NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Miguel Cortez and his Lipscomb tennis teammates will face a tough challenge when Atlantic Sun play begins later this month.
He and his teammates know that everything is going to have to fall in place for them in order to improve on last season’s fourth place conference finish.
“We started with a really hard schedule, but we have gotten better tennis-wise and physically,” Cortez said. “Now we are just putting all of the pieces together in doubles and singles before conference. We are getting ready for what really matters to us and the program.”
The Bisons, 3-4, were scheduled to play two matches this weekend. But the threat of cold and snowy weather prompted the postponement of Saturday’s match with Belmont. The Bisons are heading south Friday to face UAB at 3 p.m.
UAB, 5-6, will face Nicholls State at 10 a.m. before playing the Bisons at the George Ward Tennis Center. UAB has won its last three matches, including wins over A-Sun schools Mercer and Kennesaw State. The Bisons lost 5-2 at home to Texas-San Antonio.
“UAB is a pretty solid team,” Cortez said.
Cortez, playing in the No. 6 spot, won one of the two singles matches against Texas-San Antonio.
The Bisons begin conference play March 14 at Florida Gulf Coast.
“The doubles point is going to be really crucial this season,” Cortez said. “I think we have figured out our doubles teams in terms of the right combinations. We just have to work harder in singles.”
Cortez, a junior from Oporto, Portugal, teams with Stuart Tierney in doubles.
“We are completely different tennis players,” Cortez said. “It has just worked out for us. We have been playing pretty good.
“Stuart has a really big serve. That helps me a lot. I like to stay aggressive at the net and volley. We complement each other in doubles.”
Cortez is known for his confidence on the court as well as for his competitive nature.
“I fight for every point,” Cortez said. “I believe in myself. The will to win is really crucial. It is how much you want it that counts.”
Cortez stresses that it is important that the team is close. Coach Andrew Harris has emphasized the team approach and his players are responding.
“We hang out all the time together,” Cortez said. “We deal with each other every day. We have to help each other get better.”