Lipscomb men's tennis facing Southern Illinois
Friday, March 4, 2016
By Todd Lamberth
Lipscomb men's tennis facing Southern Illinois

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - After taking a weekend off from competition, the Lipscomb men’s tennis team takes the action outside for the first time this season on Saturday.

The Bisons (3-5) welcome Southern Illinois to Houston-Marsh-Griffith Tennis Center starting at 10 a.m.

After jumping right into the spring season with eight matches in five weeks, head coach Mario Hernandez was happy to have a weekend off.

“We were able to make sure guys are healthy,” Hernandez said. “But really it was almost two weeks where we could just train and work at our games. I think that was what was really beneficial.”

Lipscomb took advantage of the weekend off to improve their doubles play as they gear up for conference play.

“We’ve really focused on our doubles play quite a bit,” Hernandez said. “We are still looking to make that strength.

“One of the things we’ve been working on is reflexes up at the net, really developing that fearlessness. We want that high energy in our doubles play.”

The Bisons also took the time to continue to focus on their individual games. They’ll look to bring aggressiveness into the weekend in their singles play, where Rob Mitchell is riding a four-match win streak from his No. 1 spot.

“With singles we are sticking to what we have been doing as far as looking to be aggressive and impose ourselves on our opponents,” Hernandez said. “I think the guys are all playing consistent tennis as it is.”

During their break, Hernandez has liked the progress he’s seen over the two-week period.

“I think we’ve put together consistent, solid practices,” Hernandez said. “I feel like the guys have really put in positive days, day-after-day, and that’s really what we feel is going to make the difference.”

The Salukis (7-1) have reeled off seven straight wins, with 7-0 sweeps in their last three.

The two teams faced each other last season in Carbondale with Lipscomb pulling out the 4-3 win. Even with the win last season, Hernandez knows the challenge his team has this weekend.

“Southern Illinois is a good team,” Hernandez said. “They’re one we’ve played quite a few times the past couple of years and it’s always a good battle with them. We always have very competitive matches with them. I’m expecting the exact same thing on Saturday.

“It’ll be good because the preparation we’ve put in will be tested on Saturday so let’s see how we do. I’m confident the guys will perform well because they’ve prepared well.”