KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The Lipscomb men’s tennis team closed out their fall season on a high note, posting three first-round wins for the first time at the “ITA Regional Tournament” hosted by Tennessee.
“They definitely finished out the fall season well, being able to win three first-round matches at Regionals because that’s something we has not previously been done,” Lipscomb head coach Andrew Harris said. “To get out of the first round, that’s definitely a testament to those guys and what they’ve been doing.”
Sophomore Miguel Cortez, freshman Daniel Hernandez and junior Oliver Strecker all posted wins in the main draw and Harris said he was proud of them for their mental fortitude.
“The three guys that won in the main draw, each of them had critical points throughout the match,” Harris said. “Whether they were down a set or down a break, they really showed a lot of mental competence to withstand some of those more difficult moments throughout the match. They either came back and won the set or came back to win the match.
“All three of those guys, Daniel, Oliver and Miguel, had critical moments like that, and they all did a good job of withstanding the pressure and, obviously, winning those matches. So, they did a good job, but, unfortunately, all three went on to lose in the second round.”
After losing the first set 6-3, Cortez pulled out a three-set win over Middle Tennessee State University’s Marlon Brand, winning 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Cortez went on to lose in the second round, falling to Purdue’s Mark Kovacs 6-3, 6-0.
Hernandez defeated Dayton’s Andrew Hanley in a tight two-setter, coming out on top 7-6, 7-5 before going on to fall to East Tennessee State’s Sander Gille 6-2, 6-0.
Strecker pulled out a three-setter to post his first round victory, defeating UTC’s Roberto Viera 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. Strecker fell in the second round to Indiana’s Isade Juneau 6-4, 6-2.
After losing in the first round, senior Chad Pierron and sophomore David Salazar both posted wins in the consolation bracket.
Pierron fell to Tennessee Tech’s Alex Chen 6-4, 6-1 before taking down UTC’s Pavels Grigorjevs 6-4, 7-6. However, Pierron fell in the next round to Purdue’s Diego Acosta 6-4, 6-0.
In the main draw, Salazar was defeated in the first round by Memphis’ Johnny Grimal 6-1, 6-4. Salazar advanced to the second round of the consolation bracket when his opponent, Belmont’s Renato Antun withdrew. Salazar went on to lose to Purdue’s Evan Hawkins 6-4, 6-0.
The Bisons lost both of their doubles matches, making doubles competition a point of emphasis as they head into the off season.
“We still want to continue to work on doubles coming into the wintertime, and we really want to continue to improve on that before January,” Harris said. “We definitely need to continue to get a better idea of what that’s going to look like heading into the season. We’ll definitely be looking for guys to step up and try to get some continuity in doubles before the season.”
The men enter into the offseason for training before beginning competition again in January.
Miguel Cortez (LIP) def. Marlon Brand (MTSU) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
Mark Kovacs (PU) def. Cortez (LIP) 6-3, 6-0
Daniel Hernandez (LIP) def. Andrew Hanley (DAY) 7-6, 7-5
Sander Gille (ETSU) def. Hernandez (LIP) 6-2 6-0
Oliver Strecker (LIP) def. Roberto Viera (UTC) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
Isade Juneau (IU) def. Strecker (LIP) 6-4, 6-2
Alex Chen (TTU) def. Chad Pierron (LIP) 6-4, 6-1
Pierron (LIP) def. Pavels Grigorjevs (UTC) 6-4, 7-6
Diego Acosta (PU) def. Pierron (LIP) 6-4, 6-0
Johnny Grimal (MEM) def. David Salazar (LIP) 6-1, 6-4
Salazar (LIP) def. Renato Antun (BEL) w/o
Evan Hawkins (PU) def. Salazar (LIP) 6-4, 6-0
Marlon Brand/ Ben David (MTSU) def. Strecker/ Hernandez (LIP) 8-3
Jeff Offerdahl/ Alex DiValerio (VU) def. Cortez/ Salazar (LIP) 8-6