Liberty Gets First Big Ten Win With 4-2 Comeback Victory Against Michigan State
The Liberty Lady Flames came back from two points down on the road to top the Michigan State Spartans by a 4-2 score, Friday evening at the MSU Indoor Tennis Center. Liberty lost the first two points of the matched but caught fire to win the next four matches and get the gutsy win.
Liberty boosts its record to 4-1 for the season, while the Spartans fall to 1-2.
The win was a milestone for the Lady Flames, as they claimed their first victory in program history over a Big Ten foe. The Flames were previously 0-2 against such schools, having faced Maryland in 2017 and Minnesota in 2022.
Thoughts From Head Coach Jeff Maren
“Getting our first win over a Big Ten team required a lot of intestinal fortitude. MSU is a very good team, and we had to bring a lot of heart, guts and brains into the equation. I’m very proud of our resiliency today and am already looking forward to our next opportunity. To God be the glory!”
Liberty 4, Michigan State 2
- Ayshe Can (MSU) vs. M. Juliana P. Romero (LIBERTYW) 6-4, 3-6, 4-5, unfinished
- Liisa Vehvilainen (MSU) def. Alexandra Almborg (LIBERTYW) 6-1, 6-2
- Esther Lovato (LIBERTYW) def. Juliette Nask (MSU) 7-5, 2-6, 6-1
- Marina Davtyan (LIBERTYW) def. Marley Lambert (MSU) 6-4, 6-4
- Tiffany Nguyen (LIBERTYW) def. Issey Purser (MSU) 7-6 (7-2), 6-1
- Micaela Ode Mitre (LIBERTYW) def. Nicole Conard (MSU) 6-3, 6-3
- Ayshe Can/Liisa Vehvilainen (MSU) def. Marina Davtyan/M. Juliana P. Romero (LIBERTYW) 6-2
- Nicole Conard/Marley Lambert (MSU) def. Maretha Burger/Esther Lovato (LIBERTYW) 6-4
- Issey Purser/Dagmar Zdrubecka (MSU) def. Micaela Ode Mitre/Tiffany Nguyen (LIBERTYW) 7-6 (9-7)
Michigan State 1-2
Order of Finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (2,6,4,5,3)
Official: Peter Chen T-3:32 A-197
How It Happened
• The Spartans claimed all three doubles matches to earn the first point of the night. Liberty’s No. 3 pairing of Micaela Ode Mitre and Tiffany Nguyen went up against the Spartans’ Issey Purser and Dagmar Zdrubecka on court three. The match went to a tiebreak, but the Spartans ultimately prevailed 7-6 (9-7).
• Liberty fell down two points after the Spartans’ No. 2 player Liisa Vehvilainen topped Liberty’s Alexandra Almborg 6-1, 6-2.
• Liberty got its first point of the match thanks to No. 6 Micaela Ode Mitre topping Michigan State’s Nicole Conrad 6-3, 6-3.
• Liberty got a vital second point from court one with Liberty’s Marina Davytan coming back in the first set and not looking back, besting Michigan State’s Marley Lambert 6-4, 6-4.
• Lady Flames’ No. 5 Tiffany Nguyen got Liberty its third point of the match after fighting to a win a tiebreak in the first set against the Spartans’ Issey Purser. The junior kept the momentum the rest of the match, coming out on top with a 7-6, 6-1 score.
• Liberty’s No. 3 Esther Lovato claimed the comeback and match-winning point for the Lady Flames. The junior faced the Spartans’ Juliette Nask, ultimately prevailing after dropping the second set with a 7-5, 2-6, 6-1 win. Lovato improves to 4-0 for the season.
• Lovato’s triumph was reminiscent of last year’s 4-3 home win over Missouri at the Liberty Indoor Tennis Center (Feb. 23, 2022), the Lady Flames’ first-ever triumph over an SEC foe. She won that match in three sets over the Tigers’ Gabriela Martinez, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 to clinch the Liberty victory.
• Liberty’s No. 1 Maria Juliana Parra Romero dropped the first set of her match against the Spartans’ Ayshe Can. The sophomore came back to win the second before leaving the match unfinished at 4-6, 6-3, 5-4. Parra Romero remains unbeaten at 4-0 to start the season.
• Liberty returns to action Saturday in a neutral site match versus Miami (Ohio) (3-4) at 2 p.m. at the MSU Indoor Tennis Center.
• The Lady Flames have faced the RedHawks just once in program history. Liberty won the match at neutral site by a score of 6-1 to open the 2020 season.
Main Photo at Top of Story: Micaela Ode Mitre