KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Coming off of a successful weekend at the Louisville Fall Invitational, the Lipscomb tennis teams heads to Knoxville for the ITA Ohio Valley Regional Championships.
The Bisons head into the Championships just three days after finishing in Louisville, a weekend that saw them place two players in the finals of their respective draws.
The short layoff continues head coach Mario Hernandez’s theme of getting as many matches in as possible during the fall.
“It’s a quick turnaround,” Hernandez said. “We don’t have a ton of time to prepare. But as I’ve said, competitive matches are the best preparation.”
The tournament brings in the top teams in the region, similar to the Southern Intercollegiate Championships that the Bison began the fall schedule with.
“Its the best competition in our region,” Hernandez said. “But that’s what we’re looking forward to. The guys have been excited all week.”
Among those programs involved are Vanderbilt, Memphis, Kentucky, Louisville and host Tennessee.
The weekend consist of a 126-player singles draw and a 62-team doubles draw.
Lipscomb freshman Victor Chaw is the 27th seed in the singles draw and will face Austin Peay’s James Mitchell in the opening round. Another notable first round match features Lipscomb senior Rob Mitchell who drew sixth-seeded Cameron Klinger of Vanderbilt.
The Bisons placed three teams into the doubles draw. Chaw joins Philippe Courteau where they face Paul LaHue and Austin Boaz out of Chattanooga in the first round with a possible second round match against the second seeded team of Raheel Manji and Antonio Cembellin from Indiana.
Despite playing some of the best players in the region, Hernandez wants his guys to take the same approach to these matches as they have had all season.
“We tell them to always prepare the same way,” Hernandez said. “We get them to focus on the process one day at a time.
“Each and every tournament for us, we’re playing against the same level of competition. It’s the biggest tournament of the fall, but the level of competition is the same.”
As the final tournament of the fall, the ITAs can serve as a gauge to see how far your team has come over the fall season. Hernandez is confident in the progress his team has made and expects them to do more than just compete over the weekend.
“I expect to see good results,” Hernandez said. “My expectation is to have some results this fall and get some guys on the national scene.”
Singles play in Knoxville began Thursday with the tournament continuing through Sunday.