CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - The Lipscomb men and women’s tennis teams traveled to Chattanooga over the weekend to take part in the UTC/Steve Baras Fall Classic.
Men’s coach Mario Hernandez and women’s coach Jamie Aid were looking to get their teams some experience against competition similar to what they will see during the spring. Both Hernandez and Aid were pleased with the progress their teams have made during this young season.
Rain in Chattanooga forced action indoors on Friday, The Bisons and Lady Bisons took the courts and found some success in the opening day.
“There was no warm up so that’s tough for the players,” coach Jamie Aid said. “As a coach, it’s good to see how your team deals with that adversity. Our doubles teams responded better today than our singles.”
Senior Jenny Borck picked up the lone win in singles action for the women, winning her first round matchup 6-0, 6-3.
The women found more success in doubles action, winning two of their three matches. Laura Kent and Hannah Gamage teamed up for an 8-7(5) victory, while Melissa Kromer and Kathryn Evans combined for an 8-4 win.
Adversely, the men’s side saw more success in singles, winning three of their opening four matches. All three victories were by freshmen.
Rob Mitchell won his opening round match 6-3, 6-3 before falling in a tough second round match 6-3,2-6,0-1(13-15).
Thais Minet won his first round match 6-1, 6-2 before also falling in the second round.
Carson Panovec won his first two matches 6-4, 6-4 and 6-0, 6-2, respectfully.
In doubles, Mitchell joined Daniel Hernandez for an 8-3 victory.
The Bisons and Lady Bisons were back in action on Saturday as play was able to move outside.
For the Lady Bisons, Kent and Gamage were able to keep up their success in doubles going as they won 8-5 to advance to the Gold Draw final to be played on Sunday. They squared off against Marcela Jimenez and Amandine Faouzi of Eastern Kentucky for the championship.
Junior Lorena Djuknic won her consolation match with a convincing 6-1, 6-2 score. Kent also won her consolation match 6-1, 4-6, 1-0 (10-4).
Borck lost her second round match and played Sunday for third place in the Lookout Mountain Draw.
For the Bisons, Carson Panovec continued his winning ways in singles with a 7-5, 6-1 victory. Panovec played Colin Hart of Eastern Kentucky for the championship in his respective flight on Sunday morning.
Also playing for a championship was the team of Rob Mitchell and Daniel Hernandez as they picked up an 8-6 win in doubles action. They faced off with Cedric Dejacquier and Mauricio Antun of Belmont on Sunday.
Daniel Hernandez also pulled of a victory in singles with a 6-3, 6-2 score.
On the final day of action, the Lady Bisons finished on a strong note. Laura Kent and Hannah Gamage dropped a close 8-6 match but finished in second in their respective draw.
Melissa Kromer finished her weekend with a 6-4, 6-0 victory in the consolation bracket. In a closer match, Lorena Djuknic finished fifth in her draw, earning a 6-4, 4-6, 1-0(10-7) victory.
“Kathryn Evans and Melissa Kromer both played well this weekend,” Aid said. “Kathryn really owned her game all weekend.”
Aid emphasized the importance of gaining confidence with their game during the fall season.
“We did better each day and that’s really what you want to see,” Aid said. “Our goal in the fall is to grab some matches against a similar level to what we’ll see in the spring.”
The men played for two championships Sunday, but were unable to come away with a victory. Panovec’s run came to an end as he came up just short in the final. Panovec dropped the first set 6-1, but didn’t give up. He fought but came up short, losing the second set 7-5 for a second place finish.
“Carson showed the progress he’s made this fall,” Mario Hernandez said. “We saw the potential in him when we brought him in and his potential is showing results.”
The team of Mitchell and Daniel Hernandez had their run at the championship fall just short as they fell in the final 8-6. Mario Hernandez was pleased to see their success, as they will be the Bisons' top doubles team moving forward.
“We made little steps forward in progress,” Mario Hernandez said. “Everybody is moving in the right direction.
“These guys are buying in. They’re doing the right things. When the four new recruits come in January, they can look at these five guys and know what to do.”
Mario Hernandez was also happy to have sophomore John Tougher back on the court as he’s eleven months removed from wrist surgery.
Both Aid and Hernandez are looking forward to continued improvement as they work toward the big test of the fall season, the Regional Championships. The men’s tournament will take place here in Nashville, while the women will travel to Knoxville. Both tournaments will begin on October 16.