Tuesday, March 7, 2017

George Washington Navigates Past Early Setback, Bests Liberty, 4-3

The visiting George Washington Colonials overcame an early setback in doubles competition to best the host Liberty Lady Flames, 4-3, Saturday afternoon at the Crosswhite Athletic Club.

Despite Liberty sweeping doubles, the Colonials (7-4) took four of six singles bouts, including a pair of three-set matches from the Lady Flames (5-6) to claim the victory. Marie-Louise Decamps' three-set triumph over Evangeline Crist (5-7, 6-4, 6-4) at No. 3 singles gave George Washington the fourth and deciding point.

In doubles play, Liberty head coach Jeff Maren shook his team's lineup, and it paid off. The No. 1 pairing of Rebekah Anderson and Crist, playing for the first time together in competition during the 2016-17 season, easily defeated Maria Siopacha and Melis Bayraktaroglu, 6-2.

Crist teamed up with Anderson for a doubles win against George Washington, helping Liberty sweep the doubles point.
The Lady Flames' No. 2 unit of seniors Mariely Hassey and Emily Groeneveld clinched the doubles point with a 6-4 victory over Decamps and Taylor Nederlander. The senior duo ran its winning streak to four matches and improved to 6-2 in doubles as a team, this spring.

The No. 3 tandem of Aleksandra Panchenko and Anna Dollar, also playing together for the first time this year, scored a 6-4 win over George Washingon's Victoria Kogan and Kamilla Beisenova to complete the sweep for the home side and give Liberty an early 1-0 lead.

In singles competition, Nederlander defeated Groeneveld (6-2, 6-1) in straight sets in the No. 5 spot to tie the match, 1-1.

Dollar reclaimed the lead for Liberty, posting a dominating, 6-0, 6-3, victory over Sara Grubac in the No. 4 match. Bayraktaroglu evened the match again, this time at 2-2, with a 6-2, 6-4 win of her own over Panchenko in the No. 2 slot.

The Colonials' Siopacha erased a one-set deficit to Anderson and prevailed, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, bringing the visitors within a point of victory (3-2).

The remaining two matches (Crist vs. Decamps and Hassey vs. Beisenova) determined the final outcome, with Liberty needing to win both to secure victory.

Decamps lost the first set, 7-5, to Crist, only to rebound with a pair of 6-4 victories in sets two and three to give George Washington the coveted fourth point.

Hassey, the two-time reigning Big South Women's Tennis Player of the Week, continued her winning ways in her match at No. 6 singles, topping Beisenova, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4). Hassey's win was the 62nd singles victory of her career, moving her into a tie for fourth place all-time in program history for singles wins. She is 8-1 in singles, this spring.

"Both teams left it all on the court today," commented Maren. "Hats off to GW for playing the key points a little better than we did. We are motivated to improve and accomplish our goals, so I'm looking forward to next week's practice as we get ready for our next match."  
Liberty will look to stay unbeaten in Big South Conference competition, as they take on Charleston Southern (6-1, 2-0 Big South), next Saturday in Lynchburg, beginning at 1 p.m.

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