and freshman Steve Mundt. The Flames also won at No. 2 and No. 6 singles, but the Hokies edged the visitors on the strength of a quartet of singles triumphs.
Liberty is now 3-6 on the year following the setback and sees its two-match winning streak snapped. Virginia Tech is 8-2 and winners of six straight after victories over Duquesne (7-0 Friday afternoon) and Liberty today.
Virginia Tech 4, Liberty 3
1. #55 Jason Kros (VT) def. Josh Wilson (LIBERTYM) 6-4, 6-2
2. #99 Nicaise Muamba (LIBERTYM) def. Alex Ribeiro (VT) 6-3, 6-2
3. Henrik Korsgaard (VT) def. Eddie Gutierrez (LIBERTYM) 6-4, 6-2
4. Carlo Donato (VT) def. Ian Sturgill (LIBERTYM) 6-2, 6-3
5. Brandon Perez (VT) def. Chase Burton (LIBERTYM) 6-3, 6-1
6. Steve Mundt (LIBERTYM) def. Freddy Mesmer (VT) 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (8-6)
1. Nicaise Muamba/Chase Burton (LIBERTYM) def. #25 Henrik Korsgaard/Alex Ribeiro (VT) 6-3
2. Jason Kros/Brandon Perez (VT) def. Josh Wilson/Ian Sturgill (LIBERTYM) 6-4
3. Steve Mundt/Vince Salas (LIBERTYM) def. Carlo Donato/Freddy Mesmer (VT) 7-6 (7-2)
Virginia Tech 8-2
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (1,5,4,2,3,6)
Thoughts From Head Coach Derek Schwandt
"Our guys fought well in doubles, and congrats to Steve for pulling through a tough three-setter. We have to become more disciplined as a team, and there are some areas to clean up moving forward to our next match."
How It Happened
- Liberty's top duo of Nicaise Muamba and Chase Burton took down another nationally-ranked doubles team, this time defeating the Hokies' 25th-ranked duo of Henrik Korsgaard and Alexandre Ribiero 6-3. Last Saturday, Muamba and Burton knocked off No. 45 Tristan Bautil and Finbar Talcott of William & Mary. The pairing is now 6-3 in the No. 1 doubles slot, this spring.
- Virginia Tech's Jason Kros and Brandon Perez topped the Flames' Josh Wilson and Ian Sturgill 6-4 on court two, setting the stage for the deciding match on court three. No. 3 doubles between Liberty's Vince Salas and Steve Mundt and the Hokies' Carlo Donato and Freddy Mesmer went to Salas and Mundt, 7-6 (2).
- The Flames took a 1-0 lead in the match against the Hokies for a second straight year. Liberty also won the doubles session at the Burrows-Burleson Tennis Center in 2018.
- Virginia Tech rebounded from its early deficit with singles victories on courts one, five and four, in that order. No. 55 Kros bested Wilson, who was playing in the No. 1 slot for the first time in his career, in two sets (6-4, 6-2). Perez defeated Burton 6-3, 6-1 at No. 5 singles. The hosts' lead grew to 3-1 with Donato's straight-sets victory (6-2, 6-3) over Sturgill in the No. 4 singles match.
- Liberty's Muamba, the reigning ASUN Player of the Week and the No. 99-ranked singles player in the country, picked up his sixth victory of the spring, a 6-3, 6-2 decision over Ribiero. His victory narrowed the gap to 3-2 in favor of Virginia Tech.
- Korsgaard's two-set victory (6-4, 6-2) over his counterpart, Eddie Gutierrez of the Flames, gave the Hokies the match-clinching fourth tally.
- With the outcome decided, the Flames' Mundt and Hokies' Mesmer were locked in a three-set battle. In the final set, Mundt took a 6-5 lead, before Mesmer forced a tiebreaker. Mundt won the tiebreaker 8-6 and the match, 7-5, 2-6, 7-6 (6). Mundt's first career three-set win settled the final outcome at 4-3 Virginia Tech.
- The Flames will return to action on Saturday at home against the North Carolina A&T Aggies. Match time is scheduled for 5 p.m. at Crosswhite Athletic Club (118 Davis Cup Rd.) in Lynchburg.
- Liberty is 15-0 all-time against North Carolina A&T. The Flames defeated the Aggies 6-1 in 2018.