Friday, March 15, 2013
DELAND, Fla. – The payoff for all of the practice serves and volleys, the time in the weight room, the conditioning drills and the early morning workouts is how many matches can be won in Atlantic Sun Conference play.
The Lipscomb Bisons dropped their first Atlantic Sun match of the season 6-1 Thursday at Florida Gulf Coast and continue their trip to the “Sunshine” State Saturday when they face Stetson. The men will start at 9 a.m. at the Mandy Stoll Tennis Center. Stetson is 9-0, 1-0 and coming off a 6-1 A-Sun win over Northern Kentucky Thursday.
The Hatters are off to their best start since 1996.
Miguel Cortez, playing in the No. 5 singles spot, posted the only LU win at Florida Gulf Coast by scores of 6-4, 4-6 and 10-4.
The Bisons are 3-7, 0-1. Florida Gulf Coast is 6-6, 1-0
Last season the Bisons finished fourth in the conference. Stetson, ETSU and North Florida finished in front of them. Lipscomb coach Andrew Harris thinks his team can break into the top three based on the performances he saw during a challenging preconference schedule.
“Over the last eight weeks we have a better idea of what the doubles and singles lineup should look like,” Harris said. “We feel pretty good about where are we are from a personnel standpoint as to where everyone needs to be in the lineup.
“We use the non-conference part of the season to prepare for the conference. January and February are not the months where we win the critical matches. The important matches are in March and April.”
Harris stresses that the Bisons train most of the year in order to be ready for the Atlantic Sun portion of the season.
“One thing we definitely have to do a better job of is to be consistent on a day-to-day basis in order to finish in the top three this year,” Harris said. “If you can do that in practice and weights and everything else then I think you can begin to see the fruit of your labors.
“It is not just about what happens in the matches. It is about what you do to prepare yourself to win matches where the margin of victory is so small.”
In the singles part of the lineup most of the Bisons have had success in various matches. Harris is counting on the seniors _ Colby Shaw, Oliver Strecker, and Tanner Brown _ to be the anchors of the team in the A-Sun portion of the season.
“As they go, so will everyone else,” Harris said. “They are the ones we want to hang our hats on for the next six or seven weeks.
“The biggest thing I want from them concerns what is done between the matches. Leadership is good when the focus is on practice, the weights and all of the things that are required on a daily basis. That is what builds trust and confidence. It means you have given everything you have so when you get in a tough moment in the matches you can have peace in knowing things will work out for you.”