NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb Bisons tennis team will be playing two key Atlantic Sun Conference matches and honoring two senior members of the team.
David Salazar and Miguel Cortez will both soon complete their final seasons with the Bisons. Friday at 4:30 the Bisons, 2-10, 1-3 in the conference, will play Stetson, 8-8, 3-2 in the A-Sun.
The match has been moved to the afternoon due to concerns about extreme storm conditions Friday morning. It will be played in a clinch format. Both the doubles portion and the singles portion will end when it is impossible for one team to overcome the other.
Saturday at 1 p.m. the Bisons welcome Florida Gulf Coast. Both matches will be played on campus at the Huston-Marsh-Griffith Tennis Center.
Stetson has won its last two matches. Florida Gulf Coast will stop at Northern Kentucky Friday before playing Lipscomb. FGCU has won its last three matches and is 8-9 overall, 3-2 in the conference.
Salazar, an accounting major from McAllen, Texas; and Cortez, a finance/accounting major from Oporto, Portugal, will be honored at the Florida Gulf Coast match.
“The interesting thing is I actually played on the same team with both of them here,” Lipscomb tennis coach Mario Hernandez said. “They were both freshmen my senior year.
“Both guys have really been warriors for the program all four years. They have won a lot of matches for us. And for the last couple of years they have really been the heart and soul of the team.”
Through the years Hernandez has watched Salazar and Cortez mature.
“A funny story about Miguel is during his freshman season he fell asleep at a match while other guys were playing,” Hernandez said. “I am not trying to embarrass Miguel. I am using that to show the evolution to his being such a good leader. Just to see how David and Miguel have grown is cool.”
Both have been solid tennis players. Hernandez stresses they approach the game in somewhat similar ways.
“David is strong and he kind of plays a grinding style with his opponents,” Hernandez said. “He runs a lot of balls down. He hits with good power from the base line. He is an intense competitor.
“Most of the same things can be said for Miguel, but he has a very different body type than David. He is lanky. He thinks and wills himself through his matches.”
Hernandez would like to see the team play solid matches this weekend and for the rest of the season in tribute to both Salazar and Cortez who have served as team captains for 2014.
“They both have that fighting spirit,” Hernandez said. “That is what you love to see in a player.
“They have complemented each other as captains. Miguel is more of the vocal guy. David is not as vocal. He leads by example and Miguel is the motivator and energizer. When we have had tough moments this year they have been a great help in keeping the spirits of the team up.
"We have been through a lot of adversity this year with injuries and other things. I really feel like if we can have the team rally around them we can put up some good results this week and send them out in the best way possible with the respect they deserve.”