Tougher set to lead men's tennis at No. 19 Vanderbilt
Thursday, January 15, 2015
By Todd Lamberth
Tougher set to lead men's tennis at No. 19 Vanderbilt

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Lipscomb men’s tennis team will start their spring season Friday as it travels to 19th-ranked Vanderbilt with action starting at 5 p.m.

The Bisons will travel for four more matches to start the 2015 season before they play rival Belmont at Richland Country Club on Jan. 30 in the first home indoor match. Head Coach Mario Hernandez is optimistic about his team entering the season.

“The goal is always to win the conference and win the conference tournament to get the berth into the NCAA tournament,” Hernandez said. “There’s no certain amount of wins. We want our guys to work hard and work smart toward the main goal.”

Lipscomb returns just three players from last year’s squad and has added four new players to begin the spring semester, alongside the two additions from the fall. Hernandez is excited about this new team and how the new players have adapted to the Lipscomb system. He’s happy with how hardworking and focused his guys are with an understanding of why they are at Lipscomb.

The Bisons are able to field a deeper and more competitive team this year and Hernandez feels that all nine guys have the ability to step up and be big contributors.

With so many new guys, the squad entered the fall season without a team captain, but recently selected sophomore John Tougher as captain for the spring.

“John has been a great middleman working between the players and the coaches,” Hernandez said.

The Bisons face a tough non-conference schedule as the majority of preconference opponents finished their 2014 campaign with a winning record. They will play 18th-ranked Kentucky in Birmingham, Alabama in late February. 

“We didn’t go the easy route with our scheduling,” Mario said. “We’re playing top opponents.

 “You get ranked by beating top opponents. We’re playing a lot of teams at the same level or above what we’ll see in conference play. We will be challenged.”