Liberty Hands Central Arkansas First ASUN Loss, 5-2 on Sunday
Liberty handed Central Arkansas its first ASUN Conference loss of the season on Sunday, defeating the Bears 5-2 at the UCA Tennis Courts.
Liberty bolsters its overall record to 16-5. The Lady Flames improve to 5-1 in the ASUN and have won four straight conference contests. Central Arkansas (12-7) falls to 4-1 in ASUN play and sees its five-match winning streak ended. The Bears were the only remaining unbeaten team in conference matches coming into Sunday.
Thoughts From Head Coach Jeff Maren
“I’m very proud of our girls! UCA is a conference championship contending team, so we had to play with a lot of focus and grit today. We were able to do that on every court, even the ones we lost. That’s what it takes for us to compete at a high level. To God be the glory!”
Liberty 5, Central Arkansas 2
- M. Juliana P. Romero (LIBERTYW) def. Chunxi Xin (UCA) 6-2, 6-2
- Fuka Nonoyama (UCA) def. Kalani Soli (LIBERTYW) 6-2, 7-6 (7-1)
- Jaeun Lee (UCA) def. Alexandra Almborg (LIBERTYW) 7-5, 6-4
- Esther Lovato (LIBERTYW) def. Yada Vasupongchai (UCA) 6-2, 6-1
- Tiffany Nguyen (LIBERTYW) def. Sumomo Hamanaga (UCA) 6-4, 7-5
- Micaela Ode Mitre (LIBERTYW) def. Maja Gledic (UCA) 4-6, 6-1, 6-2
- Chunxi Xin/Fuka Nonoyama (UCA) def. M. Juliana P. Romero/Kalani Soli (LIBERTYW) 7-5
- Willa Rogers/Eloise Saraty (LIBERTYW) def. Yada Vasupongchai/Mei Ishimura (UCA) 7-6 (7-4)
- Tiffany Nguyen/Micaela Ode Mitre (LIBERTYW) def. Sumomo Hamanaga/Maja Gledic (UCA) 6-4
Liberty 16-5, 5-1 ASUN
Central Arkansas 12-7, 4-1 ASUN
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (4,3,1,2,5,6)
How It Happened
• Liberty won a tightly-contested doubles point which went to a tiebreaker on court two. In that match, the Lady Flames’ Willa Rogers and Eloise Saraty edged Yada Vasupongchai and Mei Ishimura 7-6 (7-4) for a 1-0 Liberty advantage. Rogers and Saraty improve to 4-1 at No. 2 doubles and 5-1 overall.
• The Lady Flames’ other doubles win came from their No. 3 unit, Tiffany Nguyen and Micaela Ode Mitre, 6-4 over Sumomo Hamanaga and Maja Gledic. Nguyen and Ode Mitre lead all Liberty doubles teams this spring with seven wins against only two losses. Nguyen and Ode Mitre are a perfect 6-0 in the No. 3 slot.
• Central Arkansas’ No. 1 doubles squad, Chunxi Xin and Fuka Nonoyama, prevailed 7-5 versus the Lady Flames’ Maria Juliana Parra Romero and Kalani Soli, giving the Liberty pairing (3-1) its first loss.
• Esther Lovato continued her dominant singles play with a 6-2, 6-1 result over Vasupongchai at No. 4 singles for a 2-0 Lady Flames lead. Lovato has won 14 straight singles matches, 13 in straight sets. Today’s triumph was the 25th of the season for Lovato (between fall and spring), and she sports a 25-4 overall mark and 16-2 spring record. Lovato becomes only the third player in program history to win 25 matches in a season, joining Jordan Jenkins (28 wins, 2010) and Evangeline Crist (25 wins, three times – 2015, 2016 and 2018).
• UCA’s Jaeun Lee cut the Liberty lead in half (2-1) with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Liberty junior Alexandra Almborg on court three.
• Liberty’s Parra Romero won in straight sets (6-2, 6-2) against her foe, Xin, at No. 1 singles, stretching the visitors’ lead to 3-1. Parra (24-4 overall record) has won six singles matches in a row, boasts a 9-1 No. 1 singles mark and is 13-2 in spring matches.
• The Bears’ Nonoyama (No. 2 singles) bested Soli 6-2, 7-6 (7-1) to get the hosts back within a point (3-2).
• Doubles partners Nguyen (No. 5 singles) and Ode Mitre (No. 6 singles) proved to be the difference at the end of the singles session. Nguyen downed Hamanaga in a two-set battle, 6-4, 7-5, to clinch the Liberty victory. One court over, Ode Mitre overcame a one-set deficit to Gledic to take the match, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2. Nguyen and Ode Mitre both improve to 10-2 in spring singles competition.
• Nguyen has won four straight matches, while Ode Mitre has been victorious in six straight.
• With 16 wins, the Lady Flames are three wins away from matching the program record of 19 wins, set by the 2015 team.
• Today’s match was the first ever between Liberty and UCA in women’s tennis.
• The Lady Flames are 2-0 in the month of April and are 7-3 away from Lynchburg in 2022.
• Liberty will play another road ASUN match this upcoming Friday at Bellarmine (1-18, 0-5 ASUN). First serve will take place at 11 a.m. at the Eddie Weber Tennis Complex in Louisville, Ky.
• The Lady Flames are 3-0 all-time versus the Knights. All three of those victories came during the 2021 season. Liberty topped Bellarmine 4-0 in the ASUN Championship quarterfinals, eliminating the Knights from postseason play a year ago.