Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Lady Flames Nearly Knock off No. 46 UCF, Lose 4-3

The deciding point of the women's tennis match on Saturday between Liberty and host No. 46 UCF proved to be the first point of the day. The two teams split six singles matches, but it was the Knights who narrowly prevailed in doubles to take the match from the Lady Flames, 4-3, at the USTA National Campus.

Liberty's record drops to 5-5, this spring, with the loss, while UCF improves to 10-1 on the season.

"I feel like we are so close to beating these excellent teams. It comes down to the details," said Liberty head coach Jeff Maren. "I'm encouraged, but at the same time, I see where we need improvement."

The Lady Flames' No. 3 pairing of seniors Mariely Hassey and Emily Groeneveld defeated the Knights' Nicole Jimenez and Elizabeth Bagerbaseh, 6-3, to bring the team halfway to earning the doubles point. The seniors won 56 percent (30-of-54) of the points in the match, highlighted by 67 percent (10-of-15) first-serve points.

Liberty seniors Mariely Hassey (left) and Emily Groeneveld (right) won together in doubles and both won their singles matches, Saturday at No. 46 UCF.
Trailing 4-2 in their match, UCF's No. 2 tandem of Emilia Granstrom and Natalia Serrano seized the final four games to knock off Liberty's pairing of sophomore Anna Dollar and junior Evangeline Crist, 6-4. The Knights' team won 30 of the 54 points (56 percent) in the match and 72 percent (13-of-18) of first-serve points.

The Lady Flames' No. 1 unit of Rebekah Anderson and Aleksandra Panchenko also led their match, 4-2, over Cortney Cesarini and Monica Matias. The Knights' pairing closed out the match impressively, taking five of the next six games to prevail, 7-5, and capture the first point of the match.

The shortest match of the day went to UCF's Cortney Cesarini, who bested Liberty freshman Eugenia Camacho in straight sets (6-1, 6-1) in the No. 4 match to give the home side a 2-0 edge.

Groeneveld played some of her best tennis of the year in the No. 6 singles match versus Jimenez, winning 6-0, 6-1, to give her team its first point of the day. However, the host Knights picked up their third point of the day on a straight-sets win from Matias (6-1, 6-4) over Dollar. Matias' triumph brought UCF close to victory at 3-1.

Serrano needed two sets to take down Anderson, 6-1, 6-3, and supply her team with the match-winning point.

Despite the outcome already being decided, Hassey and Crist collected wins in the No. 5 and No. 3 matches, respectively. Hassey emerged with a win over Bagerbaseh, 7-5, 6-3, while Crist went three sets with Granstrom. She prevailed in the tiebreaker to take the match, 6-1, 2-6, 1-0 (11-9), and settle the final outcome at 4-3.

"Our seniors are leading the way for us right now. They are playing with passion and a desire to finish their careers strong," Maren stated. "We have been struggling with consistency through our lineup, so we will work hard next week to rectify this and get ready for George Washington."

After four straight matches away from Lynchburg, the Lady Flames will return home for a 1 p.m. matchup, next Saturday against George Washington. The Colonials own a 6-4 record, so far this season.

Strong First Half Propels Navy to Victory at Liberty, Saturday

The visiting Navy Midshipmen used a strong first half on the way to a 20-4 victory over the Liberty women's lacrosse team, Saturday afternoon at the Liberty Lacrosse Field.

The Mids (3-1) scored five goals in the contest's first 5:17 and went on a 10-0 run later in the first half to take a 15-2 lead on the Lady Flames (1-4) at the half.

Attackers Julia Collins and Meg O'Donnell scored five goals apiece for Navy, while Morgan Young added four markers. Liberty freshman Hannah Quast paced the way for the home side with a pair of second-half goals.

Although the Lady Flames possessed the game's first three draw controls, the Mids scored the game's first three goals less than three minutes into the contest. Jenna Collins (2 g, 4 a) puts the visitors ahead just 70 seconds into the game. Morgan Young and Julia Collins made it 3-0 Navy with 27:13 to play in the half, causing Liberty to take a timeout.

Kelly Larkin and Julia Collins put the Midshipmen ahead, 5-0, with a pair of unassisted tallies. Shortly after, the Lady Flames responded with a back-to-back goals of their own to trim the deficit to three, 5-2.

Following a Navy turnover, Kayla Foster carried the ball into the Navy zone and found Paige Britton from behind the goal. Britton sent a shot past Navy goalkeeper Ingrid Boyum and into the net for her third goal of the year at the 23:24 mark.

On the very next possession, Paige Britton won the draw control, leading to a breakaway situation. Britton fed a pass to Hannah Quast, who quickly sent it to Foster in front of the net. Foster ripped a quick strike past Boyum for her fifth goal of 2017, cutting the Navy lead to 5-2 with 23:06 on the clock in the first stanza.


The Mids regrouped and went on a 10-0 run to close the first frame, spotlighted by five goals from O'Donnell and a trio of markers from Julia Collins. Young and Jenna Collins also added goals. O'Donnell sent the visitors into the break with a free-position goal with 19 seconds to play, push the lead to 15-2 over Liberty.

Navy extended its lead to 18-2 in the early stages of the second half before Quast struck for Liberty. Following a yellow card on the Mids' Anne Richter on Quast and another foul on Navy, Quast converted a free-position attempt to bring the score to 18-3 with 15:50 remaining.

Over four minutes later, Abby Britton found Quast in space to the right of the goal. Quast scored her team-best seventh goal of the season with 11:15 to play in the contest, making it 18-4.

Navy's Carley Seekamp and Gabbi Labuskes scored the final two goals of the game.

Liberty's Aubrie Tarris made the start in goal for the Lady Flames. Tarris (1-3) recorded five saves and yielded 15 goals before giving way to Katherine Widrick (5 GA, 5 SV) for the second half. Navy netminder Boyum (3-1) earned the victory for the Midshipmen, making four saves while yielding two goals in 40:44 minutes of action.

Navy outshot Liberty, 35-16, and also held advantages in ground balls (25-18) and draw controls (15-10).

For Liberty, Ashlyn Altieri, Brianna McCaffrey and Melanie Via each had two caused turnovers. McCaffrey notched a game-high five draw controls as well and shared the team lead with Foster for shots with four. Victoria Tickle, Abby Britton, Tarris and Widrick collected two ground balls apiece for the Lady Flames.



Liberty will be back in action, next Saturday against Atlantic Sun Conference opponent Old Dominion. Game time is set for noon at the Liberty Lacrosse Field.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Liberty Women's Lacrosse to Host Navy, Saturday Afternoon

The Liberty women's lacrosse team will host Navy, Saturday at the Liberty Lacrosse Field. Game time is noon.

The Lady Flames enter the game with a 1-3 mark following a setback to No. 20 Virginia Tech, Wednesday at home. The Midshipmen come into Saturday's contest with a 2-1 record. Navy bested Villanova, 17-5, on Wednesday in Annapolis, Md, in its most recent contest.

The Middies lead the Lady Flames, 4-0, in the all-time series. The two teams last met on Feb. 27, 2016 at Navy. Navy defeated Liberty, 21-7, on that day. Abby Britton and Kayla Foster both scored twice for the Lady Flames in the contest.

Liberty (1-3) looks to get back on track, Saturday at home against Navy (2-1).
How to Follow the Lady Flames
There will no live video broadcast of the game.

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

Back Half of Homestand
Saturday's showdown with Navy is the third of four straight home contests for Liberty. After Saturday's contest, the Lady Flames will host Old Dominion (March 4, noon), before beginning a six-game road trip at George Mason (March 11, 1 p.m.).

Lady Flames News and Notes
  • The Lady Flames currently rank 26th in the nation in free position percentage (.500)
  • As a team, Liberty is No. 36 in the country in ground balls per game (19.75) and No. 42 in the country in caused turnovers per game (10.00)
  • Foster is No. 41 in the country in assists (5) and leads the team in points with nine and draw controls with 10
  • Junior defender Lindsey McNamara stands at No. 27 in the nation in caused turnovers per game (2.50)
  • Liberty freshmen have accounted for 10 of the 27 goals scored by the Lady Flames, so far this season.
  • Sophomore goalkeeper Katherine Widrick is second in the Big South in goals-against average (11.82)
  • Liberty holds an advantage over its opponents in clear percentage (.704-.671)
  • The Lady Flames have a better shots on goal percentage (.722) than their opponents (.695)
  • Through four contests, Liberty owns a 79-71 advantage over its opponents in ground balls
  • Liberty's opponents have outshot the Lady Flames, 118-72
  • The Lady Flames are losing the battle for draw controls, 59-34, so far this year
Scouting Navy
Navy has early seasons wins over Longwood and Villanova, with its lone setback coming at No. 10 Duke, Feb. 12.

The Midshipmen are in the top 20 in the national rankings in several categories, including: free position percentage (No. 8, .700), scoring offense (No. 9, 16.33), points per game (No. 11, 23.33), ground balls per game (No. 14, 23.00), scoring margin (No. 14, 7.00) and assists per game (No. 16, 7.00).

Freshman attacker Kelly Larkin (9 g, 8 a, 17 pts) is the team's top point getter and ranks No. 13 in the nation in points per game. Junior attacker Jenna Collins (12 g, 3 a, 15 pts) is 16th in the country in goals and leads the team in the category. Junior attacker Julia Collins (7 g, 7 a, 14 pts) will also pose a threaten on the offensive end and has won a team-best 13 draw controls.

Junior goalkeeper Ingrid Boyum (2-1, 8.97 GAA) will likely handle the goalkeeping duties for the Mids. Boyum has 11 saves on the year and is 29th in the country in goals-against average.

Navy is coached by Cindy Timchal, who is in her 10th season in charge of the program. Timchal has a 139-39 career record at the school, with four Patriot League titles and four NCAA tournament appearances (2010-13).

Liberty Rebounds from Shaky Start for 4-2 Win over Florida Atlantic, Friday

After dropping the doubles point on Friday, the Liberty women's tennis squad rebounded to win four singles matches and defeat Florida Atlantic, 4-2, at the USTA National Campus.

With the victory, the Lady Flames move above .500 at 5-4, while the Owls fall to 4-4 with the loss. The neutral site match was hosted by UCF.

"After some shaky doubles, the girls came out for singles with great composure and mental fortitude," stated Liberty head coach Jeff Maren. "I'm so proud of how we were able to turn the match around."

The match started with FAU taking two of three doubles contests to capture the doubles point.
 In the No. 1 doubles match, FAU's Lauren Fabrizi and Ana Gutierrez bested Liberty's sophomore tandem of Rebekah Anderson and Aleksandra Panchenko, 6-1. FAU's pairing won 25 of 37 points (68 percent) in the match and 69 percent (9-of-13) of their first-serve points.

Liberty's senior duo of Mariely Hassey and Emily Groeneveld recorded a 6-3 triumph over Lyndsey Boos and Marisa Ruiz. In that match, the seniors won 31-of-50 points (62 percent) and 12-of-18 first-serve points (67 percent).

The deciding doubles match went to Florida Atlantic's Alisa Rudenko and Heather Walton, 7-5, over the Lady Flames' Anna Dollar and Evangeline Crist. The tight match featured 34 points from the Owls to 33 for the Lady Flames. Rudenko and Walton won 3-of-4 break points, compared to just 2-of-7 for Liberty.

Once singles play started, Liberty's Crist evened the match at 1-1 with an efficient, 6-0, 6-2 victory over Boos in the No. 3 position. The win moved Crist to 5-2 in singles play, this spring.
In the No. 1 doubles slot, Anderson gave the Lady Flames a 2-1 lead with a straight-sets (6-2, 6-4) win over Fabrizi.

"Although we didn't play our best in doubles, everyone really stepped it up in singles and had belief in themselves and their game," Anderson said. "We are looking forward to using the momentum from today and transferring it to tomorrow's match."

Dollar extended the Liberty advantage to 3-1 with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Gutierrez, her fifth dual match singles victory of 2017.

After dropping the doubles point, the Lady Flames won four singles matches to defeat Florida Atlantic, 4-2.
Ruiz brought FAU within a point (3-2) by prevailing in two sets (6-2, 7-6 (2)) over Lady Flames freshman Eugenia Camacho, in the No. 4 singles match.

Liberty's Hassey, the reigning Big South Women's Tennis Player of the Week, continued her winning ways by defeating Rudenko, 7-5, 6-3, in the No. 6 match. The victory gave the Lady Flames the winning point and a victory over the Owls in the first-ever meeting between the two schools.

The win was Hassey's 60th singles victory in her four-year Liberty career. It moved her into a tie with Nicola Wellman (2011-15) for fifth-most in program history.

Groeneveld's match against Naiya Oden went unfinished. Groeneveld dropped the first set, 6-3, to Oden but led 6-5 in set two.

The Lady Flames will play host No. 46 UCF (8-1) on Saturday at 4 p.m. at the USTA National Campus. Live video and live stats for the match are available on LibertyFlames.com through the women's tennis schedule page.

Women's Tennis to Face Florida Atlantic and No. 46 UCF in the Sunshine State

The Liberty women's tennis team will head to the state of Florida for matches with Florida Atlantic and No. 46 UCF, Friday and Saturday in Orlando.

The Lady Flames will take on 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 (4-4) has never faced Florida Atlantic (4-3) or UCF (8-1).

"We had a great week of practice and are looking forward to competing this weekend," said Liberty Head Women's Tennis Coach Jeff Maren. "We will have two very good teams to compete against, so I have no doubt that we'll be forced to raise our games."

Liberty will face Florida Atlantic on Friday and No. 46 UCF on Saturday in Orlando.
How to Follow the Lady Flames
Live stats and live video will be available for both matches. Visit the women's tennis schedule & results panel on LibertyFlames.com for links to live stats and live video.

Big South Dominance
After claiming a share of the Big South Conference regular season title in 2016, the Lady Flames are off to another strong start in 2017 with a 3-0 mark in Big South play. Liberty already has wins over Longwood, Radford and UNC Asheville in conference competition. The Lady Flames have yielded just two points to their opposition in three league matches.

Liberty senior Mariely Hassey was named the Big South Women's Tennis Player of the Week by the league office, Wednesday. The Arizona native collected a pair of singles wins and one doubles win, last week.

The Lady Flames will play their next Big South match against Charleston Southern in Lynchburg on March 11.

Inside the Numbers
Hassey leads the Lady Flames with 10 singles victories in the 2016-17 season. She has 59 career singles wins in a Liberty uniform, sixth-most in program history. Junior Evangeline Crist is right behind her with 58 career singles victories.

Crist (8-6 record) and freshman Eugenia Camacho (4-3 record) also hold singles records above .500 for the entire 2016-17 season. Crist, senior Emily Groeneveld and sophomore Anna Dollar are all 4-2 in singles competition, this spring.

Liberty's top two doubles units this year have been Crist and Dollar (12-6 record) and sophomores Rebekah Anderson and Aleksandra Panchenko (10-8 record). Crist is No. 4 in program history in doubles victories (67).

Scouting Florida Atlantic
The Owls come into Friday's match with a 4-3 mark. They lost their most recent match, 4-0, to No. 36 Florida State, Tuesday. Florida Atlantic has recorded wins over Stetson, Bethune-Cookman, Florida A&M and Middle Tennesee, so far this spring.

FAU's 11-player roster consists of four freshmen, one sophomore, two juniors and four seniors. The Owls' top singles player so far this spring has been senior Lyndsey Boos, who owns a 5-1 mark. In doubles competition, freshman Lauren Fabrizi and Ana Gutierrez are a perfect 6-0 in the No. 1 doubles slot.

Florida Atlantic is coached by Marcy Hora-Cava, who is in her ninth season at the helm. Hora-Cava led the Owls to a 12-9 record in 2016.

The Owls will also face UCF on Friday at 5 p.m.

Scouting UCF
The Knights enter the weekend with an 8-1 record and hold the No. 46 spot in the Oracle/ITA Division I Collegiate Rankings. Their most recent victories have come over North Florida and Florida Gulf Coast. Their only setback of 2017 came to Iowa, Jan. 15.

UCF's roster is composed of one freshman, one sophomore, three juniors and a senior. The Knights boast a trio of players (Cortney Cesarini, Emily Granstrom and Monica Matias) with identical 8-1 records in singles play, this spring.

Granstrom and Natalia Serrano are unbeaten (9-0) at No. 2 doubles this spring, while Cesarini and Matias are 8-1 as a unit in the No. 1 slot. The Knights are 21-5 in doubles play as a team.
UCF is led by first-year head coach Bryan Koniecko. Koniecko spent the last two seasons as the men's tennis head coach at Brown.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

No. 20 Virginia Tech Defeats Liberty on Wednesday

No. 20 Virginia Tech earned a 15-2 victory over the Liberty lacrosse team on Wednesday at the Liberty Lacrosse Field.

Virginia Tech's Kristine Loscalzo paced the team with four goals, Zan Biederharn scored three times and Taylor Caskey added two goals and a game-high four assists. Liberty's two goals came from the sticks of freshman Hannah Quast and junior Abby Britton.

Quast scored her fifth goal of the season against No. 20 Virginia Tech, Wednesday.
Virginia Tech moves to 4-1 in 2017 with the win, while Liberty drops to 1-3 overall.

The Hokies took a 12-1 lead into the half and outscored the Lady Flames, 3-1, after intermission. Virginia Tech won the first four draw controls of the contest and scored twice in the first 1:49 of play.

Virginia Tech's Marissa Davey put the visiting side on the board with an unassisted goal, 56 seconds into the game, to make it 1-0. Following a Loscalzo draw control, Caskey set up Biedernharn's first goal of the day to give the Hokies a 2-0 lead with 28:11 to play in the first half.

Virginia Tech would get two more goals from Loscalzo and one from Biedenharn to lead, 5-0, with 18:01 left in the first stanza.

The Lady Flames' first tally of the day came from Quast, the freshman's fifth of the season. Sophomore Kayla Foster set up the goal on a feed to Quast cutting through the middle. Quast beat Hokies goalie Meagh Graham to cut Virginia Tech's lead to 5-1 with 16:28 remaining in the opening half.

The Hokies closed the half on a 7-0 run to lead by a 12-1 margin. During that run, goals came from Emma Harden (2), Loscalzo (1), Davey (1), Tristan McGinley (1) and Biederharn (1).

During the second half, Liberty's defense limited the Virginia Tech offense to just three goals and nine shots.

The Lady Flames opened the scoring after intermission. Abby Britton recorded her third goal of the year on a feed from senior Courtney Brown to bring the deficit to 12-2 with 27:26 remaining.

The Hokies held the home side off the scoreboard the rest of the way and received goals from Loscalzo, Caskey and McGinley to settle the final score at 15-2.

Virginia Tech's Graham (4-1) made four saves while yielding two goals, earning the victory. Liberty sophomore goalkeeper Katherine Widrick took the loss in her first start of the year. She yielded eight goals and made three saves in 41:59 of action.

Widrick and senior defender Victoria Tickle tied for the team lead in ground balls with three. Liberty won the battle for ground balls, 18-17, over Virginia Tech.

McCaffrey led the Lady Flames with three draw controls, while Kelly Glatthorn recorded a game-high six for the Hokies.

For the game, Virginia Tech outshot Liberty, 22-11, and had a 14-4 edge in draw controls. The Lady Flames maintained a better clear percentage (13-of-15, 86.6 percent) than their opponents (16-of-23, 69.6 percent).


The Lady Flames will be back in action on Saturday for the third game of a four-game homestand. Liberty hosts Navy (2-1) at noon on that day at the Liberty Lacrosse Field.

Hassey Tabbed Big South Player of the Week

Liberty women's tennis player Mariely Hassey has been voted the Big South Conference Women's Tennis Player of the Week.

Hassey, a senior, went 2-0 in singles and 1-0 in doubles, last weekend, against Big South opponent, UNC Asheville, and Furman.

Hassey is the second Liberty player this spring to be selected as the Big South Conference Women's Tennis Player of the Week.
On Saturday at Asheville, she teamed up with freshman Eugenia Camacho for a 6-3 doubles victory over the Bulldogs' Christin Louw and Emily Sidor. In singles play, Hassey took down Sidor, 6-2, 6-0. The Lady Flames topped UNC Asheville, 6-1, to improve to 3-0 in Big South play.

Hassey continued her steady play at Furman on Sunday, defeating the Paladins' Hannah Ferrett in singles, 6-3, 6-2, to improve to 5-1 in singles play, this spring.

The Surprise, Az., native has a team-best 10 singles victories to her credit during the 2016-17 season and 59 career singles wins (sixth in program history) in four years in a Liberty uniform.

Hassey is the second Liberty women's tennis player this spring to be recognized as the Big South Player of the Week. Junior Evangeline Crist received the same honor on Feb. 8.

Hassey and the Lady Flames return to action in the state of Florida, this weekend. Liberty (4-4) will take on Florida Atlantic (4-3) on Friday morning in a neutral site match at the United States Tennis Association (USTA) National Campus at 11 a.m. in Orlando. The Lady Flames will then play host UCF (8-1) on Saturday at 4 p.m. at the USTA National Campus.

2017 Liberty Lacrosse Promotional Schedule Announced

Liberty Lacrosse returns for the 2017 season with an exciting lineup of quality opponents and promotional items!

In her fourth season at the helm, Liberty Head Women's Lacrosse Coach Kelly Nangle looks forward to an exciting year of Lady Flames Lacrosse with a mixture of veteran leadership and young talent.

The Flames will play a total of seven home games during the 2017 regular season, including a matchup with No. 20 Virginia Tech. Admission to all home games is FREE and will be accompanied by various promotional giveaways, contests and concessions deals throughout the season.


Saturday, February 18 vs. Richmond at 12 p.m.                
FREE "Be Early, Be Loud, Wear Red!" t-shirt to the first 50 fans!

Wednesday, February 22 vs. Virginia Tech at 4 p.m.       
Youth Day: All area youth are invited to enjoy the game and meet the team during a post-game autograph session!

Enter to win prizes: FREE Drone and a FREE Razor Scooter

Saturday, February 25 vs. Navy at 12 p.m.                          
Enter to win a FREE Fitbit!

Saturday, March 4 vs. Old Dominion at 12 p.m.                
FREE Liberty Lacrosse Beanie to the first 100 fans!

Saturday, April 8 vs. Campbell at 12 p.m.                            
FREE limited edition Liberty Lacrosse long sleeve t-shirt to the first 100 fans!

Saturday, April 15 vs. High Point at 2 p.m.                         
FREE Liberty Lacrosse Headband or Liberty Lacrosse Cowbell to the first 225 fans!

Wednesday, April 19 vs. Radford at 6 p.m.                        
Senior Day: Pregame recognition of all Liberty Lacrosse senior student-athletes!

FREE Liberty Lacrosse Sunglasses to the first 100 fans!

Enter to win a FREE Razor Scooter!

Lady Flames Set for Showdown with No. 20 Virginia Tech, Wednesday

The Liberty Lady Flames women's lacrosse team will welcome No. 20 Virginia Tech to campus for a 4 p.m. contest, Wednesday at the Liberty Lacrosse Field.

The Lady Flames enter the game with a 1-2 record after an 18-7 setback to Richmond, Saturday in their home opener. This will be the second time Liberty has faced a ranked opponent already this season. The Lady Flames opened their schedule at No. 8 Notre Dame, Feb. 10.

Virginia Tech comes in at 3-1 overall. The Hokies upset No. 17 Boston College, 18-12, Saturday in Blacksburg. They entered the Inside Lacrosse Top 20 poll for the first time since 2011, Monday.
The Hokies lead the Lady Flames, 6-0, in the all-time series. The two teams last met in Liberty's 2016 season opener on Feb. 13, 2016 in Blacksburg. Virginia Tech defeated Liberty, 7-4, on that day.

How to Follow the Lady Flames
The Liberty Flames Sports Network (LFSN) will be providing a live video stream of the game. The link for the contest is available on lacrosse schedule/results panel on LibertyFlames.com.

Live stats for the contest can also 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.

Liberty hosts No. 20 Virginia Tech on Wednesday at 4 p.m.
Four-Game Homestand
Saturday's showdown with Virginia Tech is the second of four straight home contests for Liberty. After Wednesday's contest, the Lady Flames will host matches against Navy (Saturday, noon) and Old Dominion (March 4, noon) at the Liberty Lacrosse Field.

Lady Flames News and Notes
  • The Lady Flames currently rank 11th in the nation in free position percentage (66.7 percent).
  • Senior defender Ashlyn Altieri ranks No. 20 in the country in ground balls per game (4.33)
  • Sophomore attacker Kayla Foster is No. 46 in the country in assists (4) and leads the team in points with eight and draw controls with 10
  • Junior defender Lindsey McNamara stands at No. 31 in the nation in caused turnovers per game (2.67)
  • Liberty freshmen have accounted for nine of the 25 goals scored by the Lady Flames, so far this season.
  • The Lady Flames have a better shots on goal percentage (.754) than their opponents (.667)
  • Through three contests, Liberty owns a 61-49 advantage on its opponents in ground balls
  • Liberty is being outshot by its opponents, 96-61, through three games
  • The Lady Flames are losing the battle for draw controls, 45-30, so far this year
  • Liberty holds a very slight edge on its opponents in clear percentage (.661-.660).
Scouting Virginia Tech
The Hokies come into Wednesday's contest with early season wins over Gardner-Webb, Davidson, and No. 17 Boston College. Their lone setback came to James Madison, last Wednesday.

Virginia Tech ranks in the top-25 in the country in several categories, including scoring defense (No. 19, 8.25), scoring margin (No. 20, 6.25) and draw controls per game (No. 21, 14.50).

The Hokies feature a potent offense, led by junior attacker Tristan McGinley. McGinley leads the team with 15 goals (No. 6 in country) and 19 points (No. 7 in country). She is also fourth in the nation in draw controls per game (9.00).

Senior Kristine Loscalzo is 20th in the nation with 10 goals, while sophomore Zan Biedenharn is 28th with nine markers.

Senior Meagh Graham (3-1, 8.38 GAA) has seen the bulk of the time in goal for Virginia Tech. She has made all four starts in frame, recording 23 saves with a .418 save percentage. Graham also leads the team with 12 ground balls.

The Hokies are led by first-year head coach John Sung. Sung was the 2015 and 2016 Big South Coach of the Year at Winthrop, leading the Eagles to back-to-back Big South titles in 2015 and 2016.

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 LibertyFlames.com 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 LibertyFlames.com.

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 LibertyFlames.com 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 LibertyFlames.com.

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.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Liberty Bests Radford in BSC Play, 6-1, on Wednesday Afternoon

The Liberty women's tennis team won its second Big South Conference match of 2017, defeating visiting Radford, 6-1, Wednesday at the Crosswhite Athletic Club.

The Lady Flames improve to 3-3 overall and remain in first place in the Big South at 2-0, while the Highlanders drop to 0-5 overall and 0-1 in Big South play.

"I'm happy that we won but am upset with our intensity and focus. We cannot allow these areas to drop if we are to accomplish our goals," said Liberty Head Women's Tennis Coach Jeff Maren. "We will have a strong practice tomorrow and try to get ourselves ready for the weekend."

Liberty won the doubles point in dramatic fashion. The No. 3 pairing of Aleksandra Panchenko and Eugenia Camacho rolled to a 6-0 win over Radford's Karlie Pope and Yuliia Popova to bring the Lady Flames halfway to the doubles point.

But Radford responded in the No. 1 match, as Natalie Sayer and Meili Martin overcame an early deficit to the Lady Flames' top duo of Anna Dollar and Evangeline Crist. Sayer and Martin trailed 3-2 but won four of the last five games to take the match, 6-4.

The doubles point came down to the No. 2 match between Liberty seniors Mariely Hassey and Emily Groeneveld and Radford's Drousile Dzeubou and Claire Nguyen. Radford's tandem led throughout, as they were up 1-0, 2-1, 3-2, 4-3, 5-4 and 6-5. With Hassey serving and Liberty trailing, 6-5, Groeneveld scored the point to send the match to a tiebreaker, volleying a cross-court forehand shot past Dzeubou.

In the tiebreaker, Hassey and Groeneveld raced out to a 5-1 lead, only to see Dzeubou and Nguyen even it up at 5-5. The seniors remained composed, scoring the final two points to secure the doubles point for the home side with a 7-6 (7-5) victory.

In singles play, Dzeubou brought the visiting Highlanders even, 1-1, with a straight-sets victory (6-3, 6-2) over Panchenko at No. 1.

The No. 2 match between Dollar and Sayer went to Dollar, 6-3, 7-5. Dollar controlled the first set on the way to a 1-0 lead in the match and led 5-2 in the second set before Sayer won the next three games. However, the sophomore closed out the match by taking the last two games, giving the host Lady Flames a 2-1 edge.

Moments later, Crist closed out her match with Nguyen, needing two sets to do so (6-2, 6-4). Liberty led Radford, 3-1, following Crist's triumph.

At No. 4 singles, Groeneveld needed two hard-fought sets to take down Martin, 7-5, 7-6 (7-3). The senior led 6-5 in the second set, looking to close out the match. Martin took the next game to force a tiebreaker, which Groeneveld won, 7-3, giving the Lady Flames their fourth point of the day to officially win the match.

Groenveld won in both doubles and singles in Liberty's 6-1 victory over Radford, Wednesday.
"We felt prepared from last weekend at Wake Forest and Tennessee. We felt super confident and on top of our games going back into conference play," Groeneveld said. "None of these teams are going to give us free points or matches. We have to fight for every single one, and that's exactly what happened in doubles and singles. When things got tight, we were still confident that we could pull out the win."

The Lady Flames also captured the final two matches of the day (No. 5, No. 6 singles) to push the final outcome to 6-1.

Hassey needed just two sets to top Popova, 6-1, 6-4, for her team-best eighth singles win of the 2016-17 season. Camacho battled for a 7-5 set one victory over Pope and then dominated the second set for a 7-5, 6-0 victory to improve to 2-0 at No. 6 singles, this spring.

"We all had a slow start, but we found a way to raise our games, pull through, and win our matches," Camacho stated.

The Lady Flames will look to move to 3-0 in league play when they play at Big South foe UNC Asheville (3-4, 0-0 BSC) on Saturday at 2 p.m., followed by an 11 a.m. match on Sunday at Furman (5-4).

Monday, February 13, 2017

Liberty Falls, 4-0, on Road at Tennessee

The Liberty Lady Flames women's tennis team suffered a 4-0 setback at Tennessee, Sunday afternoon, at the Goodfriend Tennis Center.

The Vols took the doubles point and won at No. 1, No. 2 and No. 4 singles to secure the overall match victory.

With the setback, the Lady Flames drop to 2-3 on the season. UT improves to 9-1 with the victory after also defeating Indiana, Sunday morning.

Tennessee's top pairing of Brittany Lindl and Eve Repic defeated Liberty's Rebekah Anderson and Aleksandra Panchenko, 6-1. The home side clinched the doubles point in the No. 3 match, as Ashley Bongart and Ariadna Riley bested Mariely Hassey and Emily Groeneveld, 6-1.

No. 69 Lindl extended UT's lead to 2-0 with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Panchenko in the No. 2 position. Sadie Hammond got the home side a point closer to clinching the overall match with a straight-sets victory over Anderson (6-1, 6-1).

Liberty suffered a 4-0 setback at Tennessee, Sunday afternoon, at the Goodfriend Tennis Center.
The Vols' Eve Repic knocked off Liberty's Evangeline Crist by the score of 6-2, 6-2, to seal the overall match victory for the host team.

"This was definitely a learning experience for us. We played a very good team that forced us to raise our games," said Liberty Head Women's Tennis Coach Jeff Maren. "Unfortunately, we didn't raise our games enough, but we saw several areas that we need to address before our next match. Our effort was there, and our fight was there. We'll look at this weekend as a blessing for our team as the season progresses towards April."

The Lady Flames (2-3, 1-0 BSC) return to their home courts on Wednesday. Liberty will host Big South foe Radford (0-4, 0-0 BSC) at 2 p.m. at either the Crosswhite Athletic Club or their home facility, the Cook Tennis Center, depending on the forecasted weather.

Women's Tennis Falls Just Short at Wake Forest

The Liberty women's tennis team hung close with a strong Wake Forest squad on Saturday at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex but ultimately lost, 4-0.

Liberty drops to 2-2 with the loss, while Wake Forest moves to 8-2 with the win in the first-ever meeting between the two schools. The Demon Deacons also shut out William & Mary, 7-0, Saturday morning.

The home side took the doubles point to gain an early 1-0 lead on the Lady Flames. Both No. 1 and No. 2 doubles matches went to the Demon Deacons and were decided by a few deuce points lost by Liberty.

The No. 1 match wrapped up first, with Kimmy Guerin and Anna Ulyashchenko taking down the Lady Flames' Rebekah Anderson and Aleksandra Panchenko, 6-3. The Demon Deacons' pairing of Emma Davis and Chandler Carter also prevailed, 6-3, over Liberty's Anna Dollar and Evangeline Crist.

In the final doubles match (No. 3), Liberty's Mariely Hassey and Emily Groeneveld were on the cusp of winning over Joanna Zalewski and Courtney Meredith. The two seniors led, 5-4, before the match went unfinished.

Singles play started out in favor of the home side as well. No. 53 Guerin needed just two sets to top Anderson (6-4, 6-2) at No. 1 singles. No. 70 Davis needed three sets to take down Panchenko in the No. 2 slot. After dropping the first set, Panchenko won set two, 6-2, before Davis took the final set to win (6-1, 2-6, 6-0). The victory gave Wake Forest a 3-0 lead.

Saturday marked the first time this season the Lady Flames faced two players ranked inside the top 125 of the ITA women's singles rankings on one team.

The crucial match was at No. 5 singles, Carter (Wake Forest) vs. Groeneveld. Groeneveld fell, 6-4, in set one but led 5-3 and 40-0 in set two. However, Carter mounted a furious comeback to take the game and eventually set up a tiebreaker with the Liberty senior. Carter prevailed, 7-1, in that tiebreaker, to win her match (6-4, 7-6 (1)) and end the match with a 4-0 score.

Had Groeneveld forced a third set, it would have kept the match alive and made things interesting because the Lady Flames led in the other three matches (No. 3, No. 4 and No. 6 singles.

Dollar led Ulyashchenko in the No. 3 slot by a set and a game before the match was called. The match concluded 7-6 (8-6), 4-3, unfinished. The same was the case for Crist in her No. 4 showdown against Zalewkski. The Liberty junior led by a set before the match ended 7-6 (5), 3-3, unfinished.

Hassey and Fernandez were tied at a set apiece at No. 6 singles, but Hassey was in control with a 4-1 set three lead. The match concluded, 1-6, 6-1, 4-1, unfinished.

If Liberty would have won each of those three matches and Groeneveld had forced a third set, it would have come down to a dramatic third set between her and Carter.

The Lady Flames hung close with a strong Wake Forest team on Saturday in Winston-Salem, N.C.
"I'm really proud of how composed we were today. Wake Forest is one of the better teams in the country, and yet we were not intimidated. We believed in ourselves and stuck to our plan," stated Liberty Head Women's Tennis Coach Jeff Maren. "Wake played a little better than us in a handful of points, and that was the difference. This match will boost our confidence and belief that we can play at the next level."

The Lady Flames now head to Knoxville, Tenn. for a Sunday matchup with the Vols (7-1) at 3 p.m. at the Goodfriend Tennis Center.