Stetson Edges Liberty 4-3 in Regular Season Finale on Senior Day
Stetson edged Liberty 4-3 in the regular season finale on the Lady Flames’ Senior Day, Saturday at the Liberty Tennis Complex.
Stetson picks up its 20th win of the year, improving to 20-2 overall and 8-1 in conference. The Hatters will be the No. 2 seed for the ASUN Championship. Liberty drops to 17-7 and 6-3 in conference. The Lady Flames will be the No. 4 seed for next weekend’s ASUN Women’s Tennis Championship. Liberty will face No. 5 seed Central Arkansas (13-10, 5-4 ASUN) in the quarterfinals, Friday at 9 a.m. at the FGCU Tennis Complex.
Thoughts From Head Coach Jeff Maren
“This week’s matches taught us a lot about what makes us tick. The energy and fight that we produce is a significant indicator of our level of play. We didn’t do well in these areas on Thursday but did much better in these two areas today, and it gave us chances to win. I’m about next week’s conference tournament because we have a clearer picture of our identity on court. To God be the glory!”
Prior to Saturday’s match, the program honored its two seniors, Kalani Soli and Eloise Saraty. Here are their career accomplishments in their time at Liberty:
• 2020 ITA Atlantic Region Senior Player of the Year
• ASUN All-Conference, 2-time VaSID All-State
• Two-time ASUN Player of the Week
• Top 10 program history in singles & doubles winning percentage
• 2021 VaSID All-State Doubles Second Team
• Two-time ASUN Academic Honor Roll
•.600 career doubles winning percentage (39-26 record)
• 11-9 singles record during 2021-22 season
Stetson 4, Liberty 3
- M. Juliana P. Romero (LIBERTYW) def. Nadejda Maslova (STET) 2-6, 6-2, 7-5
- Anais Gabriel (STET) def. Kalani Soli (LIBERTYW) 6-4, 6-3
- Cheri Darley (STET) def. Esther Lovato (LIBERTYW) 3-6, 6-1, 6-3
- Alanna DiFrancesco (STET) def. Alexandra Almborg (LIBERTYW) 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 6-4
- Micaela Ode Mitre (LIBERTYW) def. Noa Cohen (STET) 7-5, 6-4
- Tiffany Nguyen (LIBERTYW) def. Elodie Foster (STET) 6-4, 6-0
- Alanna DiFrancesco/Elodie Foster (STET) def. M. Juliana P. Romero/Kalani Soli (LIBERTYW) 6-0
- Nadejda Maslova/Cheri Darley (STET) def. Willa Rogers/Eloise Saraty (LIBERTYW) 6-1
- Tiffany Nguyen/Micaela Ode Mitre (LIBERTYW) vs. Anais Gabriel/Noa Cohen (STET) 3-3, unfinished
Liberty 17-7, 6-3 ASUN
Stetson 20-2, 8-1 ASUN
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (6,2,5,3,4,1)
Official: J Conley/K Zimmerman T-3:17
How It Happened
• Liberty dropped the doubles point for a second straight match. The Lady Flames fell on courts two and one, in that order, to fall behind the Hatters 1-0. Liberty and Stetson split the six singles matches.
• Stetson’s hot start featured two convincing doubles wins, starting with a 6-1 triumph from Nadejda Maslova and Cheri Darley over Willa Rogers on court two. The Hatters finished the doubles session with a 6-0 triumph from their No. 1 duo, Alanna DiFrancesco and Elodie Foster, over Maria Juliana Parra Romero and Kalani Soli.
• Liberty’s Tiffany Nguyen trailed 3-1 in the first set of her singles match with Foster. However, Nguyen rallied by winning 12 of the final 13 games and the match, 6-4, 6-0. The victory, her 11th of the spring (11-3), evened the match at 1-all.
• Stetson No. 2 singles player Anais Gabriel prevailed 6-4, 6-3 over Soli to put the Hatters back on top 2-1. The Lady Flames evened it back up with a 7-5, 6-4 from Micaela Ode Mitre over Noa Cohen on court five. Ode Mitre converted 88 percent (52-of-59) of her first serves, compared to 62 percent (34-of-55) for Cohen.
• The Hatters’ Darley came from behind to top Esther Lovato, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 in the No. 3 singles match, ending Lovato’s 15-match winning streak,
• Liberty trailed 3-2, needing both of the final two matches on court (No. 4 and No. 1) for the victory. Both of these matches went to third sets.
• Stetson’s DiFrancesco (No. 4 singles) won a deuce point from Alexandra Almborg to go ahead 4-3 in the third and went to win the set 6-4 and the match, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-4. DiFrancesco’s triumph made it 4-2 Hatters, securing the victory for the visitors.
• Parra Romero scored Liberty’s third and final point of the day, erasing a one-set deficit on court one to top Maslova 2-6, 6-2, 7-5. The freshman improves to 26-5 overall in singles during the 2021-22 campaign, including a 15-3 spring mark and 11-2 No. 1 singles record.
• The all-time series between Liberty and Stetson is now even at 1-1. The Lady Flames finish their home season with an 8-2 record at the Liberty Tennis Complex.
• No. 4 seed Liberty will take on No. 5 seed Central Arkansas in the ASUN Women’s Tennis Championship quarterfinals, next Friday. Match time is 9 a.m. at the FGCU Tennis Complex in Fort Myers, Fla.
• The Lady Flames topped the Bears 5-2 in the regular season on April 3, handing UCA its first ASUN loss at the time. The match was the first-ever meeting between the two programs.