The Elon University women’s tennis team’s four match winning streak came to an end follow its 5-2 loss at the hands of Liberty University.
“Liberty is a very good team,” head coach Elizabeth Anderson said. “We just have to work on getting a little more experience and be tougher and we’ll be fine.”
Liberty outlasted Elon to win the doubles point early on. Junior Taylor Casey and freshman Erica Braschi defeated sophomores Emily Groenevld and Mariely Hassey at No. 3 doubles 8-5 to get things going for the Phoenix, but Liberty answered right back through senior Brittany Yang and sophomore Maria Khval.
The duo outmatched freshman Kirsten Ward and senior Barbora Lazarova at No. 1 doubles winning 8-3.
The tie meant the doubles point would be decided by the matchup at No. 3 doubles. The back-and-forth match was tied at 7 games apiece, but Elon freshmen Olivia Lucas and Bridget Liddell fell just short losing to freshman Evangeline Crist and junior Valerie Thong in a tiebreaker 8-7 (7-3) to win the doubles point.
"Liberty is a very good doubles team so it was a good test for us to respond against them and play pretty well,” Anderson said. “It was a positive sign that we put ourselves in that situation we just have to learn to capitalize on it better.”
Liberty looked to maintain their momentum going into singles action. First, Ward lost at No. 1 singles to Hassey in straight sets 6-4, 6-3.
Elon tried to spark a comeback with Lucas winning at No. 2 singles. The Greenville, South Carolina native slipped past junior Belen Rivera in straight sets 6-3, 7-6 (7-5). “I tried to stay really positive and in the moment,” Lucas said. “I left it all out on that court and it showed.”
Though soon after, senior Maria Camara lost in straight sets to Crist at No. 5 singles as Liberty reestablished their two-point lead.
Sophomore Emily Groeneveld then clinched the victory for Liberty with her straight-sets win over freshman Kamilla Beisenova at No. 6 singles to end any hopes of an Elon comeback.
With the match already decided, Braschi grabbed Elon a second point on the afternoon with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 win over Yang.
With the win, Liberty breaks into double digits in the win column and improves to 10-2. The loss drops Elon back to .500 at 5-5 on the year. The Phoenix will now hit the road for the first time in March when it travels to take on in-state rivals the University of North Carolina at Wilmington on Friday, Mar. 13
Lucas said she and the rest of the team are very excited to take on their first CAA opponent.
“The energy is going to be high and it’ll be very fun,” she said.
The match is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. at the UNCW tennis complex.