NASHVILLE, Tenn. - With spots in the conference tournament still up for grabs, the Lipscomb men’s tennis team faces two crucial conference matches over the weekend.
At the midway point of their Atlantic Sun Conference schedule, the Bisons sit winless in league play but the fourth spot in the conference tournament is an open race.
Lipscomb (6-10, 0-3) faces two of the teams they’re battling for that final spot as they host USC-Upstate and NJIT on Thursday and Saturday, respectively. Both matches are set to begin at 2 p.m.
“It’s no secret that these teams are in the same position,” Lipscomb head coach Mario Hernandez said. “We’re all fighting for spots in the conference tournament.
“There is extra intensity to it. I think it’s just that everyone understands what they’re fighting for.”
USC-Upstate (5-12, 1-2) enters Thursday’s matchup holding the fourth spot in the conference standings. The Spartans have dropped their last three matches but hold a three-match win streak over the Bisons.
In their final home match of the season, the Bisons welcome NJIT to Huston-Marsh-Griffith Tennis Center for the first time on Saturday.
The Highlanders (8-6, 0-3) are winless in their first year of Atlantic Sun play entering the week.
“We know both teams are solid,” Hernandez said. “Every team in the conference is solid, there’s no gimmies. We know they’re going to be ready to fight just like we’re ready to fight.”
Coming off of a tough Florida trip last week, Hernandez is confident of his team’s ability to bounce back in this week’s matches.
“This team does have a lot of character,” Hernandez said. “I think the character will serve them well.
“It’s going to take a big effort from everybody but you can have that big effort when you have character. I’m ready for them to play their best tennis in these last few matches and I’m confident they will.”
The Bisons are in a situation that can cause pressure for many teams but Hernandez is confident his team can turn that pressure into a positive.
“We’ve got a great opportunity and this is what college tennis is all about,” Hernandez said. “We are not looking and hoping for the other guy to hand it over to us. We are looking to earn the victory. I think it’s going to be great competition and we want the guys to embrace that and not run away from that.”