Thursday, February 2, 2017

Liberty Dominates Longwood, 7-0, in Season Opener

The Liberty women's tennis team opened its spring season with a dominating 7-0 win over visiting Longwood in Big South Conference action, Tuesday at the Crosswhite Athletic Club.

With the victory, the Lady Flames open their spring schedule at 1-0 overall and 1-0 in the Big South, while the Lancers fall to 0-2 overall and 0-1 in the Big South.

Liberty did not drop a set in the match on the way to the win. The last time the team did not lose a set in a match came in a 7-0 win at Presbyterian, March 25, 2016.

Liberty picked up the first point of the day with a sweep of the doubles matches. Mariely Hassey and Emily Groeneveld raced out to a 5-0 lead on Longwood's Paloma Alatorre and Marija Venta and prevailed, 6-1.

After losing their first game, the No. 3 pairing of Anna Dollar and Eugenia Camacho won six consecutive games to top Mason Thomas and Anna Pelak, 6-1. The top pairing of Rebekah Anderson and Aleksandra Panchenko picked up their first doubles win of the spring, defeating Jamie Breunig and Fallon Burger, 6-2, to complete the sweep and give the home side an early 1-0 edge.

In singles play, Anderson dominated Breunig, 6-0, 6-1 in the No. 1 slot. Shortly after, Hassey closed out her match against Burger, 6-2, 6-1, pushing the Lady Flames' lead to 3-0.

Dollar led throughout her match at No. 3 singles with Mason in a 6-2, 6-0 win to officially clinch the match for Liberty. Groeneveld controlled her match with Alatorre throughout, collecting a 6-2, 6-1 triumph in the No. 4 spot.

At No. 2 singles, Panchenko bested Venta, 6-2, in the first set and led 5-2 in set two, looking to close out the match. Venta won the next two games before Panchenko closed out the match for a 6-2, 6-4 victory.

In the final match of the day, the Lady Flames' Camacho knocked off Pelak, 6-4, 6-4. The Liberty freshman trailed 4-3 in the first set before rattling off three straight games to take the opening set. She built a 4-2 lead in the second set, but Pelak evened the match at 4-4. Camacho took the final two games for a 6-4 second set win and to settle the match score at 7-0.

 "This was a good way to start the season. We've had a few good weeks of practice, and the girls used that preparation to bring out some good tennis today," said Liberty Head Women's Tennis Coach Jeff Maren. "We also learned about some areas that need improving. So we will work on those things and begin preparing ourselves for this weekend."

The Lady Flames return to the court on Saturday, as they play host to ETSU at 10 a.m. at the Crosswhite Athletic Club. Liberty will then travel to Louisville for a noon match on Sunday.

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