NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Doubles play proved vital on Friday as the Lipscomb men’s tennis team dropped the conference opener to Florida Gulf Coast 4-3.
“Our guys battled really hard today, which is great,” Lipscomb head coach Mario Hernandez said. “Gulf Coast is a tough team and I think we battled very hard and we put ourselves in a position to win the match.”
The Eagles (11-5, 1-0) entered the match after a 4-3 win over Texas-San Antonio on Tuesday and wasted no time picking up the doubles point.
At the top line, Andres Alfonzo and Ezequiel Cerrini topped Rob Mitchell and Alejandro Manzanares 6-3.
To seal the point, Oliver Landert and Eduardo Alfonzo beat Kauai Linardi and John Tougher by a break for a 6-4 win.
The Bisons (6-7) bounced back in singles play as the two teams split the matches at the Huston-Marsh-Griffith Tennis Center on the Lipscomb campus.
At the top spot, Rob Mitchell was able to continue his strong form, winning his eighth straight match. Mitchell dropped just three games as he went on to beat Ricky Ventura 6-1, 6-2.
Two singles matches went the distance into three sets, with Lipscomb winning both matches.
Alejandro Manzanares lost the first set at the second line 6-3 to Andres Alfonzo before bouncing back to take the match 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.
At the third line, Philippe Courteau dropped his opening set to Cerrini 6-1. Courteau was able to rally to take the match 1-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Those matches gave the Bisons their 21st and 22nd matches to reach three sets, winning their last seven. Hernandez feels like the experience helps his teams when they reach a third set
“When you’re used to that position, you don’t hesitate, you don’t fear the moment,” Hernandez said. “I think our guys are doing a good job with that.”
After losing to FGCU 6-1 a year ago, Friday’s 4-3 loss shows the progress the Bisons have made in the last year.
“The program, in my opinion, is definitely moving on the right track,” Hernandez said. “But we’re not satisfied with the fact that we’re doing better. We still want to get these wins so we’ll just go back to work.”
Lipscomb will have a quick turnaround as they host Eastern Kentucky on Saturday afternoon. Play is set to begin at 2 p.m. at Huston-Marsh-Griffith Tennis Center.
The Colonels (12-9) enter the weekend on a two-match win streak. The Bisons will serve as their third opponent in three days, following Belmont and Tennessee State.
Eastern Kentucky serves as another non-conference opponent for the Bisons before the finish the season with their last six conference matches.
“Eastern Kentucky is a good team,” Hernandez said. “They’ve been conference champions in the Ohio Valley Conference multiple times.
“It’s going to be just another great match for us to battle a tough team but that’s exactly what we need after a match like today.”
Florida Gulf Coast 4 – Lipscomb 3
- Andres Alfonzo/Ezequiel Cerrini (FGCU) def. Rob Mitchell/Alejandro Manzanares (LIP) 6-3
- Philippe Courteau/Thais Minet (LIP) vs. Lucas Vaz/Ricky Ventura (FGCU) 5-5, unfinished
- Oliver Landert/Eduardo Alfonzo (FGCU) def. Kauai Linardi/John Tougher (LIP) 6-4
- Rob Mitchell (LIP) def. Ricky Ventura (FGCU) 6-1, 6-2
- Alejandro Manzanares (LIP) def. Andres Alfonzo 3-6, 6-4, 6-3
- Philippe Courteau (LIP) def. Ezequiel Cerrini (FGCU) 1-6, 6-2, 6-3
- Eduardo Alfonzo (FGCU) def. Daniel Cardenas (LIP) 6-0, 6-3
- Oliver Landert (FGCU) def. Thais Minet (LIP) 6-4, 6-4
- Javier Fernandez (FGCU) def. Kauai Linardi (LIP) 6-3, 6-3