No. 65 Liberty Falls to No. 20 NC State in First Round of NCAA Championship
No. 65 Liberty fell 4-0 to No. 20 NC State in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Tennis Championship, Friday at the J.W. Isenhour Tennis Center.
The ASUN champion Flames’ season ends with a 13-11 mark. The Wolfpack improve to 19-9 on the year and will move on to the second round. NC State, the No. 2 seed, will face No. 1 seed/No. 16 Middle Tennessee (28-4) tomorrow at 4 p.m. The Blue Raiders topped UNCW (15-9) in the other first round matchup earlier in the afternoon on Friday.
Liberty senior Nicaise Muamba played his final match as a Flame today. In four years, Muamba was a two-time ASUN Player of the Year and two-time ASUN champion, won 74 singles matches (74-44 record) and claimed 60 doubles contests (60-35 record).
Thoughts From Head Coach Derek Schwandt
“I’m proud of the team for a hard-fought season. We will use this experience to make us a better team, a more disciplined team. We will enjoy a little down time then attack the summer. Stay hungry, stay humble Flames. Big thanks to Nicaise for all he has done to help build our culture.”
#20 NC State 4, #65 Liberty 0
- #98 Rafa Izquierdo Luque (ST) def. Josh Wilson (LIBERTYM) 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
- Robin Catry (ST) vs. Nicaise Muamba (LIBERTYM) 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-5), unfinished
- Martins Rocens (ST) def. R. Marques Da Silva (LIBERTYM) 7-6 (7-2), 6-1
- Damien Salvestre (ST) def. Christiaan Worst (LIBERTYM) 6-3, 6-2
- Fons Van Sambeek (ST) vs. Thando Longwe-Smit (LIBERTYM) 6-3, 1-2, unfinished
- Braden Shick (ST) vs. Goncalo Ferreira (LIBERTYM) 5-3, unfinished
- #54 Martins Rocens/Fons Van Sambeek (ST) def. Nicaise Muamba/R. Marques Da Silva (LIBERTYM) 6-2
- Robin Catry/Yannai Barkai (ST) vs. Josh Wilson/Christiaan Worst (LIBERTYM) 5-5, unfinished
- Braden Shick/Collin Shick (ST) def. Zion Heaven/Deji Thomas-Smith (LIBERTYM) 6-4
Liberty 13-11; National ranking #65
NC State 19-9; National ranking #20
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (4,3,1)
2022 NCAA Men’s Tennis Championship First Round
Match was moved indoors prior to the start due to weather in the area
How It Happened
• NC State won the doubles point on the strength of its No. 1 and No. 3 units. The Wolfpack’s top team, No. 54 Martins Rocens and Fons Van Sambeek, topped ASUN Doubles Pair of the Year Nicaise Muamba and Rafael Marques Da Silva of the Flames 6-2.
• Liberty’s No. 3 doubles team, Deji Thomas-Smith and Zion Heaven, led the Wolfpack’s Braden Shick and Collin Shick 4-3 in their match. The NC State duo rallied to take the next three games and the match, 6-3, giving the Wolfpack a 1-0 lead.
• NC State’s No. 4 singles player, Damien Salvestre, trailed 3-2 in the first set to Christiaan Worst but took the next four games and the set, 6-3. Salvestre carried over the momentum into the second set to take down Worst 6-3, 6-2, snapping the Liberty junior’s 11-match winning streak. The Pretoria, South Africa finishes the year with a team-best 17 dual match wins and a 17-6 mark.
• Leading 2-0, NC State’s Rocens helped extend the hosts’ lead to 3-0 with a 7-6 (2), 6-1 result over Marques Da Silva on court three.
• Friday’s match took place indoors due to inclement weather in the Raleigh area, and there were four courts available for use. Liberty’s Thando Longwe-Smit (No. 5) and Goncalo Ferreira (No. 6) started their singles matches following the conclusion of the No. 4 and No. 3 singles contests.
• Liberty’s Muamba took his opening set a tiebreaker against Robin Catry, 7-6 (4) and led 5-3 in the second set. Catry came back to force a tiebreaker in the second set, which he won 7-6 (5). The match ended up going unfinished after those two tiebreaker sets, with the court one matchup ending the contest.
• Josh Wilson of the Flames and No. 98 Rafa Izquierdo Luque of the Wolfpack traded sets before Izquierdo Luque took a 5-4 third set lead. With Wilson serving, the NC State senior broke serve to take the match, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. Izquierdo Luque’s win clinched the 4-0 Wolfpack triumph.
• Despite Wilson’s setback today, he finishes the year with 29 singles wins, a new program record. Wilson was 14-6 in singles this spring and 8-2 in the No. 1 slot.
• Friday’s match marked the Flames’ first time competing in the NCAA Men’s Tennis Team Championship.
• Today’s match also marked the first-ever meeting between Liberty and NC State in men’s tennis.
• The Flames have won back-to-back ASUN titles, their first two conference championships in program history.
• Liberty finished the 2022 season with a 3-6 record against ranked teams and an 0-4 mark against ACC opponents.