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Tuesday, March 22, 2011The Bisons and Lady Bisons rev up this week to host Atlantic Sun foes North Florida on Friday, March 25 followed by Jacksonville University on Saturday at the Huston-Marsh-Griffith Tennis Center.
Both teams returned to Nashville at the start of the week from a five-day road trip through Florida over spring break.
Head coach Andrew Harris said the trip strengthened both the men and women’s teams in multiple ways.
“I think each of the teams grew from this past week,” Harris said. “Anytime you go on a trip with your teammates for an extended period of time like this past week, you are certainly going to grow as a unit.”
The Lady Bisons returned to Nashville empty handed, posting two losses during the week, including a 7-0 loss to Stetson on Thursday and a 6-1 loss to Florida Gulf Coast on Saturday.
Freshman Alyssa Bellini picked up the Lady Bisons only win for the week. Harris said the Lady Bisons showed improvement as the week went on.
“On the court we took some strides, especially on the women's side in terms of the level of competitiveness throughout the week,” Harris said. “Certainly, Stetson showed us the type of program they continue to build, but we also felt that we could of stretched them more in a few of the matches.
“Then heading down to FGCU on Saturday, the ladies came in with more purpose in understanding what they were looking to achieve, and they did much better.”
With the two losses, the Lady Bisons’ A-Sun record dropped to 1-4.
As the ladies prepare for North Florida and Jacksonville, Harris said the Lady Bisons will need to build on each point in order to pick up a win.
“Our ladies continue to improve match to match by competing each and every point—taking one point at a time and building from there,” Harris said. “I think Coach (Jamie) Aid has done a great job all spring with the ladies in terms of encouraging them to have the correct mindset before matches and seeing the bigger picture that we are building here.”
The men, on the other hand, split their matches this week, falling to Stetson 4-3 but defeating FGCU 4-3.
Harris said the men’s doubles play ultimately determined the outcomes of their matches this past week.
“It was a tough match against Stetson, and then to rebound on Saturday, the team continues to show the ability to improve,” Harris said. “Coach (Mike) Sherman really challenged the guys to step up in doubles and play with more aggressiveness on the return games, and, sure enough, the guys responded with more focus on their footwork and staying inside the service line and ended up sweeping the doubles point.”
Looking ahead to this weekend, the Bisons face some tough competition, particularly with North Florida, who rests at No. 75 in the NCAA.
“On the men's side, UNF is ranked right now and has played at a high level all spring, and I know they will be ready to go,” Harris said. “The importance again for the men to take the doubles point will be critical towards the outcome of that matches this weekend.”
Harris said both teams will need to focus on footwork and aggressive play against North Florida and Jacksonville.
“Both of those pillars will be key going into this weekend,” Harris said. “Both UNF and JU are very solid with both of their teams.”
Both the men’s and women’s matches will begin at 2 p.m. on Friday, while the men will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday and then women at 2 p.m. at the Huston-Marsh-Griffith Tennis Center.
“It will be nice to be at home,” Harris said. “After being on the road the past 3 matches being back at the tennis center here will be a big boost for us come Friday. We are looking forward to it.”
Written by Ashlan Williams, student assistant in athletics media relations.