Sunday, February 19, 2017

Liberty Concludes Road Trip with Loss at Furman, Sunday

The Liberty men's tennis squad concluded its five-match road trip with a 7-0 loss at Furman, Sunday at the Mickel Tennis Center.
Liberty drops back to .500 (4-4) with the setback, while Furman (7-3) runs its winning streak to four matches with the victory.
The Flames lost the doubles point to the Paladins to begin the afternoon. Furman's No. 3 unit of Trevor Croyder and Clarke Wilson took down Liberty's sophomore duo of Ryker Heller and Eddie Gutierrez, 6-0. The Paladins' Alex Steryous and Cameron Green teamed up to knock off the Flames' No. 2 squad of Vince Salas and Diego Castano, 6-1, securing the point for the home side.
Furman claimed straight-set victories at No. 4, No. 5, and No. 6 singles to secure their seventh win of 2017. In the No. 5 spot, Munns bested Heller, 6-1, 6-2. Josh Pistorious won, 6-3, 6-0, over Max Borcuti to push the home lead to 3-0.
The Flames fell to 4-4 overall with a loss at Furman, Sunday in Greenville, S.C.
Alex Steryous provided the fourth point for the Paladins, besting Castano, 6-4, 6-2.
The remaining (No. 1-3 singles) matches were won by the Paladins. Furman's Adam Steryous collected a hard-fought 7-6, 6-4 win in the No. 1 match over Gutierrez.
Freshmen Chase Burton and Vince Salas lost tough three-set matches to their opponents. Burton fell to Green in a third-set tiebreaker, 7-5, 0-6, 1-0 (10-4) at No. 2 singles. In the No. 3 singles match, Salas was upended by Wilson in a tiebreaker as well, 4-6, 6-2, 1-0 (10-4).
The Flames will have some time off from competition after five road matches in the last 12 days. Liberty will host Longwood on March 1 in its 2017 Big South Conference opener at 3 p.m. in Lynchburg.

Lady Flames Edged, 4-3, by Paladins on Sunday

The women's tennis match between Liberty and Furman came down to the final match on the court Sunday, with the host Paladins prevailing, 4-3, at the Mickel Tennis Center.
The Lady Flames fall to 4-4 in 2017 with the setback, while Furman moves to 6-4 overall with the win.
Liberty got off to a positive start, Sunday morning, winning the doubles point over the Paladins. Liberty's No. 1 unit of Rebekah Anderson and Aleksandra Panchenko won their second doubles bout in as many days, besting Furman's top pairing of Ansley Speaks and Aryn Greene, 6-3.
The Lady Flames' Anna Dollar and Evangeline Crist won, 6-2, over Blair Martin and Gabby Rodriguez to give the visitors the doubles point and a 1-0 lead. The victory was the duo's 12th as a pair during the 2016-17 season.
Crist (left) and Dollar (right) won, 6-2, in doubles on Sunday at Furman.
The Paladins' No. 1 and No. 2 singles players, Speaks and Katty Weymouth, both delivered victories to put the hosts ahead, 2-1. Speaks topped Anderson in straight sets (6-0, 6-4), while Weymouth also won in two sets over Panchenko (6-3, 6-2).
Liberty senior Mariely Hassey evened the match up at 2-2 with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Hannah Ferrett in the No. 6 position.
Furman then regained the lead, 3-2, in the No. 4 match. Katarina Kozarov emerged with a victory (6-3, 6-4) over Crist.
Lady Flames senior Emily Groeneveld the match up at 3-3 with a 6-2, 6-2 triumph over Greene, her fourth singles win of the spring.
The only remaining match on the court, the No. 3 singles match between Dollar and Danni Vines, decided the outcome. Dollar dropped the first set, 6-2, and trailed 5-4 in set two. The sophomore won the next game to stave off defeat, but Vines closed out the match by capturing the next two games to win, 6-2, 7-5.
 Vines' victory gave the Paladins a 4-3 victory in the first-ever meeting between the two programs.
"We played a strong, well-coached team today. All credit goes to Furman, as they played with more of a sense of urgency than we did," said Liberty Head Women's Tennis Coach Jeff Maren. "We'll take the positives and negatives from this one and use them to prepare for our next match."
Liberty will continue its current road trip with matches this upcoming Friday and Saturday in Orlando, Fla. The Lady Flames face Florida Atlantic (hosted by UCF) on Friday at 11 a.m., followed by UCF on Saturday at 4 p.m. Both matches will be played at the United States Tennis Association (USTA) National Campus.

Liberty Improves to 3-0 in Big South with Win at UNC Asheville

The Liberty women's tennis team won its third consecutive Big South Conference match to open 2017, besting host UNC Asheville, 6-1, Saturday at the Asheville Racquet Club.

"We started slow in every set today but picked it up and played better as the matches went on," head coach Jeff Maren stated. "Overall, this was a good step forward."

The Lady Flames (4-3, 3-0 Big South) swept the doubles matches from the Bulldogs (3-5, 0-1 Big South) outdoors before moving inside to play singles due to the rain. Liberty won five of six singles matchups against UNC Asheville and has now won 14 of 18 meetings all-time against the Bulldogs.

In doubles, Liberty sophomores Rebekah Anderson and Aleksandra Panchenko provided the team an early boost with a 6-3 victory over Asheville's top pairing of Hannah Francisco and Kylee Shipley.
Junior Evangeline Crist and sophomore Anna Dollar gave the visiting Lady Flames the doubles point with a 6-3 triumph over the Bulldogs' Hunter Hall and Lauren Watson-Steele.

Senior Mariely Hassey and freshman Eugenia Camacho completed the sweep for Liberty, defeating Christin Louw and Emily Sidor by an identical score of 6-3.

Singles play featured strong efforts from Liberty. In the No. 4 spot, Crist needed two sets to best Louw (6-4, 6-0) and give the visiting side a 2-0 lead. Dollar took down Shipley in the No. 2 position, winning 6-2, 6-4.

Panchenko bounced back from a first-set loss to take the last two sets from Watson-Steele and the No. 3 singles match, 1-6, 6-2, 6-4. The Moscow, Russia, native's win officially gave the Lady Flames their third conference win of the year.

"I am really proud of the girls for not lowering their level and focusing all the way through doubles and singles," Panchenko said. "I am very glad I turned my match around. After losing the first set, I had to rethink my patterns, so I just focused on one point at a time."

Panchenko won a thrilling three-set match at No. 3 singles and also won at No. 1 doubles with Anderson.
Asheville picked up its lone point of the afternoon in the No. 1 match between Francisco and Anderson. Francisco was victorious in three sets (5-7, 6-4, 6-3).

The last two matches to begin both went in Liberty's favor. Hassey emerged with a win over Sidor, 6-2, 6-0, to stretch the Liberty lead to 5-1. Playing in the No. 5 position for the first time this year, Camacho knocked off Hall in straight sets (6-4, 6-3) to settle the score at 6-1.

Liberty will now make the trek to Furman (5-4) for an 11 a.m. match, Sunday at the Mickel Tennis Center in Greenville, S.C.

Richmond Pulls Away for Victory at Liberty, Saturday

The Richmond Spiders led the Liberty  Lady Flames lacrosse team by three at halftime before pulling away in the second half for an 18-7 victory, Saturday afternoon, at the Liberty Lacrosse Field.

With the win, Richmond moves to 1-0 on the year, while Liberty falls to 1-2 with the setback during its 2017 home opener.

Richmond's duo of Natalia Chaney (five goals) and Sam Geiersbach (four goals) combined for nine goals in a winning effort, while Marissa Brown added a game-high six assists. Liberty sophomore attacker Brianna McCaffrey paced Liberty with three goals, while Abby Britton, Courtney Brown and Kayla Foster each had one-goal, one-assist games.

McCaffrey scored three goals on Saturday against Richmond
Richmond started strong, scoring five times in the game's first six minutes to take a 5-1 lead. Liberty's first tally of the day came from McCaffrey with 25:26 remaining in the half. The Spiders' Chaney needed just 5:08 to record a hat trick, as she scored her third goal of the day on a free position shot to put the visitors ahead, 4-1, with 24:52 to play in the first half.

The Spiders padded their advantage over the next 14 minutes on goals from Kim Egizi, Geiersbach and Marissa Brown to lead, 7-2, with 11:29 left. The Lady Flames' Kayla Foster scored her fourth goal of the season during Richmond's spurt.

During the closing ten minutes of play in the first stanza, Liberty cut into the Richmond deficit. Freshman Grace Fletcher notched her second goal of 2017 on a feed from Brown to bring the score to 7-3. Less than three minutes later, McCaffrey scored on a free position shot to bring the score to 7-4 in favor of the Spiders with 6:20 left.

McCaffrey would score again with 1:12 to play in the half, while Brown sent the Lady Flames into the halftime break on a goal with just six ticks left, assisted by Abby Britton, to slice the deficit to three (9-6).

The Spiders seized control immediately to start the second frame, getting goals from Geiersbach and Kathleen Berkery to extend the visitors' lead to five, 11-6. The lead grew to 16-6 with 8:43 remaining in the contest on goals from Chaney, Katie Trainer, Geiersbach, Brown and Egizi.

The Lady Flames' lone marker of the second half came at the 3:58 mark, as Hannah Quast found Abby Britton for her second goal of the season. Richmond's Chaney and Berkery scored the final two goals of the contest.

Richmond outshot Liberty, 34-21, overall and held a 21-6 advantage in draw controls. The Lady Flames won the battle for ground balls, 26-19, led by a team-best five from senior Ashlyn Altieri. Fletcher, McCaffrey and Victoria Tickle scooped up three ground balls apiece, while Abby Britton led the squad with three caused turnovers.

Lady Flames goalkeeper Aubrie Tarris (1-2) was credited with the loss, allowing four goals during the first 5:43 of the contest before being replaced by Katherine Widrick (14 GA, seven saves).

Richmond's Megan Gianforte (1-0) surrendered seven goals and made eight assists in the victory.

Liberty is back in action on Wednesday. The Lady Flames host Virginia Tech (3-1) at 4 p.m. at the Liberty Lacrosse Field.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Women's Lacrosse to Host Richmond, Saturday, in 2017 Home Opener

The Liberty women's lacrosse team will play its home opener on its brand-new turf against Richmond, Saturday at noon at the Liberty Lacrosse Field.

Liberty enters the contest with a 1-1 mark after splitting a pair of games at No. 8 Notre Dame (18-2 loss) and at Butler (16-9 win), last weekend. The Spiders (0-0) will be playing their first game of the year when they face Liberty on Saturday.

The Spiders lead the Lady Flames, 3-0, in the all-time series. The two teams last met on Feb. 20, 2016 in Richmond, a game won, 16-11, by the Spiders.

Liberty is 4-3 all-time in home openers. The Lady Flames prevailed, 19-9, over VCU in their home opener, last year.

Liberty takes on Richmond in its home opener, Saturday at noon at the Liberty Lacrosse Field.
How to Follow the Lady Flames
There will be no live video stream for Saturday's contest.

Live stats for the contest can be found on the lacrosse schedule/results panel. For those unable to attend, be sure to follow @LUGameday on Twitter for live in-game updates.

Despite no live video stream, the Liberty Flames Sports Network (LFSN) will still provide a game recap video that will accompany the postgame recap.

Four-Game Homestand
Saturday's showdown with Richmond is the first of four straight home contests for Liberty. The Lady Flames host in-state foe Virginia Tech on Wednesday at 4 p.m., followed by matches against Navy (Feb. 25, noon) and Old Dominion (March 4, noon) on the new playing surface at the Liberty Lacrosse Field.

Blend of Experience and Youth
Liberty Head Women's Lacrosse Coach Kelly Nangle's 2017 roster features a blend of players with veteran leadership and youth. The 28-player roster features seven seniors while welcoming in eight newcomers. Nangle's squad also has 10 sophomores and three juniors.

Redshirt senior Melanie Via and redshirt junior Faith Wells were appointed as team captains for the Lady Flames, this year.

Liberty's freshmen class has accounted for eight of the 18 goals the Lady Flames have tallied in two contests, this season. Freshmen Hannah Quast (4), Jenna Joyal (2), Nikki Stumpf (1) and Grace Fletcher (1) have all found the back of the net.

Foster, Quast Honored by Big South
On Tuesday, Liberty sophomore attacker Kayla Foster was honored as the Big South Women's Lacrosse Offensive Player of the Week while freshman midfielder Hannah Quast was selected as the Freshman of the Week by the league office.

Foster tallied an assist at No. 8 Notre Dame, last Friday. On Sunday at Butler, Foster recorded three goals, dished out two assists and won eight draw controls in a 16-9 win over the Bulldogs.
Through two contests, the Pennsylvania native has a team-high six points.

Quast got off to a strong start to her freshman campaign. The New Jersey native scored her first career collegiate goal at No. 8 Notre Dame, last Friday. Two days later, she scored three more times on four shots and scooped up a ground ball in Liberty's victory at Butler. Quast currently leads Liberty with four goals through two contests.

Lady Flames News and Notes
  • The Lady Flames currently rank third in the nation in free position percentage (75 percent).
  • Foster is No. 38 in the country in assists (3) and No. 37 in draw controls per game (4.00).
  • Senior defender Ashlyn Altieri ranks No. 14 in the country in ground balls per game (4.00)
  • Junior defender Lindsey McNamara stands at No. 13 in the nation in caused turnovers per game (3.00).
  • Liberty is being outshot by its opponents, 62-40, through two contests.
  • The Lady Flames have a better shots on goal percentage (77.5) than their opponents (62.9).
  • Through two games, Liberty is even with its opponents in both ground balls (35-35) and draw controls (24-24).
  • Sophomore goalkeeper Aubrie Tarris earned her first win of the 2017 season and fourth career win, last Sunday, at Butler. The sophomore has nine saves in two games so far this year while logging 69:05 in goal.
Scouting Richmond
The Spiders finished 2016 with a 9-10 record and 3-6 mark in Atlantic 10 Conference play. This year's roster is made up of nine freshmen, nine sophomores, seven juniors and three seniors.

Senior attacker Natalia Chaney (42 g, 6 a, 48 pts) is Richmond's top returning scorer, followed by junior attacker/midfielder Kim Egizi (37 g, 18 a, 55 pts). Egizi also scooped up a team-best 50 ground balls, last year. Junior midfielder Caroline Queally (team-high 96 draw controls in 2016) will be a factor in draw controls for the Spiders.

Goalkeeper Danni Leserve (2-2, 10.76 GAA in 2016) is back for her sophomore season, while freshman Megan Gianforte will also handle goalkeeping duties for Richmond.

The Richmond women's lacrosse program is led by fourth-year head coach Allison Kwolek. Under Kwolek's direction, the Spiders have reached the Atlantic 10 Championship game in the last three seasons.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Women's Tennis to Play Road Matches at UNC Asheville and Furman

The Liberty women's tennis team will head to UNC Asheville for a Big South match on Saturday, followed by a non-conference bout at Furman on Sunday.

The Lady Flames (3-3, 2-0 Big South) will face the Bulldogs (3-4, 0-0 Big South) on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Asheville Racquet Club in what will be Asheville's first Big South match of 2017. Liberty will then head to Furman (5-4) for an 11 a.m. match, Sunday at the Mickel Tennis Center in Greenville, S.C.

Series History
Liberty holds a 13-4 all-time series advantage on UNC Asheville. The Lady Flames got the best of the Bulldogs, 5-2, on March 5, 2016, in the last meeting between the two programs.

Liberty and Furman have never met for a women's tennis match.

The Lady Flames will head to UNC Asheville for a Big South match on Saturday, followed by a non-conference tilt at Furman on Sunday.
How to Follow the Lady Flames
There will be no live results for the women's tennis match at UNC Asheville, but check back on on Saturday for a full match recap and results.

Live stats, courtesy of Furman Athletics, will be available for Sunday's match. Find the link for live stats on the Liberty women's tennis schedule & results panel on

Thoughts from Maren and Camacho
"We are facing two challenges this weekend. Asheville and Furman will both force us to play at our highest level, so I am looking forward to watching our girls battle with great intensity and desire," stated Liberty Head Women's Tennis Coach Jeff Maren.

"It'll give us a chance to find our game. We feel we are raising our level, so we want to keep competing," said Liberty freshman Eugenia Camacho.

Big South Success, Challenging Road Slate
For the fourth season in a row, the Lady Flames have started Big South Conference play 2-0. On Wednesday, Liberty bested Radford, 6-1, to get to 2-0 in league play. The Lady Flames also defeated Longwood, 7-0, on Feb. 1 to open conference play.

Liberty has faced a daunting schedule away from home, with road matches at Louisville, Wake Forest and Tennessee.

Scouting UNC Asheville
The Bulldogs were picked to finish tied for fifth in the league, along with Radford, in the Big South Conference women's tennis preseason poll. In 2016, they finished sixth in the conference with a 4-5 mark and 8-10 overall record.

This year's squad consists of two freshmen, four sophomores, a junior and two seniors. Sophomore Kylee Shipley and freshman Lauren Watson-Steele both own identical 5-2 singles records to lead Asheville. In doubles, Shipley and Hannah Francisco are a team-best 4-3 overall.

UNC Asheville owns victories over Lenoir-Rhyne, Mars Hill and Appalachian State so far this spring. Lise Gregory is the head coach of the Bulldogs, entering his 10th year in charge of the program.

Scouting Furman
The Paladins come into Sunday's match with a 5-4 mark, spotlighted by wins over Coastal Carolina, Troy, Brenau, Elon and Tulane.

Furman's 2016-17 roster includes five freshmen, two sophomores, one junior and three seniors. Freshman Hannah Ferrett owns the best singles record (6-2) playing at the back end of the lineup, while freshman Danni Vines is 6-3 in singles (2-1 at No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4). Junior Aryn Greene and senior Ansley Speaks are the Paladins' most formidable duo at 6-2 out of the No. 1 position.

Furman is led by second-year head coach by Adam Herendeen. Last spring, Furman finished 15-9 overall and 7-0 in SoCon regular season play to capture the regular season crown in Herendeen's first year. The Paladins' season ended with a 4-3 loss to Samford in the semifinals of the Southern Conference Tournament.

Flames Wrap Up Road Trip at N.C. Central and Furman

The Liberty men's tennis team will finish up a five-match road trip with matches at N.C. Central and Furman, Friday and Sunday.

The Flames (3-3) take on N.C. Central (0-4) on Friday at 2 p.m. at the Dr. James W. Younge Tennis Courts in Durham, N.C. Liberty will then head to Furman (5-3) for a 2 p.m. match, Sunday at the Mickel Tennis Center in Greenville, S.C.

The Flames wrap up a five-match road trip with matches at N.C. Central and Furman on Friday and Sunday.
Series History
The Flames hold a perfect 4-0 all-time record against N.C. Central. Liberty's last win over the Eagles came at home on Feb. 13, 2016, a 5-2 victory.

Liberty is 0-1 against Furman all-time, with the two teams' first meeting coming in 2016.  The Paladins bested the Flames, 5-2, on Feb. 5, 2016 in Lynchburg.

How to Follow the Flames
There will be no live results for the men's tennis match against N.C. Central, but check back on on Friday evening for a full match recap and results.

Live stats, courtesy of Furman Athletics, will be available for Sunday's match. Find the link for live stats on the Liberty men's tennis schedule & results panel on

Flames Split Matches George Mason and Navy
Last Friday, the Flames topped George Mason, 4-3. Max Borcuti's singles victory in the last match of the day gave Liberty the victory.

The Flames also won the doubles point, while freshmen Chase Burton and Vince Salas each won their respective singles matches.

On Saturday at Navy, the Flames were upended by the Midshipmen, 5-2. Eddie Gutierrez and Diego Castano scored the two points for Liberty with singles victories.

Road Trip Wraps Up, Home Matches to Start in March
Following Friday and Sunday's contests at N.C. Central and Furman, Liberty returns home for its Big South opener against Longwood at 3 p.m. on March 1. The Flames will then host Campbell on March 9 at 2 p.m. before going back on the road for six straight road matches.

Gutierrez, Burton Leading the Way
Sophomore Eddie Gutierrez and freshman Chase Burton have led the way for Liberty so far this spring. Gutierrez is 5-1 overall in singles action in 2017 (3-1 No. 2 singles, 2-0 No. 3 singles) and 3-3 in doubles play.

Burton, the two-time Big South Freshman of the Week, is 4-2 at No. 1 singles this spring and 3-2 in doubles.

Scouting N.C. Central
N.C. Central comes into Friday's match in search of its first victory of the spring season. The Eagles have losses to East Carolina, Presbyterian, College of Charleston and Duke so far.

The Eagles have a young roster comprised of four freshmen, three sophomores and a senior. Sophomore Gabriel Cucalon is the team's top singles player. He currently holds a 1-3 mark in the No. 1 position.

D. Curtis Lawson is the Director of Tennis and Head Men's Tennis Coach at N.C. Central and is in his 17th season with the program.

Scouting Furman
The Paladins currently stand at 5-3 and have wins over Elon, Loyola Marymount, Army West Point, North Greenville and Erskine. They play at Presbyterian on Friday before returning home to face Liberty, Sunday.

Furman's roster is made up of two freshmen, two sophomores, two juniors and a senior. The Paladins have been solid in singles play as a team (26-18 overall) this season. Adam Steryous, who plays No. 1 singles, is 5-1 so far in 2017. Furman has been excellent in doubles this year, compiling a 20-3 record. Trevor Croyder and Clarke Wilson are 7-0 as a unit, this spring.

The Paladins are led by Kelly Jones, who is in his sixth season. Furman went 13-11 and 5-2 in Southern Conference play last year, reaching the championship match of the conference tournament.