The Lipscomb men’s tennis team will play host to Tennessee Tech on Saturday night at the Richland Country Club at 6.
After the snow forced their match against Murray State to be cancelled last week, Lipscomb was able to get an extra week of practice in following their opening match against Vanderbilt. While head coach Mario Hernandez would like to have played Murray State, he knows some positives came from that extra week as well.
“We would have honestly liked to have played that match,” Hernandez said. “But if anything, it gave us time to practice more and keep sharpening our skills which I think has been great for us going into this week.
“Also, with the hard training the week off allows us to rest a little bit too. I think it actually has worked out quite well for us. We’ve had really three weeks with only one match. That’s really been three weeks of good preparation for us.”
The Bisons picked up a 4-3 win over the Golden Eagles a year ago, but Hernandez doesn’t want his team to focus on last year’s result.
“They’re a good team, a good mid-major team,” Hernandez said. “They’ve got a deep lineup. It’s going to be a good challenge for us.
“If you’ve beaten a team before it always helps. We also know that this is a new season, new team and a new year for both teams. We have everything to gain, just like they do.”
Hernandez has continued having his players focus on their individual games throughout practice in hopes that this will carry over into match play. He believes his players are buying into this focus.
“There’s a certain amount the coach can do and there’s the other amount that the player has to take responsibility with,” Hernandez said. “I think the guys that are really buying into it are playing better tennis. That is pretty obvious.
“So if any guys have any doubts about that they should look at the other guys that have a clear cut style and look how well they’re playing.”
While the message can become repetitive, Hernandez knows it’s well worth it to help his players avoid outside distractions in their play.
“We preach it as much as possible,” Hernandez said. “It’s a daily routine but it’s got to become a habit. It’s a good habit and we want it to become a strong habit for them.
“It’s a process that we want to continue to see here, all the way through the end of the season and for the guys who are returning, throughout their college career.”