Liberty 5, Gardner-Webb 2 *
Several plateaus were reached for the Liberty men's tennis team, Sunday afternoon, as the squad took down Gardner-Webb, 5-2, at the Hershey Tennis Courts.
The victory is the Flames' seventh straight win, improving its overall record to 10-3 for the season. With its 10th win of the year, Liberty has won double-digit matches each of the last four years, which is a program best. The win also marked the team's first Big South win of 2012, improving to 1-1 in league play.
Meanwhile, Gardner-Webb drops to 5-9 with the loss and 0-2 in Conference action.
The Flames broke out to a quick 1-0 lead, taking all three doubles matches in less than an hour's time. Tristan Stayt and Shea Thomas improved to 5-0 as a duo in the No. 2 slot, downing Ernest Alberch and Matthew Parker, 8-1.
Shortly after, Siim Tuus and Giancarlo Lemmi claimed the lead doubles match, 8-1, over Korhan Ates and Adam Knuttson. The win also keeps the experienced pair unbeaten, at 6-0 in No. 1 matches.
Wayne Harrell and Mandeep Yadav wrapped up the sweep with another commanding win in the No. 3 position, defeating Joao Poli and Brendan Dempsey, 8-3.
In singles action, Gardner-Webb tried to sweep away the Flames' momentum, as they took the opening set in three of the six matches. However, a pair of straight-set wins by Liberty helped the hosts to close out the match early on.
Freshman Dillon Segur captured the first singles match of the afternoon by outhitting Poli in the No. 5 match, 6-2, 6-4. The win is Segur's seventh of the year.
Next to go final was the No. 2 match, as Thomas picked up another straight-set win to give Liberty a 3-0 edge. The sophomore defeated Alberch, 6-1, 6-2, en route to his seventh win of the season.
The Runnin' Bulldogs posted their first team point of the afternoon with a win in the No. 4 match, but another Liberty freshman closed the door for good with the match-clinching victory.
Harrell took his No. 6 contest in straight sets for the Flames' fourth team point. After breezing through the first set, 6-0, Harrell received more opposition from Dempsey in the second, but fought from behind to win, 7-5.
The lead singles contest went to a ten-point tie breaker for a third set, with the team match already decided. Tuus dropped his opening set, 6-3, but rallied back to win the second, 7-5. The junior then strung a long stretch of points together in the rally-scoring tie breaker, to win 10-4.
The Bulldogs then took the No. 3 match to get their second point of the day.
The freshman class which Johnson refers to (Harrell, Segur and Jorge Azuero), is a combined 20-7 in singles play this season. In doubles, the trio combines for a 14-5 mark.
Liberty will look to continue its solid play on Tuesday, when the Flames travel to Harrisonburg, Va., to take on James Madison. Match time is slated for 2:00pm. Gardner-Webb plays Winthrop on March 21 at 2:00pm.
South Florida 4, Winthrop 0
The Winthrop men's tennis team could not keep up with Big East opponent South Florida, as the Eagles fell 4-0 Sunday afternoon at the USF Varsity Courts.
With the loss, Winthrop falls to 7-9 on the year, as USF improves to 5-11.
South Florida came out fast in the doubles round, capturing all three matches. At the No. 1 position, Winthrop's Guy Kubi and Nadav Ruppin were brought down 8-4, as the freshman tandem of Dylan Comerford and Rich Meade dropped 8-0 at No. 2. Rounding out the doubles round, Yuta Hirokawa and Luka Stanic fell 8-3 in No. 3 doubles.
Winthrop continued to fight hard, but it was not enough as the Bulls won three singles matches, clinching the victory. At No. 1, Wael Kilani defeated Ruppin 6-2, 6-0, as Kubi fell 6-1, 6-1 to USF's Yannick Yoshizawa at the No. 2 spot. Meade fell 6-3, 6-0 at the No. 5 position, and the other matches did not finish due to travel regulations.
The Eagles will be back in action on Wednesday, March 21 as they will travel to Gardner-Webb. That match is set for 2:00pm.
South Carolina 5, Coastal Carolina 2
Coastal Carolina men's tennis team dropped only its second match of the year against No. 48 South Carolina 5-2 on Sunday at the Carolina Tennis Center.
South Carolina (12-5) swept the doubles portion of the match followed by two singles wins to take a 3-0 early lead. Coastal (10-2) would pick up a point as No. 1 player Danny Heidecker knocked off Nick Jones 6-1, 6-4. Ben Barnette clinched the match for the Gamecocks with a 6-3, 6-1 win over John Karle.
Yusuke Kusuda topped No. 117 ranked Thiago Pinheiro 0-6, 7-6 (7-1), 1-0 (10-6) to earn the last point for the Chanticleers.